HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >

Discussion

Top Chef-Morning Show (Spoiler)

Things are getting catty. Leah on Jamie's QF dish: "Its an amuse bouche, its supposed to take one bite, hers took two!" There were a few that were worse offenders.

So Leah wions it and gets......a book by Rocco. Contain your excitement, please! At least she didn't get the lifetime supply of the Bertoli frozen meals.

So, who knew that Alex was out when they saw the up close and personal about his impending marriage etc?

A friend remarked that Carla looked like a character from Fraggle Rock. I thought she bore an uncanny resemblance to Beaker, except she speaks, instead of just making noises. As out of this world as she is, no one can touch Melissa with regard to being out of touch with reality. Habanero shrimp? Really? Could we try it with jalapeno?

Good to see Ariane do well twice in a row. Tomatoes, watermelon and cheese isn't a combination I would have thought I would enjoy. now I am curious. But the previews leads us to believe there will be something sinister coming up with her. Nice prize though, not a trip to Europe, but pretty nice for this early in the show.

Jeff hit it on the head when he remarked about how these women won't appreciate his dish, yeah, they spit it out.

It seemed to me that they were pretty rough on Jamie. the egg didn't look raw, just runny.

i wonder if Gail's inner monster will emerge when they screw up her bridal shower.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Carla = Fraggle Rock character - PERFECT! See photo below. Yup, your friend is right!

    Re: the show: I had to agree with Leah, however. A *lot* of the amuse bouches were too large, IMO. Alex being out - yeah, the upcoming marriage and the fact that Melissa was going to "fight for herself" and throw him under the bus was a huge giveaway he was a goner. ETA: Plus - a creme brulee? How long does that take? At least Stefan had the switchout dish underneath for the 2 minute demo - smart move. (But Tom was right - all the personality of a rock during the taped demo! LOL!)

    But Melissa, Melissa, Melissa - have you NEVER seen this show? Do you NOT YET KNOW that Chef Colicchio doesn't like overly spicy food? And a habanero shrimp - are you KIDDING me? Why didn't you just go with a Scotch Bonnet, or did Whole Foods not have them available?

    As for Ariane's win - while I was glad for her, isn't that watermelon/tomato/feta cheese combination from Marcel or someone else in a previous season (isn't it in the TC cookbook?) It seems VERY familiar. I'm at work and don't have the cookbook in front of me, of course, but I'm going to have to check. A friend and I made something very similar last Independence Day and it was patterned after a recipe in the TC cookbook.

    I didn't think Jamie's egg looked runny either. But she's getting bitchy - pissed off that Leah's won the QF two times in a row? Tough tooties!

    As for Kathie Lee Gifford? I'm sorry - just completely rude. If the other women could eat their bites, she couldn't? I really just don't like her - never have. All show, absolutely no substance.

    What was so bad in the Malfouf Roll? Here's the recipe: http://recipes.mt.bravotv.com/top_che...

    There is nothing out of the ordinary in that recipe - in fact, I think I'd *really* like it! Again, Kathie Lee has to be dramatic.

    OK, that's all I can think of now. :-)

     
    39 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit

      I really hate Kathie Lee...spitting out that roll was inexcusable. Then again, there was a certain poetic justice in it being Jeff's food given his dismissive comments about the hosts' palates.

      Leah continues to be adorable, though the cuddling with Mr. Canned Crab has to stop. Radhika is really growing on me. Danny cracked me up with his "Baba Booey" LOL!

      1. re: a_and_w

        I'll bet that Jeff said the hosts had unsophisticated palates after that incident. They probably asked him what he thought about Kathie Lee spitting it out. It was just edited to look like he said it before. I actually watched part of that episode of the Today Show one weekend and totally forgot all about it until last night. Kathie Lee always annoyed me, and the spitting out part sealed the deal.

        I've always liked Radhika. Unfortunately, I don't think she'll make it to the end. But I'm rooting for her.

        Tomatoes, watermelon and cheese -- while it sounds kooky, I can see it going. Nigella's had the watermelon and cheese salad going for a while. And Ferran Adria and Jose Andres has used the tomatoes and watermelon combo.

