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Top Chef - Restaurant Wars - *Possible Spoilers*

goodhealthgourmet Jan 21, 2009 06:39 PM

OK, i just had to get this up while the line was fresh in my mind. my vote for best quote of the season, courtesy of Fabio:

"i'm in the front of the house. we could serve monkey ass in an empty clam shell, and we'll still win because i'm in the front of the house."


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  1. lisavf RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 21, 2009 06:41 PM

    Oh, my god, you beat me to the punch. I was laughing so hard, my husband ran downstairs because he thought something was wrong. Monkey ass!!!!!

    1. e
      Ericandblueboy RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 21, 2009 06:46 PM

      What's with Jamie saying her concept is sustainable food and then she cooks chilean seabass in her quickfire?

      23 Replies
      1. re: Ericandblueboy
        jeanmarieok RE: Ericandblueboy Jan 21, 2009 06:49 PM

        Caught that - sustainable sea bass. Also thought the Leah/Hosea clip with the little sucking noises were gross. I hope Leah goes home.

        1. re: Ericandblueboy
          beachmouse RE: Ericandblueboy Jan 22, 2009 09:27 AM

          Someone on TWOP dug around and it turns out that the Whole Foods 'Chilean' sea bass is actually a farmed fish and considered to be sustainable because no fisheries are depleted as it is produced.

          1. re: beachmouse
            ChefJune RE: beachmouse Jan 23, 2009 10:53 AM

            <the Whole Foods 'Chilean' sea bass is actually a farmed fish and considered to be sustainable > I don't think you will find anyone connected with sustainable fishing agreeing with that line! Never mind that almost all farmed fish contains high levels of toxins. I'm reading that section of Marion Netle's book, "What to Eat," right now, and she corroborates all the fears I have about farmed fish (with RARE exceptions).

            People want to eat Chilean Sea Bass (and chefs want to cook it, because it is so easy to use) that they will buy any tale to justify it. Really a shame.

            1. re: ChefJune
              applehome RE: ChefJune Jan 23, 2009 01:19 PM

              From the Monterey Bay Seawatch site:

              "In March 2004, one small fishery for Chilean seabass [Glossary] (South Georgia Patagonian Toothfish Longline Fishery) was certified as sustainable to the standard of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Because the amount of certified product available in the U.S. is such a small portion of the overall chilean seabass fishery, Seafood Watch® reminds consumers that the majority of Chilean seabass found in U.S. restaurants and markets should be avoided until the larger issue of illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing is fully addressed. Legitimate sources are required to have the MSC "Chain of Custody" certification and should be able to produce that when asked. Without proof of this certification, consumers should not purchase Chilean seabass."

              I guess you have to ask for the MSC certficate - perhaps WF has that.

              1. re: applehome
                Nettie RE: applehome Jan 23, 2009 01:31 PM

                I found this article pretty informative: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article... (and yes, it says the WF gets their CSB from that certified sustainable fishery). But it also points out:
                "Chilean sea bass takes nine to 10 years to reach maturity and has a lifespan of 40 years. A sustainable fish like the sardine, by contrast, matures in less than 15 months."
                What this says to me is that if you're really, really serious about "sustainable" food, you probably still wouldn't serve chilean seabass.
                Jamie was one of my favorites, but sadly, I now think she's just using "seasonal", "local", and "sustainable" as buzzwords without really understanding them. Didn't she also say something on the trip to the farm last week about how she hadn't really been to a farm?

          2. re: Ericandblueboy
            Nettie RE: Ericandblueboy Jan 23, 2009 06:45 AM

            Jamie also said that her concept included local food. I'd say that her definition of "local" is a little bigger than mine, if she's using the Whole Foods sea bass from South Georgia Island.

            1. re: Nettie
              jcattles RE: Nettie Jan 23, 2009 02:02 PM

              Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but Jamie picked the chilean sea bass from the Top Chef Pantry. We don't know where Leanne got it from. Regardless, I agree she could've picked a better "protein".

            2. re: Ericandblueboy
              Bill Hunt RE: Ericandblueboy Jan 25, 2009 07:33 PM

              All they have to do is revert to the original name, Patagonian Toothfish. "Chilean Seabass," was a marketing name. Put Toothfish on the menu, and their numbers will increase.

              Same for the "Orange Roughy." Remember him. Originally, he was the "Slimehead." I'll bet that the oceans would be filled, if the name was turned back.


              1. re: Bill Hunt
                LindaWhit RE: Bill Hunt Jan 26, 2009 07:07 AM

                I did know re: the Toothfish/Chilean Seabass name conversation, but didn't know that Orange Roughy was once called a Slimehead. That name would probably give me pause.

                1. re: LindaWhit
                  Bill Hunt RE: LindaWhit Jan 26, 2009 03:31 PM

                  Ah, the magic of Madison Ave (or where ever the copywriters were located).

                  I suppose that for fully sustainable marine life, one would possibly limited to crab, shrimp, talapia some salmon and catfish. Crabs also pose a bit of a problem. I'm sure that there are some species, that I have missed, so others can freely add to that list.

                  Now, I love crab, shrimp (even raised in pools in the AZ desert, catfish, some preps of talapia, I have yet to embrace non-Pacific/Alaskan salmon - maybe the preps there too? Still, I would hate to completely give up my other seafood.

                  I'm also curious why, say talapia is considered sustainable, and many people look at beef, as something else. Guess that that is a personal thing.

                  As commercial "seasons" have been imposed (and probably for really good measure), I've seen a lot of other fish, once considered bait, or trash-fish, appearing on menus, around the Gulf of Mexico. Some of the preps have been great. As a child, we'd never have eaten "those" fish, but now it's a totally different stroy.


                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                    ChefJune RE: Bill Hunt Jan 27, 2009 07:46 AM

                    <I'm also curious why, say talapia is considered sustainable, >

                    WHO considers tilapia "sustainable?"

                    1. re: ChefJune
                      chowser RE: ChefJune Jan 27, 2009 08:08 AM

                      US farmed raised tilapia is sustainable, according to the Monterey Seafood Watch:


                      Blue Ocean Institute:


                      1. re: chowser
                        seaotter RE: chowser Jan 27, 2009 12:31 PM

                        Unfortunately, Top Chef is not very sustainable. I’m still reeling from last season’s the monkfish cleaning challenge.

                        I’m glad to see such a spirited discussion on here about sustainability and people knowledgeable about our recommendations.

                        Tilapia make good candidates for farming, as they provide more protein than it takes to raise them. In the U.S., most tilapia are farmed in closed inland systems that guard against escapes and pollution. However, in many other countries, tilapia are often farmed in open systems where escapes and pollution are a bigger threat. We thus recommend avoiding tilapia from China or Taiwan.

                        I also want to add that that imported shrimp should be avoided and crabs are generally good choices with the exception of imported king crab.

                        Humberto Kam
                        Monterey Bay Aquarium

                        1. re: seaotter
                          thew RE: seaotter Jan 27, 2009 12:44 PM

                          too bad tilapia often tastes like swamp muck, to me

                          1. re: thew
                            Bill Hunt RE: thew Jan 27, 2009 02:53 PM

                            Yes, I've had a few preps, that left something to be desired. OTOH, it seems that more chefs are developing recipes and preps, that show the fish well.

                            It's not unlike looking at a lot of the Cajun recipes, that were developed to work with the flavors of some fish, that were just not that good, by themselves. That's on of the reasons that some pretty heavy spices were used - they just did not have that many "game fish," and other sources of protein to use, so they had to adapt.


                          2. re: seaotter
                            Bill Hunt RE: seaotter Jan 27, 2009 02:50 PM


                            Thanks for pointing that out. Often, one (such as I) only gets part of the story.



                            1. re: seaotter
                              chowser RE: seaotter Jan 27, 2009 06:28 PM

                              I've found your list very helpful, and used to carry it with me in my wallet. It took me a while to remember things like sea scallops, no; bay, yes. Keep up the good work.

                              Do you have information on chilean sea bass from Whole Foods? They had an MSC label on them, the last time I was there. I asked and was told that it was sustainable, though frozen. I love it but haven't had it in years because of overfishing.

                          3. re: ChefJune
                            Bill Hunt RE: ChefJune Jan 27, 2009 02:49 PM

                            Talapia can be farm-raised and thrive in crowded conditions. Going back about 3 decades, Disney World started their own talapia farm (part of the Ocean Exhibit), and have been serving from their farm ever since.

                            Now, for some, it might well be a "define sustainable," but I have considered "farm-raised," and not wild to be part of that definition. Am I incorrect here?


                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                              Frodnesor RE: Bill Hunt Jan 27, 2009 03:06 PM

                              "Farm raised" does not automatically equate to "sustainable." Some fish farming creates pollution and has other effects that are detrimental to other fish populations. No easy answers.

                              1. re: Frodnesor
                                Bill Hunt RE: Frodnesor Jan 27, 2009 03:19 PM

                                Thank you. That is an aspect that I had not considered. I guess, in this arena, I'm an easy mark for PR.


                                1. re: Bill Hunt
                                  chowser RE: Bill Hunt Jan 27, 2009 06:24 PM

                                  A few years ago, I carried around the Monterey Seawatch list because it's hard to remember, esp. with ones where the farm raised are okay but only from some locations. The same goes with where it's been caught. At this point, I know the basic fish I get and what's on the safe list but there's always the question when I see something new on the menu. But they have it in a small, wallet sized print out.

                                  1. re: chowser
                                    Bill Hunt RE: chowser Jan 28, 2009 05:18 PM

                                    Have not seen that. I am afraid that I have dealt in generalities. There is obviously much more that one can and should do.



                                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                                      seaotter RE: Bill Hunt Jan 28, 2009 08:25 PM

                                      Frodnesor is correct. Farm raised does not make it automatically bad or good. How much wild fish is caught to feed the farmed fish, pollution or chemicals from the farm going into the environment, and escaped fish affecting the local ecosystem are some of the factors that influence whether a fish is deemed sustainable. I’m afraid there are no easy answers or rules of thumb.

                                      Please excuse the plug, but in addition to the wallet cards, you can also access our recommendations from mobile devices with internet access by going to mobile.seafoodwatch.org or download our iphone app.


                  2. acervoni RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 21, 2009 07:08 PM

                    This isn't turning out how I thought it would. I so wish one of the others from the Sunset Lounge team was going home!

                    1. LindaWhit RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 21, 2009 07:12 PM

                      That was the BEST line of the entire season!

                      As for the team who's in the bottom - I'm *really* disappointed. However either one of the two deemed the worst should go home, for sure.

                      I just wish it was Team Sunset Lounge. I really wanted Radhika and Jeff to do well. Leah - I'm *so* done with her.

                      Oooh! Previews of next week - we get All-Stars from previous seasons - can't wait! "Culinary Boner" Andrew is back! LOL

                      20 Replies
                      1. re: LindaWhit
                        acervoni RE: LindaWhit Jan 21, 2009 07:16 PM

                        Yes, Leah and Steffan should both go! I thought that Carla should be the one to go tonight. Those desserts just didn't cut it. Although, I do think she makes the show interesting and has a great personality.

                        1. re: acervoni
                          goodhealthgourmet RE: acervoni Jan 21, 2009 07:19 PM

                          what do you mean Stefan should go? he was the reason they won!

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                            dmd_kc RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 21, 2009 08:46 PM

                            As much as I love this show, the judges are so, so contradictory about what they want. One challenge, it's only about the food. Next time, it's about who's more like a Top Chef -- meaning someone who could run a kitchen well. The loser tonight won because she didn't take charge, not because of the food. She made no food. (That's an umbrella problem I have with "Restaurant Wars" -- not to mention the constant comparisons to opening a real restaurant, which are completely specious. This is putting together a menu of a few dishes and picking out some tchotchkes at Pier 1. It's not "opening a restaurant." Sheeeesh.)

                            I would never, ever work for a Stefan. As a chef, he might assemble a competent kitchen staff, but he'd run off good talent constantly with his nasty personality. I'm lucky to be friends with a few truly great chefs, and they are all excellent, personable people. They can be demanding with their staffs, but they're anything but arrogant. I know some nasties make a name for themselves, but the real giants are respected, and often loved.

                            Chefs command -- not demand -- respect. It's the "No A-Hole Rule," as the book says. There's a fine line between lovable rogue (Bourdain) and just a total jerk.

                            Speaking of which, Toby Young is embarrassing. He's not nearly as insufferable as last time, but man -- he's not even good with words. You can see the gears turning as he comes up with his lame zingers. What's the opposite of "pithy?"

                            1. re: dmd_kc
                              dmjordan RE: dmd_kc Jan 22, 2009 01:22 AM

                              "I would never, ever work for a Stefan."

                              Maybe he wouldn't be so bad if he was clearly the boss of the kitchen. Here he is constantly knocking heads with his competition. I think he would STILL be arrogant, but it would be tempered a lot by not having to be "the cock" (as Stefan would say).

                              Toby is SO lame. He didn't see much camera time except to make the Elvis comment. How dated is that? He's been dead 30 years!

                              1. re: dmd_kc
                                LindaWhit RE: dmd_kc Jan 22, 2009 05:08 AM

                                "One challenge, it's only about the food. Next time, it's about who's more like a Top Chef -- meaning someone who could run a kitchen well. The loser tonight won because she didn't take charge, not because of the food."
                                But isn't that the purpose of this specific challenge, Restaurant Wars? Part of Top Chef is leadership skills - and that one of the major focuses of this challenge. Radikha didn't have it. Everyone was on their own, doing their own thing. It was *her* restaurant and she didn't even plan the menu - didn't seem to have much of a say in it! She even said she made Jamie Chef de Cuisine, and Jamie was running the kitchen and being expediter. Anytime Radikha was in the kitchen, she hovered; she wasn't doing anything. And she should have been out front. The fact that the judges left without her being there to say goodbye speaks volumes.

                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                  dmd_kc RE: LindaWhit Jan 22, 2009 05:20 AM

                                  Oh, I think they sent the right person home. She's too indecisive to win. I liked her a lot, but that doesn't mean she belongs in the final three.

                                  Of all these people, Carla's the one I want to hang out with, and one of the ones whose food looks pretty consistently good to me.

                                  1. re: dmd_kc
                                    LindaWhit RE: dmd_kc Jan 22, 2009 05:36 AM

                                    I just don't think I have a Final 3 fave anymore. I had liked Radhika, as you did, but she just didn't seem to have the consistency to run a restaurant - although her food often looked very interesting.

                                    Carla - just don't like her personality. She's always too "ON!" for me. Her desserts look good, for the most part, but some of her food just doesn't cut it. Jamie has grown on me - her steadiness in the kitchen last night was good to see instead of her earlier whining. But she's gotta step AWAY from the damn scallops.

                                    Fabio's fun, but I haven't been overly impressed with his food. Stefan remains an arrogant ass, IMO and while his food sometimes looks good, there are other times that it just doesn't appeal to me.

                                    Jeff? He's the one I had had the most hope for improvement, but he continues to overthink things and go for too much "stuff" instead of just keeping to clean flavors.

                                    Leah? I want her gone. 'Nuf said. And Hosea? I thought he was good, but he's been thinking with his other brain and that's going to fail him overall, I think.

                                    Final 3 will probably be Jamie, Stefan and - I kind of hope - Jeff.

                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                      AMFM RE: LindaWhit Jan 22, 2009 05:44 AM

                                      again though - jamie didn't do these scallops, jeff did. jamie did some apparently good lamb and curried carrot soup. i happen to love a good scallop but what intrigued me was the chick pea cake - which the judges also said was great. i actually thought the food at sahana (minus the desserts) looked very good.

                                      1. re: AMFM
                                        LindaWhit RE: AMFM Jan 22, 2009 05:55 AM

                                        I know she didn't do the scallops - I'm just saying I'm tired of her almost always reverting to scallops as the "protein" (said tongue-in-cheek <g>). I'd love it if they banned scallops from TC6 next season.

                                        And I agree - Sahana's menu definitely looked to be the better food, which is one reason why I was disappointed they weren't the winning team.

                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                          acervoni RE: LindaWhit Jan 22, 2009 11:53 AM

                                          I am pretty much over the lamb too. It seems to be in every episode (with the scallops). I'm surprised they haven't done lamb and scallop desserts yet!

                                  2. re: LindaWhit
                                    MartinDC RE: LindaWhit Jan 22, 2009 01:17 PM

                                    Leadership skills are important, but in Top Chef, only two contestants are tested for leadership. To be applied fairly, they all should be given the chance. It seems that one takes a much larger risk being the leader. Knowing that, I would hope I would not win the quickfile for the dubious honor.

                                    1. re: MartinDC
                                      Withnail42 RE: MartinDC Jan 22, 2009 02:12 PM

                                      I was thinking the same thing. Heck of a QF to win. The fact is that the two 'owners' are going to be looked at the closest. What do you win? A fifty/fifty chance to be eliminated.

                                      For some reason I keep thinking of the line: "...So other than that Mrs. Lincoln what did you think of the play?"

                                      1. re: Withnail42
                                        AMFM RE: Withnail42 Jan 22, 2009 02:23 PM

                                        except i still think her COOKING made a good impression on the guest judge. may help her in the long run.

                                  3. re: dmd_kc
                                    Claudette RE: dmd_kc Jan 22, 2009 10:50 AM

                                    I thought I was the only one who didn't like Toby. His zingers are very juvenile - like stuff I heard in middle school.

                                    1. re: dmd_kc
                                      Amuse Bouches RE: dmd_kc Jan 23, 2009 10:18 AM

                                      Well, front of the house in Restaurant Wars invariably makes or breaks the team, IMO. That's been pretty consistent. And I think Radhika was told to PYKAG mostly because she was sucky front of the house.

                                      As for Stefan, I think he's awesome. Everyone else is mumuing about their angst and their personal feelings (Leah makes me gag) and he's like "Get over it. Let's cook. Let's cook what's best." And frankly, he gets the job done. Is he arrogant? Yes, in that he thinks he knows what's best -- he's not really a team player in that he's not good at taking input from other people. But frankly, he seems to be right a lot of the time. And I haven't really seen him be mean the way Spike was last season.

                                      1. re: Amuse Bouches
                                        Pylon RE: Amuse Bouches Jan 24, 2009 01:18 PM

                                        I concur. I'm enjoying Stefan immensely.

                                        Of course, I really enjoyed Steven and Marcel as well...

                                  4. re: acervoni
                                    Ericandblueboy RE: acervoni Jan 21, 2009 07:27 PM

                                    It's obvious you don't like Stefan due to his personality. You can't give him any credit for winning challenges and that's sad. This is a show about food, not popularity.

                                    1. re: Ericandblueboy
                                      acervoni RE: Ericandblueboy Jan 21, 2009 07:30 PM

                                      Yes it is a show/contest about food and, if I was actually tasting the dishes, I might think he was the best chef. Unfortunately, I can only watch the show and think that it would be a better hour of television if he wasn't there.

                                  5. re: LindaWhit
                                    goodhealthgourmet RE: LindaWhit Jan 21, 2009 07:20 PM

                                    when Fabio made the monkey ass comment, i realized that he's this season's Andrew in terms of quotes. i'm excited for next week - should be fun!

                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                      dcdavis RE: LindaWhit Jan 23, 2009 09:32 AM

                                      Please, some of us are at work and it is inappropriate for me to laugh this loud within earshot of others! I will use the term "Culinary Boner" in the future.


                                    2. goodhealthgourmet RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 21, 2009 07:17 PM

                                      - Leah should have gone home this week - she owes Stefan in a MAJOR way, and Radhika got sort of screwed.
                                      - Sunset Lounge is a *really* lame name. it had nothing to do with their concept, and it wouldn't even pique my curiosity as a potential diner.
                                      - did anyone else notice that Jamie was involved with a SCALLOP dish again? but hey, at least Fabio didn't make ravioli.
                                      - and finally, the pseudo-romantic nonsense with Leah & Hosea is gag-worthy, and i was nauseated by that sofa scene with the kissing noises. as Fabio might say, this is Top Chef, not Top Hook-up!

                                      14 Replies
                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                        momjamin RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 21, 2009 07:25 PM

                                        I took note that Jeff did the scallop -- until almost the end, I assumed Jamie did it ;-)

                                        1. re: momjamin
                                          AMFM RE: momjamin Jan 21, 2009 07:28 PM

                                          oh i noticed it wasn't jamie's too! but they do go over well on restaurant menus!

                                          i agree. sunset lounge was the worst name ever. and no at all asian. i actually think leah owes fabio the most because while the desserts were apparently (and looked) fab - it was fabio who sold that restaurant. his quote was correct in my opinion!

                                          1. re: AMFM
                                            momjamin RE: AMFM Jan 22, 2009 06:34 AM

                                            So, I might be misremembering something, but did Hosea in an interview say with a straight face something to the effect of, "I'm sure no one has ever come up with the Sunset Lounge name"?

                                            (I kinda wish we were getting to see him w/o the Leah distraction -- his competition with Stefan and a sly sense of irony could be much more interesting.)

                                            1. re: momjamin
                                              AMFM RE: momjamin Jan 22, 2009 07:01 AM

                                              i'd bet he's watching and realizing how much a girl (and i am one so i don't mean to knock girls in general) has thrown him off his game...

                                              1. re: momjamin
                                                goodhealthgourmet RE: momjamin Jan 22, 2009 09:24 AM

                                                momjamin, Hosea's comment was more to the effect that no one on TC has ever come up with such a solid concept for Restaurant Wars before...which almost made me laugh as hard as Fabio's monkey ass line.

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                  Amuse Bouches RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 23, 2009 10:20 AM

                                                  Right. Vaguely Asian NEVER occurs to the cheftestants!

                                                2. re: momjamin
                                                  Caitlin McGrath RE: momjamin Jan 23, 2009 10:33 AM

                                                  Kim, the Television Without Pity recapper, said Sunset Lounge is the name of the bar attached to the truckstop. Couldn't agree more.

                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                    LindaWhit RE: Caitlin McGrath Jan 23, 2009 10:37 AM

                                                    And someone in the forum posts area added a description than just "bar attached to the truckstop" - but that's not something we probably want described here. ;-)

                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                      Phaedrus RE: Caitlin McGrath Jan 23, 2009 10:41 AM

                                                      And the strip joint attached to it.

                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                        Amuse Bouches RE: Caitlin McGrath Jan 23, 2009 11:01 AM

                                                        I was thinking Buffet in the tacky part of Vegas. (OK, the more tacky part)

                                                    2. re: AMFM
                                                      MartinDC RE: AMFM Jan 22, 2009 01:23 PM

                                                      Problem with the name Sunset Lounge is that it gives critics the chance to use the name against them, as in "The sun will soon be setting on this lounge."

                                                    3. re: momjamin
                                                      goodhealthgourmet RE: momjamin Jan 21, 2009 07:29 PM

                                                      i know she didn't actually cook it, but she was guilty by association because it was her team. i'm willing to bet she suggested it ;)

                                                    4. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                      Ericandblueboy RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 21, 2009 07:28 PM

                                                      At first I thought Jamie was doing top scallop again but then Jeff said he seared the scallops.

                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                        dave_c RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 21, 2009 10:38 PM

                                                        When I saw the scallop I assumed it was Jamie, but Jeff took credit for that one.

                                                      2. a
                                                        AMFM RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 21, 2009 07:20 PM

                                                        i thought this episode was FASCINATING though because it tells you how much service plays into the experience of dining at a restaurant. because it seemed really obvious that sahana had better food (except dessert) but that was not all that either patrons or guests were voting on.
                                                        fabio and stefan rocked their roles - and jamie and jeff seemed to too. will be interesting to see where it goes from here but i still would've liked to eat radhika's food, despite agreeing that she was an awful leader and a dreadful host.

                                                        18 Replies
                                                        1. re: AMFM
                                                          acervoni RE: AMFM Jan 21, 2009 07:27 PM

                                                          I agree. I think Radhika is a better chef than most of the current contestants. It is unfortunate that she didn't insist that Jeff take the front of the house.

                                                          I know that Stefan did a great job on the desserts this time. I just can't stand his personality.

                                                          1. re: acervoni
                                                            AMFM RE: acervoni Jan 21, 2009 07:32 PM

                                                            actually stefan is growing on me.

                                                            1. re: AMFM
                                                              tastyjon RE: AMFM Jan 21, 2009 11:04 PM

                                                              Agreed. He has talent and confidence. And yes there's a touch of arrogance. But arrogance is somewhat forgiven by talent and confidence.

                                                              And it's 3,000 percent better than arrogance with no talent.

                                                              In any business you want a leader with a little bit of swagger and pride. But yes, there's a tipping point and Stefan is right on the edge. But he's also not dominated and thus he's kept it in check.

                                                              1. re: tastyjon
                                                                aser RE: tastyjon Jan 22, 2009 12:04 AM

                                                                One thing Stefan has done better than anybody was his preparation for this show. It's obvious he worked out a nice arsenal of recipes to fall back on, especially with things like desserts, the achilles heel of all contestants.

                                                                Even if making a dish for the first time, he is using flavour combinations that has worked for him in the past.

                                                                Yes he is a douche, but he is ahead of everybody talent wise. Eerily similar to the Hung situation in season 3.

                                                                Radhika was like a bag of stones tied to a stiff in the Hudson River. She's a nice girl, but she has nobody to blame by herself for this train wreck. How hard was it to converse with customers? She had the "deer in headlights" look throughout the whole night.