        And, like everyone, the editing of the show was so poor. As soon as they mentioned Alex and his wedding, I knew he was out. Too bad -- I think there were other chefs who deserved to go home before he did.

        Edit: I'd also like to add that I wasn't too thrilled about this challenge. Although TV has really helped a lot of chefs reach the public, I don't think it was really fair to send somebody home based on how well they presented on camera. Some chefs are wonderful but working in front of an audience is not their strong suit. I felt that this challenge would have worked better as a quickfire.

        1. re: Miss Needle

          Good catch -- that could indeed be tricky editing. I felt bad about Alex too (I would have sent the Queen of Spice home) though his crying over the letter was a little melodramatic.

          1. re: Miss Needle

            I just read Tom's blog on Bravo - he said Jeff did *really* well during his videotaped segment with the TC judges, and the food tasted excellent. So why Kathie Lee Gifford had to spit out the food is a mystery. Other than she's a complete tool.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              "So why Kathie Lee Gifford had to spit out the food is a mystery."
              ~~~~~~~
              no mystery there...it's because she's the devil. i've always believed that she & her TVFN twin Sandra Lee are the collective spawn of Satan.

              we had a discussion over the summer - which included a YouTube clip - about Colicchio's appearance on the Today Show and this challenge, so i had already witnessed her ridiculous reaction once before. but this time it pissed me off even more because Jeff's dish sounded so good, and i absolutely thought he should have won the challenge...the watermelon/feta thing has been done before, and really, as much as i like Fabio's personality, there's nothing remotely inspired about seared tuna.

              in defense of Leah re: the QF, i didn't think she was being catty. she was absolutely right...an amuse should be one bite, and even Rocco called Jamie out for it - that's what gave Leah the edge to win the challenge.

              as for next week's episode, Gail is either very brave, or very stupid. have we learned *nothing* in 5 seasons? at least half the dishes in these catering challenges always turn out to be minor disappointments, if not major disasters...why she would volunteer her bridal shower as a battleground for the show is beyond me.

              all in all, i thought this was definitely the most forgettable episode of the season so far.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Kathie Lee this is what's wrong with our society.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    no mystery there...it's because she's the devil. i've always believed that she & her TVFN twin Sandra Lee are the collective spawn of Satan.
                    ~~~~~~~~~
                    LOL! I knew I liked you. :-D

                    And I have to agree with you in it really wasn't all that enjoyable to watch - and I thought Jeff's dish should have won - even more so now that I've seen the ingredients in the recipe!

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      Hmmm, ghg, you may have a nice conspiracy theory going here. Has ANYONE seen Kathy Lee and Sandra Lee together? And the Lee name, it couldn't just be a coincidence could it? Could it be.....SA-TAN!!!!

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        I've long thought that the reason people volunteer to have their event catered by Top Chef is that at the very least it will be a novelty to have it on TV. People will talk about it. People will remember it. Which for some people is more important than actually having it be good.

                        Of course, most of those people are famewhores (especially the ones who had the wedding last season -- you know they just wanted to get free publicity for their business). Gail is already on the show, so I think she is truly curious to see what they do. And really, although the food at a shower is important, it's not the centerpiece of the event. It won't be ruined by a few bad dishes -- that will just give people more to talk about!

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          I have a question - would there be a tradeoff for these people who allow Top Chef to cater their event (bridal shower/social event/wedding/etc)? The tradeoff being that in exchange for free food, the menu is a mystery and there's a risk is that some of the food may be subpar? If that's the case I can see a lot of people willing to do this, because food is often one of the biggest expenses at those events. But that's just speculation on my part.

                          1. re: Bunson

                            I've been to all kinds of catered events (from million dollar to fund raisers to lavish Xmas parties) and they're never really good. At best the food's not disgusting. Getting it free from Top Chef can't be worse than paying for a caterer.

                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                              All the more reason to let Top Chef cater it! I guess I have a broader question about the economics of how these shows work - all of these cooking shows, whether it's Top Chef, Dinner Impossible, Kitchen Nightmares, Hell's Kitchen, etc...does the show/network foot the bill for all of the food?

                              1. re: Bunson

                                This is just a guess but my answer would be no, the network does not pay for the food. The network pays the production company for the series and all expenses, including food, are handled by the production company.

                          2. re: Ruth Lafler

                            Ruth, as usual, you've hit the nail on the head!

                          3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            I can't believe I'm about to defend Kathie Lee, but why is it okay for Tom to spit something out, but not her? If she didn't care for one of the spices or flavors it's possible her reaction is the same as if it were too spicy.

                            Edit: Whoops, should have kept reading, someone already raised this point.

                            1. re: pollymerase

                              I think it was more the way she did it - with a complete lack of class. When Padma spit out the too sweet dessert she did as discreetly as possible into her napkin, Kathie Lee went running like a crazy person just so she could be dramatic.

                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              As for Gail's shower, I wouldn't be surprised if this isn't her true bridal shower, but a TV version of her personal bridal shower. Otherwise, she should know better.

                          4. re: Miss Needle

                            But the challenge itself wasn't in front of a camera, just in front of the judges, with whom they should be fairly comfortable. It was really more about whether they could design and execute a demo within set parameters. The people who lost, lost because their whole demo was badly conceived (dish was badly conceived for the audience, took too long, or didn't have a switch out or contingency plan for finishing), not because they lacked camera presence. And winning, while nice, doesn't really make a whole lot of difference in the competition over all. In fact, winning didn't depend on camera presence, either, just on how much the dish appealed to the people who would be the real "audience" for the demo (the TV hosts).

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              Your points about designing an executing a demo are well taken (actually, when I said that they need to be good on camera, I was talking about the whole shebang from designing an appropriate dish and having the swap-outs to knowing how to talk to the hosts and cook at the same time). I don't have a problem with this as a quickfire. But I still feel this isn't really fair for an elimination challenge on Top Chef. For The Next Food Network Star -- this challenge is perfect. But Top Chef is a different type of show. Doing a demo requires a totally different skill set than cooking and running a kitchen, which I think is more important in a chef. I'll bet that Rachel Ray or Sandra Lee would do a much better demo than somebody like that really stoic chef from Avec last season. But I'd much rather eat Grieverson's food than Ray's or Lee's.

                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                Except many of the TC winners (and runners-up) do a lot of demos over the following year after their show - so perhaps it *is* appropriate. They're going to have to get used to doing these demos within a certain time frame, so why not see who's up to the challenge?

                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                  A lot of Top Chef elimination challenges aren't fair in that sense. I don't see this as being any more unfair than a challenge to cater a wedding or make lunch for a kiddie fat farm. As ChefJune points out, it's more likely that these chefs will have to do demos in the future -- not to mention many of them had done them in the past -- than that they'll be catering a shower like next week!

                                2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  Any chef who wants to be in the public eye, or teach in front of an audience, for that matter, had better be able to execute a demo within set parameters.

                            2. re: LindaWhit

                              Your right Linda, that recipe for the Malouf rolls looks very good and does not seem strange at all...although I have never actually tasted Sumac...is that an acquired taste maybe? Is it overly pungent? In any case, even if they served me liver (which I do not like), I would NEVER spit that out on live tv or otherwise. Although if it were the Habanero Shrimp and my mouth was throbbing (like Padma said hers was), then I would try to remove it from my mouth as undetected and politely as possible. I think Katie Lee was incredibly rude, uncouth, WRONG and just tried to get attention.

                              I actually thought that the salad that Ariane made was too simplistic but Tom did say that the point of Top Chef was not to push yourself but was to win, and she did.

                              I definitely thought that Fabio was going to win and deserved to win. He made a simply dish, one that I think people would like to try at home without being intimidated with strange ingredients and it looked delicious, AND was a tad more complex than a SALAD!

                              1. re: icey

                                icey - sumac is WONDERFUL! A tart, lemony bright flavor but not acidic like lemon juice. Penzey's sells it http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzey... - well worth the $3.39 for a small container to try out. Great sprinkled on top of hummus, I use it in rubs for chicken, and if you make homemade pita chips, also good sprinkled on the oiled pita breads before toasting.