                                                                1. re: aser
                                                                  ccbweb RE: aser Jan 22, 2009 06:43 PM

                                                                  In my opinion, the show is too wide ranging and there's too much variability and uncertainty to come up with an arsenal of recipes to fall back on. He's simply that good, that quick and that talented in the kitchen. He may well have practiced doing unusual things or having people make up strange circumstances in which to cook or something but Top Chef seems to me to be something you're either up for and able to handle or you're out of your depth. He's arrogant and aggravating as a personality but he's clearly got the goods in the kitchen.

                                                                2. re: tastyjon
                                                                  AMFM RE: tastyjon Jan 22, 2009 03:51 AM

                                                                  what turned me on to stefan was when his panna cotta wasn't chilling and he was like (and i paraphrase) " you don't panic, you make it work". and he obviously did. that to me is a top chef. i give him props.
                                                                  he's still not my favorite but at least i think he can back it up. by the way i think it should be jamie, stefan, and jeff in the finals. they're the top. but hosea might skate in.

                                                                  1. re: AMFM
                                                                    Ericandblueboy RE: AMFM Jan 22, 2009 04:33 AM

                                                                    Carla had the exact same issue but she couldn't think outside the box.

                                                                    1. re: Ericandblueboy
                                                                      goodhealthgourmet RE: Ericandblueboy Jan 22, 2009 12:44 PM

                                                                      forget outside the box, she couldn't think, period. earlier in the show when they were sitting around trying to create their menu, Jamie kept asking Carla for ideas about what she might want to do for dessert, and she couldn't come up with a single suggestion or direction.

                                                                    2. re: AMFM
                                                                      dcdavis RE: AMFM Jan 23, 2009 09:36 AM

                                                                      I don't like him but I too must give him props for "fixing" his dish. That is a Top Chef.

                                                                3. re: acervoni
                                                                  gastrotect RE: acervoni Jan 22, 2009 07:20 AM

                                                                  I think she should have given front of the house to Carla actually. I know she makes good desserts usually, but she has far and away the brightest personality on that team. If you knock out the main dishes and service, a mediocre dessert by someone else would have slipped by just fine.

                                                                  1. re: gastrotect
                                                                    AMFM RE: gastrotect Jan 22, 2009 07:23 AM

                                                                    that's what she says in her hindsight on the bravo website questions. oh and her line about jamie having "just the right amount of bitchiness" is priceless!

                                                                    1. re: gastrotect
                                                                      Phaedrus RE: gastrotect Jan 22, 2009 07:33 AM

                                                                      Carla has been stereotyped into being the dessert woman. Not a good hole to dig into.

                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                        LindaWhit RE: Phaedrus Jan 22, 2009 08:11 AM

                                                                        Well, she *is* a pastry chef, so stereotyping isn't that far off.

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                          Phaedrus RE: LindaWhit Jan 22, 2009 08:56 AM

                                                                          True, but it seems like every time they do a team thing she gets to do a dessert because her team tells her to do it and she is too nice not to put her foot down.

                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                            LindaWhit RE: Phaedrus Jan 22, 2009 09:12 AM

                                                                            Then wouldn't that be a hole that she herself has dug?

                                                                            If she can't/won't speak up and say "I've done too many desserts, I really want to showcase my forté with pork/scallops/vegetables" (if she has such forté), then that remains the albatross she won't remove from around her neck.

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                              Phaedrus RE: LindaWhit Jan 22, 2009 09:19 AM

                                                                              True. it seems to me though that it is always: "well Carla can do dessert" rather than : "Carla what do you want to do?"

                                                                              Not saying that she's not responsible for her own predicament, the others are making assumptions.

                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                LindaWhit RE: Phaedrus Jan 22, 2009 09:47 AM

                                                                                Yup - it definitely goes both ways with their assumption and lack of gumption to say "no".

                                                                      2. re: gastrotect
                                                                        rweater RE: gastrotect Jan 22, 2009 08:45 AM

                                                                        <<I think she should have given front of the house to Carla actually. I know she makes good desserts usually, but she has far and away the brightest personality on that team. If you knock out the main dishes and service, a mediocre dessert by someone else would have slipped by just fine.>>

                                                                        Exactly what I thought, too! She's so enthusiastic. "Hello there! Welcome to Sahana, where we make our food with looooove!!!!"

                                                                        I do think Radhika deserved to go home based on the fact that she did nothing, but I would have liked to see Leah get booted for non-cooking the cod. And I know we're not a fashion board, but I thought her dress was so drab and dreary that maybe it pulled her down. It was a depressing color that made her look ill.

                                                                  2. a
                                                                    AMFM RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 21, 2009 07:24 PM

                                                                    oh and by the way i actually thought that jamie's plan - don't win the quickfire but be the behind the scenes leader was actually quite genius. and while i wouldn't want to work FOR stefan, i'm not certain that i wouldn't want him to run one of my restaurants (my hypothetical restaurants) because he seems to have great ideas and get it done despite being a bit of an a$$.

                                                                    1. m
                                                                      mojoeater RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 21, 2009 07:26 PM

                                                                      The fact that Radhika wasn't even involved in making the food and that she sucked as a host meant that she should go home. But I would have loved to see Leah leave. What Leah cooked was inedible and her attitude is very poor.

                                                                      And what kind of people hook up on national television when they have someone waiting at home for them? This kind of crap (bringing out the worst in people) is what makes me not want to watch.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: mojoeater
                                                                        LindaWhit RE: mojoeater Jan 21, 2009 07:30 PM

                                                                        The Leah/Hosea thing definitely bugs me as well - and I think it's going to be their downfall. Leah was *this* close to being booted tonight - Chef Colicchio even said that without Stefan's desserts, she would have been told to PYKAG.

                                                                        And I guess those "someones" are no longer waiting at home - as Leah and Hosea continued the hook-up after the show as well. Can't recall exactly where I read that a few weeks ago, but I did read it.

                                                                        1. re: mojoeater
                                                                          AMFM RE: mojoeater Jan 21, 2009 07:32 PM

                                                                          weak needy people. the same reason she was a bad leader. that said it's hard to know what stress and self-doubt can bring out in people.
                                                                          not that i'm excusing - i hated watching and really wished she went home but...

                                                                          1. re: AMFM
                                                                            mojoeater RE: AMFM Jan 24, 2009 05:13 PM

                                                                            Weak, needy, co-dependent people cannot run a kitchen. Even the dishwashers I've worked with have more gumption than that.

                                                                        2. s
                                                                          shallots RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 21, 2009 07:30 PM

                                                                          Will Leah ever admit that but for Stefan's desert, she'd be gone. She DOES owe him her longevity.
                                                                          Radhica...when you choose a team, you choose position players. Or didn't she know this.

                                                                          Scallops are getting really, really tired.
                                                                          And from the QF, was fish all that they had as protein?

                                                                          And, Magical Elves, your showmance edit is so lame. Reusing Hosea's quote five times (not to mention in the ads) reduces the lame horse by an additional leg.

                                                                          I'm looking forward to the Bravo blogs for a bit more about the walk out from Shanananana restaurant. Something had to have preceeded that decision.

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: shallots
                                                                            NellyNel RE: shallots Jan 28, 2009 08:53 AM

                                                                            "Will Leah ever admit that but for Stefan's desert, she'd be gone. She DOES owe him her longevity."

                                                                            Yeah I wonder that too!
                                                                            It always irked me that in season 2 - Elia was just about to get sent packing, (Tom admitted it in his blog - and Elia knew that) when Mia said she would rather go home, and volunteered to go.
                                                                            Elia never once commented on that fact, and never thanked Mia publicly or whatever.
                                                                            I didn't like Elia to begin with, so that just really bugged me.
                                                                            Elia ended up in the top 2 and got to go to Hawaii - I thought it sucked that she never admitted it was only for Mia wanting to quit that got her there - she always acted and even said things like "I deserve to be in the top 3" etc...

                                                                            So let's see if Leah mentions Stefan or thanks him for saving her...
                                                                            She didnt want him on her team in the first place!

                                                                            1. re: NellyNel
                                                                              Ruth Lafler RE: NellyNel Jan 28, 2009 12:18 PM

                                                                              The two situations are not at all analogous. He didn't save her. He did what he was supposed to do (conceive and execute his dishes well) and that happened to be the deciding factor that kept his team from losing. It wasn't as if he did it *for her.* I'm pretty sure he did it for himself, and he would have been the first to throw her under the bus if they'd ended up at judges table.

                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                gastrotect RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 29, 2009 06:43 AM

                                                                                I think NellyNel's point is that if Stefan hadn't done such a great job (or Fabio for that matter) Leah would have gone home. While he didn't do it for her per se, his success still saved her.

                                                                                1. re: gastrotect
                                                                                  LindaWhit RE: gastrotect Jan 29, 2009 06:58 AM

                                                                                  Did Chef Colicchio say as much? If they hadn't won, Leah would definitely have been going home.

                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                    NellyNel RE: LindaWhit Jan 29, 2009 07:08 AM

                                                                                    Thanks Gas, yes, that's what I meant.
                                                                                    And yes, if you watch the episode again, Tom actually says that if her team hadn't won - she would be the one going home.

                                                                          2. e
                                                                            Evilbanana11 RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 21, 2009 07:33 PM

                                                                            Haha my boy Stefan with the win! That's what you get for not choosing him LOL. Seriously the 2 Euros are my two favorites at the moment. They are super entertaining and they know their stuff.

                                                                            NEXT TO GO = LEAH.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Evilbanana11
                                                                              AMFM RE: Evilbanana11 Jan 21, 2009 07:34 PM

                                                                              yeah - i was thinking that radhika has to really regret that decision.

                                                                              1. re: Evilbanana11
                                                                                LindaWhit RE: Evilbanana11 Jan 21, 2009 07:34 PM

                                                                                Don't know about the European boyfriends next week - with preview editing, looks like one or both could be in stormy seas at JT.

                                                                                1. re: Evilbanana11
                                                                                  fame da lupo RE: Evilbanana11 Jan 22, 2009 04:52 AM

                                                                                  I agree, they're my two fav to watch. They make for great TV. And finally some food to get excited about (Stefan's desserts).

                                                                                2. n
                                                                                  nosh RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 21, 2009 07:40 PM

                                                                                  Interesting episode. Quickfire is surprising -- Radhika wins again, and Leah who started with smelly fish pulls out a win by switching to tempura'd poussin -- wow!

                                                                                  So now comes the choosing teams, and here is where Radhika blows it bigtime. She chooses Jamie, who is the fellow cook she wants. But she didn't have to pick her first. Nobody is going to pick Stefan, he's difficult to work with. But Leah is definitely going to pick Hosea. So Radhika should have thought about her line-up -- she doesn't want to be front-of-the-house, and Fabio is born for that. So she should have chosen Fabio, Leah still would have gone for Hosea, she now picks up Jamie anyway, and she now has a much stronger team. Fabio is born for front-of-the-house, a natural, an all-star. Doesn't he remind you a bit of Wolfgang Puck, with his accent and over-the-top charm?

                                                                                  21 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: nosh
                                                                                    Evilbanana11 RE: nosh Jan 21, 2009 07:47 PM

                                                                                    Yeah that would have been the right thing for her to do, but right there in the heat of the moment I guess she just choose who she thought were the most talented and easy to work with.

                                                                                    1. re: nosh
                                                                                      viperlush RE: nosh Jan 21, 2009 08:11 PM

                                                                                      You would think that they would have learned from the other seasons how important front-of-the-house is. I'm surprised that Radhika didn't recognize her weakness (introvert) and put anyone else on her team in front. Dr. Chase (aka Jeff) seems very smooth and calm and Carla would have had people laughing.

                                                                                      I do wonder if some of the chefs purposely threw the Quick Fire so that they wouldn't be the leader. From past seasons it seems like a dangerous role to play in Restaurant Wars.

                                                                                      Probably been said before, but I really don't like Toby Young as a judge. His comments seem too scripted. Sometimes he sounds like he is just stringing together sound bites.

                                                                                      1. re: viperlush
                                                                                        AMFM RE: viperlush Jan 21, 2009 08:14 PM

                                                                                        even the other judges were thrown by how over the top harsh he was.

                                                                                        and jamie said she threw the quickfire.

                                                                                        1. re: AMFM
                                                                                          viperlush RE: AMFM Jan 22, 2009 06:18 AM

                                                                                          I missed that thanks for pointing out. Smart of Jamie since I don't think that she would have been too good of a leader either. Better than Radhika, but still not great.

                                                                                          1. re: AMFM
                                                                                            gastrotect RE: AMFM Jan 22, 2009 07:24 AM

                                                                                            I don't think she threw it, she just wasn't confident in what she made and had no problem with that. But the guest judge actually liked it. She may have been next in line after Leah and Radhika for the win.

                                                                                            1. re: AMFM
                                                                                              srr RE: AMFM Jan 22, 2009 09:17 AM

                                                                                              Jamie never said she threw the quickfire, she said she didn't want to win it. Big difference

                                                                                              1. re: srr
                                                                                                AMFM RE: srr Jan 22, 2009 02:08 PM

                                                                                                true. sorry.