                                The amount that Jeff used was not enough to induce spitting it out. Yes - Kathie Lee was only looking for the attention - as she often does. She talks over guests, she's just. plain. rude.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  You can also find very cheap bags of sumac at the Watertown Mt. Auburn Middle eastern markets.

                                  Or as other Boston hounds have noted, you can find it growing wild along Soldiers' Field Road which you can pick for free!

                                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                    just make sure it isn't the poisonous variety!

                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                I'm not trying to defend what Kathy Lee did, but if we are going to slam her for spitting out a chef's food on television don't we also have to give Tom a slap on wrist? He spit out Melissa's shrimp on national television. Some may argue that it's not the same because Tom was overwhelmed by the heat of the pepper, but none of us know what Jeff's rolls tasted like. They could have been just as overwhelming (in a different way) to Kathy Lee as the heat was to Tom.

                                1. re: kmcarr

                                  i think the difference is in the way they handled it. although the camera did catch Tom's reaction, it was much more subtle and mature than Kathie Lee's dramatic - and juvenile - gagging noises and dash for the sink.

                                  1. re: kmcarr

                                    Tom wasn't the only one affected by the heat in Melissa's shrimp - Padma said the entire side of her mouth was on fire; and while we didn't see it in the show, Lee Anne said that both she and her boyfriend had to spit it out as well after that shot was done - and her boyfriend LOVES spicy food!

                                    The Habanero shrimp recipe on the Bravo site is stating "habanero powder" as the ingredient used, but true to the Bravo website's oft-screwed up recipes, there are no quantities listed for the shrimp rub, nor is there a complete recipe up there.

                                    As Bunson said below - Kathie Lee looked to be doing it specifically for the drama and to draw the attention to herself - I'm pretty sure I remember her moving back and away from the group and start running over to the garbage or sink to spit it out, but as she was doing so, specifically looking up to see if a camera was following her. I'll watch again tonight to see if that was the case, but I see the two spit-outs as completely different.

                                    1. re: kmcarr

                                      I did think Tom's stated excuse (he can't digest spicy food) was kind of weak. But if the heat of the spice was indeed unbearable, his reaction is understandable. I've gagged down plenty of food I didn't love but that didn't bring me physical pain.

                                      1. re: a_and_w

                                        I have to come to Tom's defense on this one. I just plain can't handle spicy. At all. I don't have the gene or something. I've tried many forms, from habanero to wasabi to green chiles. Can't do it. It makes me cry, and completely burns my palate out for awhile. Plus it gives me painful heartburn, which is probably what Tom meant when he said he can't digest it. I'd love to be able to stomach it, but some folks just can't hack it.

                                        1. re: julietg

                                          I know someone like that as well - even the *slightest* bit of heat and he'll detect it and be unable to eat the food.

                                          1. re: julietg

                                            Agreed. Usually you can get something you just don't like down without any ill effects. Too spicy is a different story. I usually end up coughing/crying for a good 10-15 minutes if I accidentally eat a small slice of hot pepper. I would not get painful heartburn from it, but I'm certainly not going to be able to eat anything else or talk during those minutes I am talking. Worst-case with a food I don't like is that I choke it down, drink something, and am good in a minute or two.

                                            1. re: julietg

                                              I think that's what makes the job of both preparing and judging a variety of dishes and recipes so difficult. There are, of course, certain standards, but ultimately it comes down to one person's palate versus another person's. What's a little heat to one person is someone else's inedible or painful.

                                              I am apparently one of those people with a genetic disposition that makes cilantro taste like soap and if I were given a cilantro-laced dish to judge, I would most certainly have difficulty separating my own dislikes from the success of the dish otherwise.

                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                          Please, the fact Alex was allowed to speak at the beginning was a cue that he was out of there.

                                          The 'under the bus' talk? That was just a sign he deserved it. Throwing someone under the bus is now officially over (or at least, I hope that by saying it, it finally will be-- since, unlike 'fetch', it has happened). But really, as tedious as Melissa was, she wasn't saying anything that would have made a difference in the judges' decision. Plus: what person goes onto a reality show with a wedding planned during its timeline? It sounds like he was imagining some amazing final challenge and vow exchange.

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            Uhh, why would you suggest Melissa swap out the habanero for a scotch bonnet to make it less spicy? They're nearly identical in both flavor and scoville units.

                                            And at least where I am (Boston), WFM generally has habaneros but do not sell scotch bonnets.

                                            1. re: jgg13

                                              That's my whole point - it was a joke (I guess I forgot the smiley face <g>).

                                              I wasn't suggesting a scotch bonnet was less hot - I was saying they were the same or the scotch bonnet was even hotter - either way, they're both *blazing* hot; more than a lot of people can deal with, and it was a fool's choice to begin with.

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                Fair 'nuff. Personally I kinda would like to try her dish (except that I don't like shrimp, hah), but I could see why it wouldn't fly for a "for the home cook" thing.

                                          2. this was the first time i REALLY thought that who was going to go home was BLATANTLY obvious from the first five minutes. really poor editing. i almost turned it off because i knew.
                                            i actually thought jeff's comments about the ladies' unsopisticated palates was pretty rude. i would guess that (okay perhaps with the exception of kathie lee who spit it out but who knows, maybe this version just wasn't as good as the day before's) the other's are pretty well traveled. way above the average. i mean if their palates aren't sophisticated enough then for whom are you cooking? especially on a live TV demo challenge?
                                            i liked that they gave jaime a tip - you don't see that often enough.

                                            by the way i think it's interesting that we're top chef'd out. last season there were about 50 posts by this time the next day!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: AMFM

                                              Good point about the paucity of posts--I just don't feel it as much this season. I used to run upstairs to post right after the episode last season. I think the Real Housewives of Atlanta has tapped me out. That, or it's just too early in the season to form any attachments.

                                            2. How do you get away with, much less win, a elmination challenge by making a salad? And a live demonstration of how to make a salad?

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                Tomato, watermelon and feta is a great combo, the flavors are just awesome together...
                                                I have had it many times before, so it's not new...

                                                I'm with LindaWhit...I do not like Kathy Lee Gifford

                                                1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                                  she did make fresh basil oil - and you could hear hoda and meredith debating that maybe it was too simple but that in the end it really did taste the best. hard to argue that really.
                                                  it's not whose food impresses you most - it's whose you most like to eat.

                                                  and really, who does like kathie lee?

                                                2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                  Well, people have lost elimination challenges for making salad, so it isn't as "safe" as it sounds.

                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                    People lose for making salads because it's not much of a challenge to make a salad. In the first episode of the season, the two salad-makers were chewed out for not cooking!!!

                                                    1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                      Different challenges have different criteria -- clearly the most important critia for *this* challenge were that the demo be completed within the time frame and the result be both edible and appealing. Points were not being given for difficulty! And salads are not foolproof -- chefs have been sent home for salads, not because they were simple, but because they weren't good!

                                                      1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                        <People lose for making salads because it's not much of a challenge to make a salad.>

                                                        I disagree. It may be easy-peasy to make "a salad" -- but not to make a spectacular salad. All salads are NOT equal.

                                                  2. Has anyone else noticed how combative Padma is this season? There are times that she is just plain rude. I know some people really like her, but I'm finding myself telling her to shut up. Alot. Actually, none of the judges are very patient this season. It almost seems like they are "done" with the sympathy. I can understand to a point. I mean after 4 seasons, shouldn't the cheftestants know what's expected? I mean come on, creme brulee in an hour? Really?
                                                    I'm sure the guests at Gail's bridal shower are going to be pretty tough to impress. There were some high profile women in the teaser.
                                                    It'll be interesting to see how Gene & Hosea fare once a few more people get eliminated. We haven't seen much of them. They must be playing it safe and staying under the radar so far.
                                                    I still can't say I'm impressed with Ariane. Her wins have turned her whining around so far, but I just don't see her making it to the end.
                                                    Oh, one more thing, is anyone sick of the strange clips of Hosea & Leah during the commercials? What's up with that? Gotta love Carla though.(paraphrasing) "It's not a serious realtionship. We're just seeing sexual chemistry."

                                                    13 Replies
                                                    1. re: jcattles

                                                      In other words, Carla's saying they're horny bastards?