                                                                                                1. re: srr
                                                                                                  Ericandblueboy RE: srr Jan 22, 2009 04:13 PM

                                                                                                  She was definitely thinking about it, and stupid enough to voice it.

                                                                                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy
                                                                                                    ccbweb RE: Ericandblueboy Jan 22, 2009 06:46 PM

                                                                                                    Why stupid? She knows the judges don't hear it and neither do her competitors.

                                                                                                    1. re: ccbweb
                                                                                                      Ericandblueboy RE: ccbweb Jan 22, 2009 08:12 PM

                                                                                                      Admitting that you don't have the balls to lead restaurant wars on TV? Smart thinking but cowardly. Better to keep that tactic to yourself.

                                                                                                      1. re: Ericandblueboy
                                                                                                        ccbweb RE: Ericandblueboy Jan 23, 2009 07:32 AM

                                                                                                        Well...she does lead a restaurant and did when they filmed. A fairly successful one in San Francisco at that. Also, she's a woman.

                                                                                                        It didn't look to me like she was saying she was scared, she was saying that history has shown that one of the leaders for the restaurant wars challenge is often the one who goes home regardless of what the individuals themselves do.

                                                                                                        Not wanting to be put in a bad position isn't the same as being a coward.

                                                                                                        I don't know her, I don't much care whether she wins or whether she was sent home. But this particular knock on her seems entirely baseless to me.

                                                                                                        1. re: ccbweb
                                                                                                          Ruth Lafler RE: ccbweb Jan 23, 2009 10:00 AM

                                                                                                          I'm not sure to what extent she "leads" Absinthe. It's a well-established restaurant that's been around since well before Jamie started cooking. She may be running the kitchen, but the restaurant, and its concept and its management were all in place long before she got there. It's a French brasserie, which means that she probably doesn't have much impact on what goes on the menu, either, aside from choosing the ingredients (but not the style of preparation).

                                                                                                          Local/seasonal/sustainable is such a cliche, especially in San Francisco, that I'm not impressed with those claims, either. Basically, she's saying she's cooking like the vast majority of chefs at mid-to-upscale American/European restaurants in the city, so for her to proclaim it her heart or her passion really means she's just part of the pack.

                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                            ccbweb RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 23, 2009 12:15 PM

                                                                                                            I actually agree with a lot of your assessment, Ruth. (Although, honestly, that cooking with local/season/sustainable is becoming a cliche is a spectacular development in our society. If we can get more and more places doing that such that it need not even be mentioned anymore, that will be even better. And I do think it's still a fair bit different outside of a few cities...that is, it's not to cliche level everywhere yet.) My point here is that Jamie has what it takes to run a restaurant kitchen. I should have confined my comment to that, perhaps. Maybe not start a restaurant from scratch, but keep good food coming out and run the staff and so on. She also changed the menu a fair bit after she took over the kitchen at Absinthe (and for the better to my tastes) though you're right, the traditional French style was firmly ingrained.

                                                                                                            1. re: ccbweb
                                                                                                              Ruth Lafler RE: ccbweb Jan 23, 2009 02:57 PM

                                                                                                              I agree that local/seasonal/sustainable is a great thing to have become a cliche. I just find it rather amusing that Jamie talks about it as if it's a BIG DEAL or something unique and special to her, while in the city she cooks in, it's simply what people have come to expect.

                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                chowser RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 23, 2009 04:26 PM

                                                                                                                I agree it is cliche. It's the Match.com equivalent of "nice and interesting," as if someone could possibly want the opposute. "I like to cook with food that's been trucked in from far away and out of season..."

                                                                                                                1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                  AMFM RE: chowser Jan 23, 2009 07:16 PM

                                                                                                                  well you say that, but (even though i like him) jeff's comments when they found out all their food was coming from the farm 2 challenges ago showed he kind of likes the wide variety at whole foods better and doesn't really care about seasonal so...

                                                                                                                  1. re: AMFM
                                                                                                                    Blueicus RE: AMFM Jan 23, 2009 09:14 PM

                                                                                                                    Unfortunately, not all places are blessed with the climate that can support agriculture for much of the year. Besides, does that mean we can't use tropical fruits up here?

                                                                                                                    1. re: AMFM
                                                                                                                      NellyNel RE: AMFM Jan 24, 2009 05:16 AM

                                                                                                                      Hi AMFM
                                                                                                                      No - that's not true - I re-watched the episode - and he just was saying that he was worried because now their menu has to be re-written because the stuff they had planned on would not be available.
                                                                                                                      So kinda different than not being happy about farm-fresh ingredients.

                                                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                        AMFM RE: NellyNel Jan 24, 2009 05:55 AM

                                                                                                                        okay - fair enough. i was a little blown away! i do know some cooks (home cooks who think they're all that) who are not conscious of such things at all when planning a menu and would be really sad if they couldn't have their exotic ingredients whenever.

                                                                                                                        and i live in va - so i try to buy local things local, but i agree that i could never buy lemons or bananas or such if EVERYTHING was local. so i'm not saying that it has to be done in exclusivity. i think that a chef who specialized in asian or another set of flavors whose usual "local" is way different from ours would be more out of their element.

                                                                                                                        and i agree that rewriting a menu on the fly (when you'd already made one you liked) would be a pain no matter how good the ingredients!

                                                                                                                        1. re: AMFM
                                                                                                                          NellyNel RE: AMFM Jan 24, 2009 06:05 AM

                                                                                                                          Yes, exactly
                                                                                                                          As a home cook, I like a bit of both really.
                                                                                                                          Freshest, local ingredients, mixed with a bit of the exotic imported ingredients.
                                                                                                                          I personally would be lost without my imported Italian meats, cheeses etc.!

                                                                                                2. re: viperlush
                                                                                                  soypower RE: viperlush Jan 22, 2009 12:12 AM

                                                                                                  Dr Chase as Jeff...Hahaha! Seriously, there are so many times when I forget his name is Jeff...

                                                                                              2. junglekitte RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 21, 2009 09:45 PM

                                                                                                Doesn't anyone think it was totally lame of Jamie to admit she purposely threw the QF? This is a competition. Step up and take responsibility and shine, not hide behind other people so you can stay another week. Blah!

                                                                                                I feel for Radhika because in her situation I might have accomodated people when I shouldn't have. She screwed herself by not insisting Jeff be front of the house! She did a terrible job and I felt sorry to see her go but I guess it was the right decision in the end. I do think Stefan and Fabio deserved to win but I wish Leah went home! She was lucky to be on the winning team or she'd be outta there! She'll be sent packing soon...there's no way I see her winning this.

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: junglekitte
                                                                                                  AMFM RE: junglekitte Jan 22, 2009 03:54 AM

                                                                                                  she didn't say she threw it. really. just that she didn't want to win. i mean her dish didn't look awful.

                                                                                                  1. re: AMFM
                                                                                                    dmd_kc RE: AMFM Jan 22, 2009 05:23 AM

                                                                                                    I think that's a perfectly good strategy in this particular challenge. In fact, I'd probably take it myself at this point in the game. The winner isn't going to get any ongoing advantage (but wow -- that selection of appliances is the biggest prize monetarily by a long shot so far, as long as Stefan has a place for it), and the stakes for the leader of the losing team are so high.

                                                                                                    1. re: dmd_kc
                                                                                                      James Cristinian RE: dmd_kc Jan 22, 2009 03:22 PM

                                                                                                      Ironic, Jamie always whined for coming in second on quick fires. It sounds like her heart and brain weren't in the dish.

                                                                                                2. applehome RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 21, 2009 10:18 PM

                                                                                                  I have to ask - has anybody eaten at Centro Vinoteca since Anne Burrell left and Leah took over? She seems to be so anemic- just a silly little girl. I cannot imagine her actually leading a kitchen effectively. Nothing's changed on the web site other than a link to the Top Chef site. The menu is the same - the piccolini that Anne started are still there. I just expect nothing bold or even necessarily done well from this "chef de no cuisine". I wonder if her boyfriend's kicking her butt tonight.

                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: applehome
                                                                                                    AMFM RE: applehome Jan 22, 2009 03:52 AM

                                                                                                    i heard she and hosea are still dating.

                                                                                                    1. re: AMFM
                                                                                                      ChefJune RE: AMFM Jan 22, 2009 06:28 AM

                                                                                                      <i heard she and hosea are still dating.> Really? Has he moved to New York? Otherwise 2 chefs one in New York, the other in Boulder, CO certainly doesn't make for much personal contact.

                                                                                                      1. re: ChefJune
                                                                                                        LindaWhit RE: ChefJune Jan 22, 2009 06:48 AM

                                                                                                        I had noted the same thing upthread that they were dating - I know I read it somewhere - TV Guide (yes, I still get that <g>) or People Magazine at my hairdresser's. Just a brief blurb.

                                                                                                      2. re: AMFM
                                                                                                        melly RE: AMFM Jan 22, 2009 12:51 PM

                                                                                                        I am sure their significant others (past tense I am sure) are enjoying Top Chef. Not. It's no wonder they are still dating.

                                                                                                    2. dave_c RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 21, 2009 10:35 PM

                                                                                                      I have to call BS on the judges on this one... The food in the winning restaurant was terrible up to the dessert while the losing restaurant had good food except for the dessert!

                                                                                                      For me, I'm willing to tolerate a poor FOH for good food, but will not put up with a restaurant with crappy food no matter how nicely the host smiles.

                                                                                                      Also, Leah and Radhika were annoying me to no end. I can't stand the woes with me routine.

                                                                                                      It was obvious Radhika would be terrible in front. She's quiet, passive and an introvert. Wrong qualities for someone that has to deal with people.

                                                                                                      I believe they made the right decision in eliminating Radhika. She had the greatest responsibility, but she passed that to kitchen to Jaime and hid in the kitchen instead of out in the FOH.

                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: dave_c
                                                                                                        Ruth Lafler RE: dave_c Jan 21, 2009 10:53 PM

                                                                                                        Actually, they really liked the short ribs from the winning team, too.

                                                                                                        Both Leah and Radhika were the weakest restaurant wars team leaders ever on Top Chef, and they both deserved to lose. But I think Radhika was the best choice: she was supposed to lead her team, and she didn't. At all. She didn't make any decisions, she didn't do any cooking (even though Fabio's amuse wasn't good, he did cook something), she didn't train her waitstaff and she did a lousy job of hostessing. She didn't do anything she was supposed to do, and what she did do, she did badly. That said, I'm past through with Leah -- what a weak, whiny little baby! Hopefully she'll be gone from my TV soon.

                                                                                                        I don't think its bullshit that different challenges have different focuses and are judged by different criteria. The point of restaurant wars is to run a whole restaurant, not just to cook, and so it's judged on more than just cooking. If it were just cooking, then why go to the motions of setting up a restaurant? They've said repeatedly over the seasons that the job of a chef is not just to cook, but to be a leader, and some challenges are designed to include leadership as a factor, although not the only factor.

                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                          Blueicus RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 22, 2009 12:06 AM

                                                                                                          But I still think it's so stupid to "reward" the winners of the quickfires with that sort of responsibility, they're screwed if they try to take the leadership role and they're screwed if they don't and are accused of hanging back to watch the ship sink.

                                                                                                          1. re: Blueicus
                                                                                                            fame da lupo RE: Blueicus Jan 22, 2009 04:55 AM

                                                                                                            Actually, those who've "hung back" have not been kicked off. Think of last week w/ Leah and Hosea, who survived while Ariane got the boot. Taking responsibility in this show seems to be the worst thing you could do for your longevity.

                                                                                                      2. tastyjon RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 21, 2009 10:54 PM

                                                                                                        I like Radhika - a good person with some good skills. That said, it's probably a good thing she didn't win this round. Clearly she needs more experience in other aspects of the biz, be it front of house or simply leadership in a manager/owner position. I hope she learns and keeps ascending. The others on the block will certainly stay there and also soon be packing.

                                                                                                        It's getting to the point where they want a complete package, and it seems from this episode that the judges, if given the option, would have sent home three, if they had the choice. One might suppose that the other two will get chopped soon, unless they develop some special vision/talent.

                                                                                                        1. Phaedrus RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 22, 2009 03:51 AM

                                                                                                          The quote is definitely a candidate for quote of the season. Kind of like the culinary boner line from last season.

                                                                                                          I found it interesting that the two people possessing the least amount of leadership skills of the bunch won the QF to be leaders. If I were a conspiracy theorist I would say this was a rigged up result.

                                                                                                          I found Jamies comment about Jeff being unfocused ringing very true and very perspicacious.

                                                                                                          I hate Stefan, probably would not enjoy his company in any circumstance, but he does put out great dishes.

                                                                                                          One thought I kept having is how much I miss Eugene, not so much for his culinary prowess but for his plating and willingness to go for it. The dishes looked nice and were probably delicious, but they are all done the same traditional way. Granted Eugene probably would have screwed it up somehow but he would have gone down in a blaze of glory.

                                                                                                          I felt bad for Carla, although she could have added fuel to the flame when I saw the bit about Radika not making decisions with the dessert, and the issue came up in the editing, she really did not throw Radika under the bus. Of course, Radika was residing there already.

                                                                                                          I thought it was Scallop Girl doing the scallops too.

                                                                                                          So, anyone figure out how Jeff does the guessing game?

                                                                                                          28 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                            blackoak RE: Phaedrus Jan 22, 2009 08:03 AM

                                                                                                            This is just a completely uninformed guess but could Jeff be looking at the reflection off his watch face? I missed part of that segment so I don't know that he was even wearing a watch or wrist band of any kind.

                                                                                                            1. re: blackoak
                                                                                                              dave_c RE: blackoak Jan 22, 2009 08:11 AM

                                                                                                              I agree... the watch face is the key.

                                                                                                            2. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                              LindaWhit RE: Phaedrus Jan 22, 2009 08:11 AM

                                                                                                              What is the guessing game? I think I might have been out of the room when that happened?

                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                dave_c RE: LindaWhit Jan 22, 2009 10:16 AM

                                                                                                                When the judges were making their decision, there was a cut to the stew room.

                                                                                                                The guessing game was Jeff's magic/esp trick.
                                                                                                                9 items were arranged in a 3 by 3 grid.
                                                                                                                One chef would pick an item while Jeff faced the wall hiding his face in his arm (hide and seek anyone?)
                                                                                                                Jeff would turn around and pick-up the item the correct item.... much fun had by all.

                                                                                                                lol! It's a pretty cool trick. I think it freaked Stefan out!

                                                                                                                1. re: dave_c
                                                                                                                  LindaWhit RE: dave_c Jan 22, 2009 10:41 AM

                                                                                                                  Oh I'm sorry I missed that! It sounds fun.

                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                    momjamin RE: LindaWhit Jan 22, 2009 02:43 PM

                                                                                                                    The items arranged in a 3x3 grid were cans of Diet Dr Pepper ;-)

                                                                                                                    And it was one of those weird short interstitials tucked in the commercial breaks.

                                                                                                                    1. re: momjamin
                                                                                                                      LindaWhit RE: momjamin Jan 22, 2009 03:46 PM

                                                                                                                      They were ALL Diet Dr. Pepper? :-/ So I guess it didn't matter which one he picked up.

                                                                                                                      And I'm not liking those non-commercial confessionals. They don't add much to the show (other than to show that Hosea and Leah are thinking with a different brain).

                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                        dave_c RE: LindaWhit Jan 22, 2009 04:38 PM

                                                                                                                        Jeff did the trick twice... The first time was with wadded balls of paper and the second time was with DDP cans. Jeff's trick was to pick the same can or ball that the "mark" picked.

                                                                                                                        Interesting that there was little commercial segment with Howie and Stephanie using Diet DP in a dessert recipe. I, also, noticed that Stephanie only tried the whipped cream. I thought that was funny... Pretend you like it and eat the safe part of the dessert.

                                                                                                                        1. re: dave_c
                                                                                                                          LindaWhit RE: dave_c Jan 23, 2009 05:30 AM

                                                                                                                          Ahhh, thanks. Would be interesting to know how he figured it out.

                                                                                                                          And Stephanie seems to have been roped into these commercials (or perhaps it's part of her contract for having won TC4) - first one with Betty, now Howie. Yikes.

                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                            Phaedrus RE: LindaWhit Jan 23, 2009 05:40 AM

                                                                                                                            If you can call getting a paycheck "roped". Of course, she still had to eat the stuff. I wonder how much sweat Howie put into the cherries jubilee.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                              LindaWhit RE: Phaedrus Jan 23, 2009 06:00 AM

                                                                                                                              Do we *know* she's getting paid for these commercials separately from her $100K winnings? And you HAD to remind me of Sweaty Howie? :-P

                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                Phaedrus RE: LindaWhit Jan 23, 2009 06:45 AM

                                                                                                                                "Is not sexy, is ANIMAL!"

                                                                                                                                Bronson Pinchot in Beverly Hills Cop.

                                                                                                                                And yes, I think she is being paid outside of the TC. I don't think DDP was a sponsor last season.

                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                  dave_c RE: LindaWhit Jan 23, 2009 06:48 AM

                                                                                                                                  Sweaty Howie... lol!

                                                                                                                                  At least he created a balanced dish with sweet, tart and salty.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: dave_c
                                                                                                                                    LindaWhit RE: dave_c Jan 23, 2009 07:01 AM

                                                                                                                                    At least he created a balanced dish with sweet, tart and salty.

                                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                LindaWhit RE: LindaWhit Jan 23, 2009 10:25 AM

                                                                                                                                Just saw a post on TWoP that seems to explain this little game Jeff played - does anyone have it TiVO'd to see if this is correct? If so, pretty slick trick they pulled off. ;-)

                                                                                                                                "I know how the "Jeff has magical powers" game works. Stefan was his accomplice. If you freeze frame at the end when he's picking up the cup in the middle, you can see that over where Stefan was sitting, his drink is in the middle of the napkin. The square that was touched was also the center square. Stefan's drink was in a different place before. The trick is that your accomplice moves their drink to the area of the napkin that corresponds with the square the person touched as casually as possible so as not to be noticed and acts just as dumbfounded as everyone else that they knew which square the person picked. It's a fun trick at parties. :)"

                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                  dave_c RE: LindaWhit Jan 23, 2009 11:56 AM

                                                                                                                                  I need to watch the trick again... my first inclination was the watch face. Probably the movie, "Doubt" is still in my mind... lol.

                                                                                                                                  The idea that Jeff had a confederate in the game crossed my mind, but it would require some advanced planning so I kind of dismissed the use of a plant.

                                                                                                                                  Overall, a very cool party trick.

                                                                                                                                  However, if Jeff wins TC... he probably lived a very righteous life or made a "deal". lol

                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                    chowser RE: LindaWhit Jan 23, 2009 12:07 PM

                                                                                                                                    Oh, that's an old game. I forgot about it when I was watching. Another similar game is to pick a person in the room with the "psychic" out, then the accomplice sits the same way as the person chosen. It's fun to see people try to figure it out.

                                                                                                                                2. re: dave_c
                                                                                                                                  blackoak RE: dave_c Jan 23, 2009 06:10 AM

                                                                                                                                  I know this is a leap but Jeff messing with Stefan and the others, apparantly tricking them with his guessing game, coupled with the quickfire conch dish he prepared (last episode? Hung was the almost silent judge during the segment.), is now making me think that he is a much stronger contestant than he is letting on. I think Jeff is holding back a lot, really playing the game so others are eliminated before he puts himself in a higher risk position.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: blackoak
                                                                                                                                    LindaWhit RE: blackoak Jan 23, 2009 06:34 AM

                                                                                                                                    Interesting premise. According to Wikipedia's Progress chart, he's only been in the "Low" section once, but has had 3 Highs and the rest are all "In" (meaning he was in a winning or losing pair/team challenge but wasn't chosen as the best/worst).


                                                                                                                                    But I'm wondering, despite the judges saying they do NOT take into account past performances, they actually do when it gets closer to the finals. Which could be detrimental to Jeff if compared to Stefan's 3 wins, 2 Highs, and the rest "In".

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                      Phaedrus RE: LindaWhit Jan 23, 2009 06:46 AM

                                                                                                                                      My claim is that no matter how much they try, they have to, consciously or unconsciously, take into account past performances.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                                        gastrotect RE: Phaedrus Jan 23, 2009 06:55 AM

                                                                                                                                        Blaise last season is actually a perfect example of that. I got the feeling that his final meal wasn't all that bad, but it was Blaise. The judges knew what he was capable of and they expected a great deal more than what they got. I think you are right. There is simply no way, after dealing with these chefs for weeks, that the judges don't have biases. If Carla were to come out next week and cook an out of this world entree, the judges would be floored. More than they would be if Stefan did the exact same thing.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: gastrotect
                                                                                                                                          roxlet RE: gastrotect Jan 23, 2009 07:22 AM

                                                                                                                                          Could anyone figure out anything about next week's challenge -- aside from the fact that past chefs return? Is it a group challenge again, or are the chefs facing off individually against the returning chefs?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                            LindaWhit RE: roxlet Jan 23, 2009 07:32 AM

                                                                                                                                            TV Guide Online says "The Super Bowl is saluted when the foodies go the extra yard in a football-themed culinary cookoff against former series players, including Season 4's Andrew and Spike, and Season 3's Camille and Season 2's Josie. Chef Scott Conant is the guest judge."

                                                                                                                                            So I'm guessing a group challenge?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                              Phaedrus RE: LindaWhit Jan 23, 2009 09:23 AM

                                                                                                                                              That explains the chef's shirt with names across the back and numbers.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit RE: Phaedrus Jan 23, 2009 09:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                Had forgotten about that. Good catch.

                                                                                                                                                I'm thinking they're scraping the bottom of the barrel with Josie and Camille as part of the "All Stars". Camille was aufed 4th in her season, and Josie was 5th one outta there. At least Andrew and Spike were 10th and 12th.

                                                                                                                                                Wonder who else will be part of the "All Stars" or if it's just those four.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                              gastrotect RE: roxlet Jan 23, 2009 07:33 AM

                                                                                                                                              It seems it's an NFL related face-off. Though I could not gather why or to what end. It could be a charity function or a celebration for the Superbowl. But it did seem that this season was facing off against a sort of non-winners All-Star team from past seasons. It seems group oriented, but hard to tell.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: gastrotect
                                                                                                                                                roxlet RE: gastrotect Jan 23, 2009 07:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                I personally will be disappointed if it is group-oriented. It seems that the focus has been groups for the last few weeks and I'd rather see the chefs operating individually.

                                                                                                                            2. re: dave_c
                                                                                                                              a_and_w RE: dave_c Jan 23, 2009 02:06 PM

                                                                                                                              When I watched again on DVR, it looked like Jeff was watching them in the reflection of his giant watch face.

                                                                                                                        2. roxlet RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 22, 2009 04:28 AM

                                                                                                                          I felt that Radhika seemed so completely disfunctional that it seemed as if she had some sort of mental disability. The shots of her in the kitchen idly moving the slips around were bizarre. Carla really had a terrible night, but she certainly wasn't helped by Radhika's lack of leadership and strange indifference. I also appreciated that Carla didn't throw Radhika under the bus. I know that she was just vamping with all that talk about sending smiles and happiness to the diners. That was actually kind of clever, IMO, even though Tom thought it was strange. But Fabio. Ah, Fabio. What a hoot. Without him and Carla, TC would be much less interesting!

                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                            momjamin RE: roxlet Jan 22, 2009 05:03 AM

                                                                                                                            I got the feeling Radhika was just exhausted, and this was the night she really did need to go home and sleep for 14 hours (I think she said something to that effect). When I've pulled late nights + hard work -- sometimes I'd be running on adrenalin being hyper productive, sometimes I was a walking zombie. Radhika, like most of these chefs, has been inconsistent -- sometimes very interesting-sounding and well-received food -- but when she's off, she's always seemed low-key, passive, quiet...just dog tired...like spending an hour shucking corn. Tom pointed out that she didn't seem to have the stamina for the competition....

                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                              shallots RE: roxlet Jan 22, 2009 08:03 AM

                                                                                                                              Carla may have hurt her long term prospects last night. Until then, I don't think Tom saw her as borderline flakey (except as a maker of flakey pastry). Last night was an eye opener in terms of her personality.
                                                                                                                              After last night, he wouldn't hire her.
                                                                                                                              Nor would the guest judge.

                                                                                                                            2. Withnail42 RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 22, 2009 04:42 AM

                                                                                                                              I think it's BS that Radhicka went home. True she didn't run the front of the house well. Btu as Tom usually something along the lines of this isn't 'Top Front of House'. What happened to it's supposed to be all about the food? The person who everyone agrees cooked the worse dish gets to stay?

                                                                                                                              And I am sick of the whole Leah Hossea drama. It is getting dangerously close to season two territory...and we all no hoe well that turned out.

                                                                                                                              16 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                                fame da lupo RE: Withnail42 Jan 22, 2009 04:58 AM

                                                                                                                                Agreed. It bothers me that someone who can cook (of which there are few on this season's TC) got the boot. I thought Carla should have been the one to go.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                                  AMFM RE: Withnail42 Jan 22, 2009 05:14 AM

                                                                                                                                  i would normally agree except that it was HER restaurant. it's like when tre (who could cook) went home because his restaurant failed.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: AMFM
                                                                                                                                    Withnail42 RE: AMFM Jan 22, 2009 05:29 AM

                                                                                                                                    True is was hers because it was the 'prize' for winning the QF. She didn't want or ask to run it. She got thrown off for not being able to do something she was not trained for nor had practiced for. Might as well asked her to perform dentistry.