                                                      1. re: jcattles

                                                        I've found it interesting how the focus was on Fabio/Stefan the first few eps, then Ariane/Jamie, etc. So yes - will be interesting to see how Gene and Hosea both do in coming challenges.

                                                        The Leah/Hosea thing could be left out. Really don't care about them.

                                                        Next week's bridal shower dinner should be very interesting - Gail didn't seem to be happy in the little teaser with the first course!

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          Does Gail ever seem very happy? lol

                                                          1. re: jcattles

                                                            When it comes to overcooked, rubbery eggs? Most definitely not! ;-) But yes - she does seem very happy to me in the past seasons.

                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                              I forgot about that, So she should have come up to defend jamie's underdone runny egg!!!

                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                LOL! Good point - even Gail said that the egg was too runny. Can't be too rubbery. Can't be too runny. Gotta be JUST right!

                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                  I feel sorry for Gail's new husband.

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    I thiink Gail said it wasn't runny, it was raw.

                                                                    1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                      it didn't look raw to me, the white was set, it was just a little runny around the yolk.

                                                                      1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                        Which, based on the close-up shots of the egg, I'm going to have to disagree with. The white of the egg looked *almost* set, but not raw. Raw would have been a completely colorless albumin (I think that's what the white is called); these were mostly white.

                                                                        Raw egg: http://i.ehow.com/images/GlobalPhoto/...

                                                                        Almost cooked egg: This one is what I think Gail was talking about: http://lukehoney.typepad.com/the_grea... And I don't like those still clear-white eggs either.

                                                                2. re: jcattles

                                                                  I'm always impressed with Radhika's plates at Bravo's Rate the Plate page. It won't surprise me if she is in the final three.
                                                                  When looking at all the plates it surprises me the salad was even in the top 3, but I guess some of the plates weren't complete in time.

                                                                  1. re: jcattles

                                                                    Can you imagine having to cook breakfast in bed for her or something? Yikes.

                                                                3. re: jcattles

                                                                  I love Carla's commentary about pretty much everything. And I am becoming impressed with Arianne. She is finding ways to play to her strengths and succeed. There is something to be said for that. People complain about the salad, but if it tastes really good, is an interesting flavor combo, plays well on TV and is easy to make, why is it so bad that she won? It may just be a salad, but a good salad is a shrewd move in this challenge. She cooked smart and it worked. Good for her.
                                                                  As for Gene and Hosea. I think Hosea (or Mr Canned Crab) will be exposed as more people are eliminated, he just doesn't seem that great a chef. Gene, on the other hand, I think will rise to the top. He has really only made one mistake so far and I still think his episode one success proves he has a good palate and a knack for using it well.

                                                                4. Can the spitting end? There have already been three cases this season.

                                                                  I don't understand how someone WANTING to be there is a good case for them to stay. Melissa gave no other reason, no skills, no experience, no wanting to show them what she has inside. It would have been one thing if she had noticed her dish was too spicy but she was combative and thought it was fine. What if she served that at a restaurant?

                                                                  And, how was Alex planning on making his wedding which was 20 days away, if he didn't plan to lose early? I'm sure his fiancee was pleased that he was sequestered away and couldn't help. Plus, once you leave, can you go home? For some reality shows, they put you up elsewhere until the show is completed. It would spoil the surprise if he showed up months ago at his restaurant.

                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                    Lee Ann's blog on Bravo essentially says she thinks the wrong person went home based on taste alone - Melissa's Habanero Shrimp were 300% offensive - she also had to spit it out. But because Alex didn't finish the challenge, it was why he got the boot.

                                                                    I was wondering about Alex planning his wedding as well (turns out he didn't have his suit or the groomsmen's suits ordered either!) and how that was going to work unless he got asked to leave early. Good question re: whether he was allowed to leave. (Has that issue ever been addressed with the TC cheftestants - whether they're sequestered?)

                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                      I was torn between the two, Alex and Melissa, until she made the whiney comment about wanting to be there and insinuating others didn't. At that point, I was hoping they'd send her home. I guess Alex's dish could have been worst than Lee Ann's but we'll never know. It was a poor choice. He said he wanted to do something unusual and try stretching but a creme brulee isn't unusual. The best chef can't beat chemistry. What was he thinking?

                                                                      Fabio is very observant. With his one hour, he noticed that Alex was making creme brulee and that there was no way it was going to work in an hour. He also noticed back in challenge 1 (or 2?) that Jeff was all over the place but accomplishing nothing in the one where Jeff didn't finish.

                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                        Alex also made the comment that desserts are usually overlooked in judging, so he was trying to pull a fast one over the others by being different. Too bad he can't do math.

                                                                        1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                          I was thinking there are so many desserts that could be done. Why pick brulee and then go with that size ramekin? Go small! I'll have to look back but didn't he say going with desserts would be a safer bet and then he said he was trying to stretch, later at the JT?

                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                            He was definitely trying to spin at the JT. He picked a dessert because he thought that it was more likely to skate by the judges.

                                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                        Yes, they are sequestered. There are clips on the Bravo website. I didn't understand how his leaving early will help his situation. Maybe he gets a bit more contact with his fiance, but I'd imagine he'd still have to keep a really low profile.

                                                                        1. re: pollymerase

                                                                          Ahhh, thanks. Will have to check those out some time.

                                                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          Apparently they do have a sequester house for eliminated contestants. There is supposed to be some video of Alex being welcomed to the sequester house on the Bravo website. I'm not sure how effective it is to do this since the contestants often film in public places, when they were filming in Chicago last season people were discussing which contestants they did and didn't see at various filming locations.

                                                                          In defense of Alex, his wedding date was probably planned well before he was selected as a contestant. Still, he could have said no or postponed the date if the show was going to interfere with the big day.

                                                                      3. So my thoughts after the latest episode -

                                                                        - After watching the previews and the comment about the raw egg I tried to look really closely at the dish (I don't have Tivo) and believe I saw the raw when the egg was transferred from the pan to the dish - while the egg looked like it could have been cooked but runny, if you look at the yolk you can see a clear "halo" around the yolk that was still jiggling around that looked very much raw.
                                                                        - Kathie Lee just embarassed a chef on national TV for no other reason than to bring attention to herself, which I found pathetic.
                                                                        - I think the wrong chef was sent home based on what I saw. Melissa's dish was just inedible whether she had 1 hour or 1 year to prepare it, that dish wasn't fit to be consumed. Alex made a bad decision and that had a snowball effect on the execution of his dish because of the lack of time, but given enough time that dish probably would have been fine. While I know that working within the time/facility limitations is a big part of Top Chef, which would be the bigger transgression?
                                                                        - While my first impression wasn't very good and found him annoying, Fabio has really grown on me and is one of my favorite contestants in 5 seasons of Top Chef. He has some great sound bites and his food has been in the upper end of the dishes. I'd put him as one of the favorites to make the finals.

                                                                        1. I'm sick of hearing about 'Team Rainbow'- this season's 'I'm doing this for Zoe'. We get it you're gay. Enough already how well can you cook?...Not too well as two thirds of the team are gone.

                                                                          1. Did anyone else notice that some of the other people on the show were very surprised and pleased by Jeff's dish until Kathy Lee made a spectacle of herself? Someone should probably tell her peopld don't care so much for her any more so it may actually behoove her to behave lest she be fired. One of the ladies even tried to defend him with "shouldn't we even consider his originality. . .::drowned out::"

                                                                            Team Rainbow is substantially more obnoxious than doing things for Zoe. Maybe if Lisa hadn't been around last year I'd find it equivalent.

                                                                            Runny whites = gross but excusable.

                                                                            Personally, I would have liked to see flat blond bangs go for being obnoxious and asinine, but it's about time someone learns that desserts do not equate free passes, and if you're going to try to use it as a free pass, don't volunteer a dessert when THEY'RE NOT NECESSARY. You're there to win, as Tom said. I honestly don't know how some of these cheftestants don't have more recipes in their arsenal.

                                                                            1. I'm surprised no one has commented on Tom's "Habaneros aren't for home cooks" comment. Personally, I found that a bit insulting. I'm a home cook and I can handle an habanero without frying my tongue off or getting it on any mucous membranes. We grew about 100 of them last year on a plant which mysteriously thrived during a rainy New England summer. Now Scotch bonnets are another story....Any thoughts on this? Do you think habaneros are too much for your average home cook?