                                                                                                                                    As for Tre he was cooking the night he got sent home. He was not running the front of the house.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                                      AMFM RE: Withnail42 Jan 22, 2009 05:47 AM

                                                                                                                                      but it happened that way last year too. jamie knew it was coming. even in the quickfire description it seemed obvious they were "pitching" to win a restaurant. she could have said, "you know. i don't have that type of skills but i am a great chef du cuisine. jeff you do this. carla this and jamie this and then let it run. but she didn't want to pick food or anything. i actually think she was my favorite and i definitely wanted to eat her food - but she blew this one.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                                    kahudson RE: Withnail42 Jan 22, 2009 06:07 AM

                                                                                                                                    Hi, everyone. I would have been fine with Radika, Carla or Leah going home even though Carla and Radika were my favorites going in--the first for her personality and the second for her food most of the time. Radika seemed to set herself up for failure. From what we saw, she didn't plan the menu, didn't direct the chefs, didn't prep and didn't cook anything. The only thing she gave the judges to evaluate was her apparently lousy front of the house performance. As mentioned upthread she made the wrong decisions in team selection. EITHER Jamie or Jeff would have been competent executive chefs, Carla must have seemed like a lock for dessert. She needed to pick a third person for the front of the house. If the competition really is all about the food, she needed to be more directly in charge of it--in the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                    I was disappointed that Carla didn't take more responsibility for improving the cake before she baked it. She asked Radika to taste it and then complained in the confessional that Radika didn't provide her with feedback. Yet, Carla knew something was wrong with it at the time. She should have reworked it then regardless of Radika's assurances. I'm not a chef or a cook, mostly a baker. However, when I start asking people if the batter tastes OK, it's because I already know that it doesn't. Maybe she tried too hard for a spice infusion that she wasn't familiar with.

                                                                                                                                    Count me in as tired of the Leah-Hosea drama. 73% of the respondents to the top chef question were too. Hopefully, this is a lesson for the producers in future seasons.


                                                                                                                                    1. re: kahudson
                                                                                                                                      lisavf RE: kahudson Jan 22, 2009 06:48 AM

                                                                                                                                      "Count me in as tired of the Leah-Hosea drama. 73% of the respondents to the top chef question were too. Hopefully, this is a lesson for the producers in future seasons."

                                                                                                                                      While I'm not at all interested in the personal romantic drama either, I think it has been important to show at least some of it in order to put some of the things that happened in the kitchen into perspective, particularly why Ariane felt uncomfortable during last week's challenge and why the Sunset Lounge team pretty much fell apart in the kitchen this week. So I do think it helped to know the back story, but perhaps they could find a way to minimize the airtime given to such matters in the future.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: kahudson
                                                                                                                                        AMFM RE: kahudson Jan 22, 2009 07:03 AM

                                                                                                                                        carla did say she didn't know the seasonings of the middle east/east and they were going to help her tweak a recipe she did to taste appropriate. to her credit it sounds like they didn't.

                                                                                                                                        oh and i agree about knowing the background for the romantic stuff interfering in the kitchen. personal drama definitely can get in the way. but the kissing sounds were over the top!

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                                        LindaWhit RE: Withnail42 Jan 22, 2009 07:16 AM

                                                                                                                                        I think it's BS that Radhicka went home.
                                                                                                                                        Just noticed that Chef Colicchio's blog is up on Bravo - and he addresses the issues of Ariane going home last week and Radhika this week. Last paragraph on Page 1 and first couple of paragraphs on Page 2 of his blog pretty much says it all as to why it was Radihka's turn.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                                          melly RE: Withnail42 Jan 22, 2009 12:53 PM

                                                                                                                                          Radika would still be there if she had sent someone else to do "front of the house". She said it herself.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                                            coney with everything RE: Withnail42 Jan 25, 2009 04:14 AM

                                                                                                                                            ITA, withnail and fame da lupo.

                                                                                                                                            It's possible to be a chef without being a chef/owner. Not all the past chefs have run out with their winnings and opened a restaurant.

                                                                                                                                            It should be about the food. Carla should have gone. If she's a pastry chef, why were her desserts so bad?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: coney with everything
                                                                                                                                              thew RE: coney with everything Jan 25, 2009 04:17 AM

                                                                                                                                              it is possible, but this competition is geared towards the chef/owner concept, and not just cooking ability

                                                                                                                                              1. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                Blueicus RE: thew Jan 25, 2009 08:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                But 3 out of the 4 past winners weren't chef/owners, and wrt doing poorly... even the best of people can have bad days.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Blueicus
                                                                                                                                                  AMFM RE: Blueicus Jan 26, 2009 04:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                  agreed but they are now. i think the goal (don't they even say) is to use the prize money and recognition to open a restaurant - therefore to become a chef/owner.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: AMFM
                                                                                                                                                    kahudson RE: AMFM Jan 26, 2009 06:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Actually the intro refers to $100,000 to achieve their culinary dreams or something quite close to that. It definitely does not say the money is to open a restaurant. I don't think this has always been the same intro, but I noticed it this year. Frankly, without some other capital/investors, $100,000 is not nearly enough to open a high end restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kahudson
                                                                                                                                                      Phaedrus RE: kahudson Jan 26, 2009 07:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                      The 100K is to serve as seed money, they still have to go out and get interested investors. Its the same deal with Project Runway, they don't get enough for a full blown startup but they do get enough to build on, the idea is to use their entrepreneurial skills to parlay the 100K into something.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: coney with everything
                                                                                                                                                lisavf RE: coney with everything Jan 26, 2009 07:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                Actually, everybody keeps saying it, but Carla is not a pastry chef - at least not according to her intro in Ep. 1 nor her bio on bravotv.com. She is a caterer. She just made a few well-received desserts in the challenges, so she seems to have become the dessert maker by default. Which I think is unfortunate for her.

                                                                                                                                            2. thew RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 22, 2009 06:30 AM

                                                                                                                                              after reading this whole thread i have some thoughts on all this.

                                                                                                                                              while i think leah is the weakest person on the show, i understand the choice to chop radhika, Those who say this show is just about the cooking are incorrect. this show is about who can be a top chef, one who runs a restaurant, and that takes leadership. A top chef brings customers in, so they damned well better design the menu themselves, and oversee every step of the way. radikha throughout kept saying she wasn't going to take control, and that is a loss, right there, in this situation. she should be tasting and tweaking every bit of food that kitchen is producing, she should be watching the way the plates go out, and she should be running the front of the house as well, if that's the role she took for herself. Top chef is way more than cooking.
                                                                                                                                              this goes to those who dislike stephan as well. anyone who has ever seen a real top chef in their kitchen know they are controlling and a bit arrogant. see tom collichio as an example. their name is on the line, they are responsible for what comes from that kitchen and the enjoyment of their customers. that takes a great deal of spine. stephan has top chef qualities. he can cook, he can lead, he can make a choice and stick with it. That's what it takes to run a kitchen, and running a kitchen is part of the game here. that is why restaurant wars is such a big deal in the cooking community. it's the challenge that tests the needed real world skills this show is about.
                                                                                                                                              and,a s was already mentioned, stephan had a problem in the kitchen, and didn't whine, he figured out how to change the game plan and make it work. he didnt serve panna cotta soup.

                                                                                                                                              radikha dropped the ball. she is a fine chef. she clearly is not a top chef.
                                                                                                                                              leah needs to kiss stephan's ass for not being sent home - though she deserved to be.
                                                                                                                                              carla can get as offended as she like's that tom scoffed at her belief that a bad dish made with love and smiles is ok, but i certainly wouldn't want someone with that belief working in my kitchen.

                                                                                                                                              17 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                Withnail42 RE: thew Jan 22, 2009 06:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                It's by no means incorrect to say that this show is just about cooking. This is after all the mantra that the judges always use when defending their decisions. There are numerous examples of this.

                                                                                                                                                As Tom would no doubt say when pressed. "This show is Top Chef , not Top restauranteur."

                                                                                                                                                It is perhaps the structure of this challenge that does not lend itself well to the judging criteria.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                                                  thew RE: Withnail42 Jan 22, 2009 07:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                  being a top chef is about more than being able to cook. that has also been said numerous times over the seasons. leadership and ability to work with others has often been judged many times.

                                                                                                                                                  the skill set for being a top chef and a line chef are not the same

                                                                                                                                                2. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit RE: thew Jan 22, 2009 06:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                  I know what you're staying about Stefan, but Stephanie from TC4 and Harold from TC1 didn't exhibit any of those arrogant qualities in their seasons - and they both were winners and Harold is successfully running his new restaurant. So arrogance is not necessary.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                    thew RE: LindaWhit Jan 22, 2009 07:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                    not a necessity, but not unusual in the restaurant world, either. running a kitchen is like running an old naval vessel. it isn't a democracy.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                      LindaWhit RE: thew Jan 22, 2009 08:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                      I don't disagree with you. But there are various ways to run a kitchen - and Harold and Stephanie have obviously proven that being an a$$hole isn't the only way.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                    tofuburrito RE: thew Jan 22, 2009 07:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                    If it's about running a restaurant why are only two people put in the FoH position for the entire season? Why doesn't everyone have to take a turn at it?
                                                                                                                                                    And why don't we have to see their skills when it comes to waiting/busing tables, washing dishes, placing orders, accounts and payroll?
                                                                                                                                                    This should be about cooking and to me the rest of the season is far less interesting with Radhika gone.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tofuburrito
                                                                                                                                                      gastrotect RE: tofuburrito Jan 22, 2009 07:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Honestly, I don't think the FOH problems killed her as much as the lack of leadership. If she was intensely involved in the menu or helping Carla the judges may have given her some slack on the service. But the fact that she did none of those things AND was terrible in FOH doomed her.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tofuburrito
                                                                                                                                                        momjamin RE: tofuburrito Jan 22, 2009 07:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                        Agree with gastrotect, plus running the restaurant includes hiring the right people for the job, not necessarily being FOH yourself, so being able to pick someone (anyone) besides herself for FOH would have worked better. People have noted that Carla or Jeff would have been way better, but even though Jamie shows attitude when she's butting heads w/Stefan or coming in second to Ariane 3 times in a row, she would have done just fine FOH.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: momjamin
                                                                                                                                                          gastrotect RE: momjamin Jan 22, 2009 07:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                          She would have been fine too. But I still think Carla would be the best. If you are keeping someone in the kitchen for their desserts, that's a wrong reason to have them in the kitchen in my opinion. Anyone one of them could pull off at least a mediocre dessert and Radhika herself won a QF for the sugarless dessert challenge. Poor decision making all episode by Radhika really. I didn't want to see her go, especially after the QF at the beginning, but she deserved it this week.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: momjamin
                                                                                                                                                            thew RE: momjamin Jan 22, 2009 08:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                            i think carla should have been FOH

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                              momjamin RE: thew Jan 22, 2009 09:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                              Oh, I think Carla should have been FOH, too -- just pointing out that any of them besides Radhika would have done better.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: tofuburrito
                                                                                                                                                            Ruth Lafler RE: tofuburrito Jan 22, 2009 09:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                            As I said above, not all the challenges have the same focus and criteria. Mostly, the challenges are about the food. But some of them are expressly about the whole package of being a "Top Chef" and restaurant wars is one of them. I don't see that as being inconsistent. I see that as one week giving a math test and one week giving a spelling test to determine who is going to be valedictorian. Or to put it another way, it isn't "Top Cook" it's "Top Chef" and as they've pointed out many times, the word "chef" comes from the same root as "chief." In many kitchens the executive chef doesn't even do much cooking -- s/he works with the chef de cuisine, the sous chef, etc. to develop the dishes and then mostly supervises. How often do you think Colicchio actually cooks in his restaurants? Even if he cooked every night (which he isn't, or he couldn't be doing Top Chef), he can't be cooking in all of them!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                              tofuburrito RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 22, 2009 09:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                              I agree, but Radhika and Fabio were judged on an aspect of the competition that none of the others will be.
                                                                                                                                                              Not saying goodbye to the judges just doesn't seem like that big of a deal to me.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tofuburrito
                                                                                                                                                                Ruth Lafler RE: tofuburrito Jan 22, 2009 09:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                She was judged on her decision-making, which included choosing to run the front of the house herself when she knew it wasn't something she was good at or felt comfortable with. In addition, her poor decision-making included not providing any leadership or even input to the kitchen team. If she had shown leadership in the kitchen, I don't think that doing a lousy job in the front of the house in and of itself would have caused her to be eliminated, especially when they had a legitimate reason to eliminate Carla instead.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                  brendastarlet RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 22, 2009 09:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  I thought it was perfectly justified to auf Radhika. The challenge wasn't Cooking Wars; it was Restaurant Wars. As the team leader (a position other chefs have gotten to play in different challenges) she knew that she would be judged on the team's overall performance, including her own. I thought she was just terrible as the FOH person, where Fabio was masterful.