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                Depends on who your family members are, doesn't it? I certainly don't want my food ruined by habaneros. I eat spicy food but I don't really care for heat just for the sake of heat.

                                                                                1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                  newhavener, i'm the first one to take offense when professional or celeb chefs insinuate that home cooks don't know what we're doing or shouldn't be trusted with certain ingredients, but in this case i understood where Tom was coming from. look at the general demographic for the Today Show...these people WILLINGLY watch Kathie Lee Gifford every day - i wouldn't trust 'em with a jalapeno, let alone a habanero or scotch bonnet! CHers notwithstanding, of course ;)

                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                    Good point. If they're anything like Kathy Lee Gifford, I don't know if I'd trust them with Hamburger Helper.

                                                                                  2. re: newhavener07

                                                                                    No, I use habaneros and live to tell the story. They will make whatever you are cooking spicy, even in very small doses, but that's why you use small amounts. If I'm making a salsa, I will use 2 store-bought habaneros per 28 oz can of canned tomatoes, or 1-2 home-grown (depending on their potency). This makes a medium-hot salsa.

                                                                                    Scotch bonnets are no hotter than habaneros (according to the Scoville chart), so the same goes with them.

                                                                                    1. re: fame da lupo

                                                                                      Medium-hot for *you* - I'm thinking for me, my mouth would be on fire. It's all what we're used to, I guess.

                                                                                  3. ok, PLEASE tell me someone else saw Ariane's follow-up appearance on the Today Show this morning. i DVR'd it & just finally had a chance to watch, and we MUST dish!

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                      I was wondering if she was on. Didn't get a chance to see the show.

                                                                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                        you can probably find a clip online, but i started another thread about it if you want to read our comments...

                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/577517

                                                                                    2. I am so glad that Rocco called out Jamie at Judge's Table for her crossed arms/pissed off look attitude. The judges let Lisa get away with that all last season although I think they did one time discuss it but never called her on it. And her brusque "I'm already aware of the mistakes I made" comment? She was lucky that Alex was there. The judges don't really like when the chefs talk down to them!

                                                                                      1. LOL- The soup lesbian, Mr. Canned Crab, youse guys are funny!

                                                                                        Carla does look like a Fraggle, but she seems like a genuinely nice person- in rooting for Ariane, and it looked like she was happy for Leah and Hosea and amused by their flirting. There was an article in the Post last week where she said the producers encouraged her to fluff her fro out, to give her a more extreme look. Those eyes are plenty extreme though.

                                                                                        I loved that Stefan's personality was outed in the TV challenge- he sucked! Drone much?

                                                                                        Also agree that Spicy Long Bangs needed to go. I'm sure she'll be packing her knives soon.

                                                                                        I love Eugene- he's flying under the radar, but is consistently good. He's Hawaiian, not Latino by the way.

                                                                                        Found it funny that the Newyorker with the beard and accent thought he was made for TV. Maybe thats why he shaves canyons into his beard?

                                                                                        Leah seems poised for success. She's so pretty too!

                                                                                        Fabio was annoying at first with the Team Europe stuff, but he's grown on me, even though he's totally hamming it up with the accent, fresh outta the boat stuff.

                                                                                        I like Jeff- he's shown himself to be a natural leader, and doesn't dumb things down. His biggest flaw is doing too much and overthinking, which Blais managed to grow out of last year.... The shot of him lifting weights while others ate was funny, but his form seemed off.

                                                                                        The episodes seem shorter this year, or less substantive, and even though I'm a die hard fan, there's STILL too many contestants to kee track of, and its week 4.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: yamalam

                                                                                          Spicy Long Bangs looks like Garreth from the UK Office.

                                                                                          1. re: fame da lupo

                                                                                            ROFL! She even has his slightly awkward cadence...brilliant!

                                                                                        2. After re-watching the episode over the weekend I was struck by the enthusiasm shown by Fabio and Carla when Ariane won. Very classy of both of them to be supportive in that way.