                                                                                                                                                                  Carla deserved to go home on cooking alone, but she was only an element of the team, not its leader. She got a pass also because I think they want her in the finals. Not fair based on a cooking performance, but this is TV, after all.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                    tofuburrito RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 22, 2009 09:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    I think if you look at her team's menu it was clearly her vision that set the tone. She also was responsible for the Spice Road concept, which seemed to be well received. I don't recall any feedback on the decor so I think we can assume it was at least acceptable. So she wasn't a total failure even if she wasn't Ms. Congeniality.
                                                                                                                                                                    Nonetheless, I don't have a problem with her being eliminated, I just don't like that she was eliminated based on something only she and Fabio had to do during this entire competition. Every chef has their strengths and weaknesses and unfortunately for Radhika, schmoozing isn't her strength. I'm just disappointed because I wanted to see her cook more.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tofuburrito
                                                                                                                                                                      Ruth Lafler RE: tofuburrito Jan 22, 2009 10:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      Sort of. During the planning session, it was actually Jamie who said they should stick to the theme that won Radhika the quickfire -- she seemed unwilling even to make that decision!

                                                                                                                                                                      I agree that I'd love to see more of (and try) her cooking, but as a competitor and a "Top Chef" she's really not up to snuff.

                                                                                                                                                          3. g
                                                                                                                                                            gastrotect RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 22, 2009 07:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                            That was actually quite prophetic on his part wasn't it? They had one decent dish and great desserts, but they served sub-par food otherwise including uncooked fish. And Fabio basically put them over the top. Had the service been just OK or worse, Sunset Lounge is the losing team.

                                                                                                                                                            1. g
                                                                                                                                                              gastrotect RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 22, 2009 08:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                              Quick note. Did anyone else read the interview with Stefan on the TC website?! Happy Endings! That is such a better restaurant name than Sunset Lounge. Risque perhaps, but way more fun.

                                                                                                                                                              52 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gastrotect
                                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit RE: gastrotect Jan 22, 2009 08:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                Haven't read Stefan's interview, but just finished the interview with Radhika...she calls out Chef Tom on how he always mispronounced her name, and said "listen to how Padma says it, Tom". Wow.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                  Ruth Lafler RE: LindaWhit Jan 22, 2009 09:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  Well, it must be annoying. It bugs the hell out of me the way he pronounces "Swiss chard" (swish-shard? The hell?) so it must be twice as annoying to have him mispronounce your name, especially when someone right next to him is demonstrating repeatedly how to pronounce it correctly. It's kind of rude, in fact, like he can't be bothered.

                                                                                                                                                                  We could actually have a whole thread about annoying mispronounciations on Top Chef. In addition to "Swiss chard" I'd like to add "mascarpone"!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                    lisavf RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 22, 2009 09:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    People always mispronounce my last name, and it happened quite a lot when I used to do a bit of public speaking. One day I was complaining about it, and a very good friend and mentor said to me, don't worry that they're mispronouncing your name; just be glad that they're saying your name at all. In other words, you're in the game, so get over it. Everyone knows who you are.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lisavf
                                                                                                                                                                      brendastarlet RE: lisavf Jan 22, 2009 09:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      Swiss chard (with an "sh-ard") is the way it is pronounced in France. Like chalet. Martha Stewart, on the other hand, mispronounces "herbs" with a hard "h." It's a French word, Martha.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: brendastarlet
                                                                                                                                                                        Ruth Lafler RE: brendastarlet Jan 22, 2009 10:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        Is Swiss chard French? If not, is there some reason it should be pronounced the way it is in France? Or is it just an affectation? Last time I complained about the pronounciation of "mascarpone" people said, well that's the way people say it in Italian communities in the US. Either you pronounce words the way they're pronounced in the US or you pronounce them the way they're pronounced in Europe, but please don't do both!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                          NellyNel RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 23, 2009 08:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          When I moved to England - and pronounced "herb" - "erb" - my English husband nearly fell off the floor laughing.
                                                                                                                                                                          He contendeds that the English invented the language and a fellow named Herb is not called "Erb"!
                                                                                                                                                                          So I think maybe he is right!
                                                                                                                                                                          I still felt funny saying "HERB"!!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                            LindaWhit RE: NellyNel Jan 23, 2009 08:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            Ahhh, yes - but the word "herb" was borrowed by the English from the French!


                                                                                                                                                                            So you could contend that it's still a French word and that the English just changed it. :-) The Usage Notes midway through the above provides some interesting facts.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                              Caitlin McGrath RE: LindaWhit Jan 23, 2009 10:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for that, Linda. The usage notes are indeed interesting, though it's news to me that herbaceous, herbicide, and herbivore are "more often pronounced with the h" in American English!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit RE: Caitlin McGrath Jan 23, 2009 11:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                That's the one part that didn't make sense to me, either.

                                                                                                                                                                                Either way - I think just say the word the way you're used to saying it if that's what's comfortable for you.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                            Old Spice RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 25, 2009 11:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            If one wanted to request Swiss chard in French, I do believe one would ask for "blettes." Or so I learned at L'Alliance Francaise in NYC. Perhaps a French person speaking English would pronounce the green leafy vegetable "shard?"

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Old Spice
                                                                                                                                                                              ChefJune RE: Old Spice Jan 26, 2009 06:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, the French word for Swiss Chard is "Blettes."

                                                                                                                                                                              When my French friends are speaking English, they call it "Shar."

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ChefJune
                                                                                                                                                                                Ruth Lafler RE: ChefJune Jan 26, 2009 08:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                I other words, there's no legitimate reason for an American to pronounce it "shar" -- it's just imitating the way a French person says an English word.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                  Nettie RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 26, 2009 02:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Sort of like Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau asking for a "rrrrrroom".

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Nettie
                                                                                                                                                                                    applehome RE: Nettie Jan 26, 2009 03:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh! a Zimmer!

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                    AMFM RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 26, 2009 03:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    but that's the way my mom says it because it was likely how she heard it so it's how i grew up saying it. it's not like i haven't heard both, but it's not like people are trying to be pretentious all the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AMFM
                                                                                                                                                                                      NellyNel RE: AMFM Jan 27, 2009 05:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes AMFM - I totally agree!
                                                                                                                                                                                      I have always said "Swiss SHard"
                                                                                                                                                                                      That's just how I've always heard it......I never knew it would be such a controversey!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                        AMFM RE: NellyNel Jan 27, 2009 06:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        i think the moral is not to presume anyone is being pretentious.

                                                                                                                                                                                        to me many things pronounced likely correctly sound pretentious because i grew up super americanized irish catholic in the midwest. NO ONE said mas-car-po-ne with the last syllable because no one was really that italian where i grew up. or brusKetta. they sound weird to me. but i don't think they're wrong. in fact i've grown to learn they're correct. but that doesn't mean they don't sound weird still. :)
                                                                                                                                                                                        so just write me off as a different cultural background - not as dumb or as pretentious! at least until you really know me. :) :) :)

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: AMFM
                                                                                                                                                                                          Ruth Lafler RE: AMFM Jan 27, 2009 10:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Ok. But you know, I have higher standards for people who are actually in a particular industry to pronounce the terminology of their industry correctly. Otherwise, they just perpetuate the errors when people who assume their pronounciation is authoritative copy them. Thus, I expect Tom and Jamie (and other American-born chefs) to pronounce "mascarpone" and "bruschetta" and "Swiss chard" correctly. I certainly don't expect them to go around spouting faux French!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                            AMFM RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 27, 2009 04:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            fair enough - at least you'd think ones who'd been to the CIA or other schools.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: brendastarlet
                                                                                                                                                                              Caitlin McGrath RE: brendastarlet Jan 22, 2009 02:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              Herbs is also an English word. Martha's affectation is pronouncing it as the British do, with a hard "h".

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit RE: Caitlin McGrath Jan 22, 2009 04:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                But is Martha British? No, she was born in Jersey City, NJ, with a Polish ethnicity background.

                                                                                                                                                                                The usual pronunciation is "erbs" with a silent H, is it not? It seem to be an affectation by Martha Stewart to sound perhaps a bit higher class by using a British pronunciation than perhaps she feels she is? Don't know. But I'd *never* heard the pronunciation of that word in the U.S. with a hard "h" before I'd heard a Britishwoman use it (a former SIL). And then Martha used it. Granted, I'd not traveled a lot, but I did live very near NYC and traveled into the city with my parents quite often growing up.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                  Caitlin McGrath RE: LindaWhit Jan 22, 2009 05:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  As I stated, IMO, yes, it's an affectation of hers to use the Brit pronunciation. I'm willing to bet the way she speaks in general - accent, intonation, pronu8nciation - ain't what she grew up with!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                                    ChinoWayne RE: Caitlin McGrath Jan 22, 2009 05:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Youse think so?

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                    Phaedrus RE: LindaWhit Jan 23, 2009 05:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    This is bringing back bad memories of an '80's commercial. Something to do with pronouncing Herbal or erbal. The punchline was that the guys' name is Herb, but they pronounced it erb.


                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                                                                                      LindaWhit RE: Phaedrus Jan 23, 2009 06:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      LOL! I remember that one, although I can't remember what it was for.

                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                              LindaWhit RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 22, 2009 09:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              I agree on the "he can't be bothered" statement.

                                                                                                                                                                              But for Swiss chard, I think I probably pronounce it in between your two pronunciations. If I'm saying "chard" by itself, I use the hard "ch" sound, but if I'm saying "Swiss chard" I blend it a bit more and use something closer to the softer "sh" sound.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                MartinDC RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 22, 2009 01:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Re: Mispronouncing ... Am I the only one who kept hearing an "N" in restaurateur in last night's show?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MartinDC
                                                                                                                                                                                  thew RE: MartinDC Jan 22, 2009 01:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  it is accepted in english with the "n" now

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                                                    Caitlin McGrath RE: thew Jan 22, 2009 02:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Accepted maybe, but not preferred or correct...and ironic that those who aspire to be restaurateurs don't know the correct word.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                                      thew RE: Caitlin McGrath Jan 22, 2009 03:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      words change over time. this is a french word becoming anglisized. accepted, in this case, is correct. it appears in dictionaries, and not just as a variant.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                                                        Caitlin McGrath RE: thew Jan 23, 2009 01:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        I'll take your word for it that "restauranteur" appears in dictionaries, though I don't know which ones (not in American Heritage or Merriam-Webster, two of the most respected, even as an alternate), and I doubt any respectable editor would allow it. Sure, it's a French word (so is "restaurant"), but most of the job titles in restaurant kitchens are French terms, and getting them correct doesn't seem to be a problem for people in the industry. No reason they can't figure out the proper pronunciation, or be expected to.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit RE: Caitlin McGrath Jan 23, 2009 02:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'll take your word for it that "restauranteur" appears in dictionaries, though I don't know which ones (not in American Heritage or Merriam-Webster, two of the most respected, even as an alternate)
                                                                                                                                                                                          But it does in both, at least online at both dictionaries. Both as variants; perhaps it depends on the edition of your dictionaries.

                                                                                                                                                                                          And I'll be honest - I feel I'm very well read and well spoken, and I never knew the word as "restaurateur". I always think of it with the "n" in the word. I actually find it very awkward to say it without the "n".

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                            Ruth Lafler RE: LindaWhit Jan 23, 2009 03:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            *respectable editor here* Nope, not acceptable. I will say, though, that I looked it up in my Webster's 9th (the "official" dictionary used by editors) and it does include "restauranteur" as a variation. To me, it seems a little silly to keep part of the word French (-teur) and change the rest of it to be more English. "Restaurantor" anyone?

                                                                                                                                                                                            As far as I'm concerned, though "everyone does it" doesn't make it right. I would have thought the fact that the internet works better if people use correct spelling (search engines, etc.) would make people want to spell things correctly, but it doesn't seem to.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                              LindaWhit RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 23, 2009 03:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Hey, I'm *all* for correct spelling and grammar. (My mother and both grandmothers were both English/speech teachers and that is one of my job functions - final proofreader for company materials.) I was just saying to Caitlyn that the variant is noted online, and that I personally had never seen it written or heard the word used without the "n" letter/sound - that I can recall.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                Caitlin McGrath RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 23, 2009 03:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you, Ruth, from one ed. to another. I apologize on the M-W - I looked again (in the 11th) and it's indeed there as the variant, i.e. not preferred spelling. I agree with your logic re: the anglicizing of the word (and others like it).

                                                                                                                                                                                                Linda, try saying it with the 'n', but very fast. It should sound more or less like the n-less version is meant to. Then gradually slow it down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit RE: Caitlin McGrath Jan 24, 2009 08:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Linda, try saying it with the 'n', but very fast. It should sound more or less like the n-less version is meant to. Then gradually slow it down.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  LOL! That's exactly what I tried last night when I was posting, but (and of course this had NOTHING to do with the glass/two of wine with dinner, mind you!), my tongue just got twisted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I will continue to practice, practice, practice. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                    Nettie RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 23, 2009 08:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Can I also add bruschetta, in particular the way Jamie last week talked about making "bru-shetta"? I wonder that Fabio didn't have a fit.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Nettie
                                                                                                                                                                                      roxlet RE: Nettie Jan 23, 2009 10:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      I caught that too!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Nettie
                                                                                                                                                                                        gastrotect RE: Nettie Jan 23, 2009 11:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        That is so common place that I wonder if it stems from a Southern Italian accent Americanized. Sort of like "capish".

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gastrotect
                                                                                                                                                                                          Nettie RE: gastrotect Jan 23, 2009 11:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm not an expert, but I think the southern Italian accent is more about leaving off the ending vowel--so capish is just the second person imperative form of capire (to understand): capisci (pronounced "capEESHee), with the ending vowel chopped off. I don't think that pronouncing "ch" as "sh" is an Italian thing, although there are so many regional dialects I could certainly be wrong!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Nettie
                                                                                                                                                                                            gastrotect RE: Nettie Jan 23, 2009 01:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            I know that my family says "basligo" (basleego) instead of "basilico" (basEELeeco) as an example. Very different pronunciation, but still related. The dialect seems to tend towards a slurring of the words as well as frequently not having the emphasis on certain syllables that you would expect. We are originally Sicilian though, which has even more of a dialect than simply Southern Italy.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gastrotect
                                                                                                                                                                                              Nettie RE: gastrotect Jan 23, 2009 01:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, I almost put something in my post above that if we were talking about Sicilian, all bets were off, as from what I've heard it's a very different language!

                                                                                                                                                                                              One of my books indicates that bruschetta are more specific to the Lazio/Umbria/Tuscany area.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: gastrotect
                                                                                                                                                                                            roxlet RE: gastrotect Jan 23, 2009 05:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Then it would be Brus-sket or Bru-shet (as Jaimie pronounced it).

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: gastrotect
                                                                                                                                                                                      Phaedrus RE: gastrotect Jan 22, 2009 08:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      I thought Stefan would have gone with something with "cocks". The Sunset Rooster" Or something.

                                                                                                                                                                                      A wild idea occured to me. What if Leah had made Stefan FOH. I would pay good money tio see THAT! "You VILL obey! You vill eat vhat I give you and you VILL LIKE IT!!"

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                                                                                        LindaWhit RE: Phaedrus Jan 22, 2009 09:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        ROFL on both of your points, Phaedrus! That would have been so funny, but it would never happen in this lifetime. If Jamie couldn't get Stefan to back down, there's no way in hell that mealy-mouthed Leah could do so.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                                                                                          ChinoWayne RE: Phaedrus Jan 22, 2009 12:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          For all the mocking and vilification of Stefan, he just might end up wining the title Top Chef. He knows his stuff, he is capable of turning out great food, and he has the experience and temperament necessary to be an executive chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                          When we saw last night that apparently the freezers were not functioning up to par, Stefan, based upon his real world work experience, and his level headed-ness, improvised, and pulled off what the judges thought were the best dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Sure he comes across a bit arrogant and cocky, but it is based on real world experience and well deserved self confidence, and his constant focus, always keeping his eye on the ultimate goal. He is actually the most serious chef there.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Josea, while he may be a talented cook, took his eye off the ball in terms of his cuddle bunny, he does not have the drive and commitment necessary. Jeff seems talented, but still green, he needs a few more years of experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Leah has good cooking chops, but seems to me to be someone who will always be a good foot soldier, but not a leader. Carla is the next to go home, she is in waaay over her head, cuddle bunny won't be far behind her. Fabio is a journeyman chef, and as he has exhibited throughout the series, has a lot of charisma and will go far on his engaging personality, nothing wrong with that. I could see Fabio having a lot of success as a food "celebrity".

                                                                                                                                                                                          Radhika should have gone home, totally dropped the ball on every aspect of "her restaurant" last night, and she does seem to be a one trick pony/one cuisine cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ChinoWayne
                                                                                                                                                                                            Phaedrus RE: ChinoWayne Jan 23, 2009 05:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            No one ever said he wasn't talented. We all concede the point. But his TV personality is just such a cliched caricature that its easy to hate him. Blais and Stephanie had mondo chops as chefs but they weren't jerks about it, except when it came to Lisa...

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                                                                                              ccbweb RE: Phaedrus Jan 23, 2009 07:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Raises an interesting question about how viewers choose who they pull for on Top Chef (if they choose someone they want to win, that is). My gauge has always been "whose food would I want to eat in a restaurant?" The person's personality on the show itself doesn't bother me so much if the food looks great and the judges report it to taste good. I think I must be making allowances for the show and how it's edited and the fact that the contestants are being presented as characters instead of entirely as their own selves.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I write that because while I don't worry much about personality in thinking X should win the challenge, I do take personality into account when making my dining choices in reality.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ccbweb
                                                                                                                                                                                                ChinoWayne RE: ccbweb Jan 24, 2009 12:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                As a restaurant patron I don't care who is in the kitchen, or what the personality is, what their training is, what kind of leader they are, as long as the food tastes good to me, and the service is decent, I am happy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                "Top Chef" the television show is all about entertaining an audience, but more importantly to its producers, about attracting eyes and ears for their commercial sponsors. Television as theater, doing any and everything to attract viewers and create buzz. So regardless of what any of us say or think here, its all good to the show's producers, its got us tuned in and receiving the message.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Circling back around here, in my mind Stefan, with his personal traits and everything else, has been the most consistent and "executive chef-ly" of all of the contestants. He has really grown on me, and I think that possibly to a certain extent, the "personality" he is projecting, may all be a part of his amusing himself, and not taking himself or anyone else too seriously.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ChinoWayne
                                                                                                                                                                                                  gastrotect RE: ChinoWayne Jan 26, 2009 07:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  He may be putting on a bit of a show, that's true. And I it wouldn't surprise me as there have been times when he has been personable and if I remember he lent a helping hand, as did everyone else, during the refrigerator fiasco.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  However, I would keep in mind that as a patron all you may care about is good food and good service, but the quality of the food and service may be directly related to kitchen morale. I don't think it's a stretch to say that someone would be much more inclined to do their best for a boss/coworker they respect and/or get along with than for someone with a terrible personality or who is a bad leader.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gastrotect
                                                                                                                                                                                                    ChinoWayne RE: gastrotect Jan 26, 2009 11:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Point taken, but then if there was so much discord in a kitchen, that it impacts the food, I likely would not be eating there in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think we all need to realize that the producers of this program are doing their best to create caricatures of the chef-testants, all in order to get us to view and talk about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: gastrotect
                                                                                                                                                                                          lisavf RE: gastrotect Jan 22, 2009 09:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          He also ridiculed the name Sunset Lounge, but as I recall, he's the one who came up with the name, when they were riding in the vehicle. He was pretty enthusiastic about it at that time, as I recall.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3. c
                                                                                                                                                                                          cmvan RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 22, 2009 09:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Considering that Restaurant Wars happens every season, wouldn't it make sense, at least for those contestants that actually work in restaurants, to train with their own FOH person, and then work the FOH at least a couple of shifts?

                                                                                                                                                                                          Since you never know ahead of time who'll get stuck with that job on TC, it makes as much sense as memorizing several basic recipes in advance.

                                                                                                                                                                                          You know what's coming - Restaurant Wars - prep for it! No excuse for failure from either Leah or Radhika.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. g
                                                                                                                                                                                            Garris RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 22, 2009 10:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Was I the only one who looked at the menus of both teams and just wasn't that interested? Nothing edgy at all... Standard American upscale, whatever "Asian" or "Indian" twist may have been intended...

                                                                                                                                                                                            And the "Indian Spice Trade" genre is an "emerging" one? A restaurant on that exact theme opened in my city 4 years ago, only to close several months into the venture...

                                                                                                                                                                                            - Garris
                                                                                                                                                                                            Greater City Providence Urbanism Blog

                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Garris
                                                                                                                                                                                              Phaedrus RE: Garris Jan 22, 2009 10:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              I whole heartedly agree. The results of the QF challenge was incredibly boring and uninspiring. Which is why I mentioned that I missed Eugene, he may not have been able to pull it off, but he at least had guys and imagination.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Garris
                                                                                                                                                                                                Nettie RE: Garris Jan 23, 2009 08:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Didn't Stephen Starr, for all his purported acumen in opening restaurants, choose absolutely the two worst people to do it? The way that Leah fumbled through her description of her dish in the QF would not have made me believe that she would be good at running a restaurant. And how he dissed Fabio for his sandwich concept? Among the vast number of restaurant closings that I've been seeing locally over the past few months, the few that have opened and are doing very well are...sandwich/lunch places.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Nettie
                                                                                                                                                                                                  AMFM RE: Nettie Jan 23, 2009 09:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  he said on bravotv.com that fabio's was the worst food.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  but i think he picked on good food - which i actually liked. and he was the hold out for saying that sahana was the better restaurant because the FOOD was better. i liked that i know what he values.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. r
                                                                                                                                                                                                rweater RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 22, 2009 10:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't know whether this has been mentioned already, so...

                                                                                                                                                                                                Although I thought Radhika's performance was less than stellar, I don't agree wholeheartedly with giving the win to the Sunset Lounge team. The judges said that Stefan's dessert put them over the top and that desserts are important because that's the customer's final impression of the restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                But if I were a customer at a restaurant and I received an entree as poorly cooked as the cod had been, and an uninspiring amuse bouche, I can say for certain that I would skip the dessert. I don't think I would have been alone there. So, I feel like saying Stefan's dessert saved the meal is a little inaccurate, because a lot of customers wouldn't have stayed to eat it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rweater
                                                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit RE: rweater Jan 22, 2009 10:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  But the dessert wasn't the only thing they liked. Service was MUCH better in the Sunset Lounge, and they also liked Hosea's short ribs. If Fabio had screwed up service, they might have gone with the food from Sahana for the win, despite the poor service. Overall, they liked Sahana's food better, but the service and dessert were enough to lose the win.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rweater
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ruth Lafler RE: rweater Jan 22, 2009 11:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    One of the judges made the same point about not staying for dessert. However, I have to figure that if the judges got poor service, the regular diners got even worse service, which was apparently reflected in their comment cards and gave the edge to Sunset Lounge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                      tofuburrito RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 22, 2009 12:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm beginning to feel like Tom is burned out as a judge. Maybe it's the editing but when someone is sent packing and they give their "thank you for the opportunity" comments Padma smiles at them and sometimes offers a few kind words but it seems Tom just sneers at them. His attitude seems to be; your cooking sucks, you have no imagination, get the F out.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have a lot of respect for Tom and consider Think Like a Chef to be a very valuable resource but it seems like he has come to hate the job.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't think I'd want to have a beer with the current edited version of Tom. It might be better to bring in a fresh perspective for next season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tofuburrito
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hurner RE: tofuburrito Jan 22, 2009 01:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have a lot of respect for Tom as well, especially so after his heroic behavior during this inaugural week:


                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Hurner
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ruth Lafler RE: Hurner Jan 22, 2009 02:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think what he did was admirable and laudable, but I think "heroic" is going a bit too far. "Heroic" in my mind should be saved for people who actually put themselves at risk or make some kind extreme effort or sacrifice to help others; any other usage is cheapening the word.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          In addition, many states, including NY, have laws requiring that restaurant employees be familiar with first aid procedures for choking victims. I would expect a seasoned chef/restaurateur to be well versed in the procedure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                            thew RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 22, 2009 02:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            he saved someone's life. he's someone's hero.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ChefJune RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 23, 2009 11:11 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              <I think what he did was admirable and laudable, but I think "heroic" is going a bit too far. >

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Don't tell Joan Nathan that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: tofuburrito
                                                                                                                                                                                                            rjka RE: tofuburrito Jan 22, 2009 01:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I wonder if he's burned out or is it that he is disgusted, or at least not inspired by the quality of the contestants this year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rjka
                                                                                                                                                                                                              kahudson RE: rjka Jan 22, 2009 05:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think it's the latter. He's not seeing what he thinks is imaginative good food and he's not hiding his disappointment (perhaps even contempt) well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                            acervoni RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 22, 2009 12:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think that Restaurant Wars should be judged in a different way. After all, the same diners are not eating at both restaurants like the judges are doing. They shouldn't judge by losing and wining teams but by individual performance. IMO, Leah, Radhika, Housea, and Carla should have been on the chopping block and I would have sent Leah home because she served inedible food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: acervoni
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Caitlin McGrath RE: acervoni Jan 22, 2009 03:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Why Hosea? He made boring carpaccio but also mafe one of the dishes the judges preferred, the sort ribs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Withnail42 RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 22, 2009 01:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I am trying very hard to keep an open mind. It is a losing battle But I really don't like or respect this guy. Given his career path I am sure that is just what he wants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          In fact reading his earlier work, the stuff that he made his reputation as a food critic, makes me like him even less.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. j
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Janet from Richmond RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 23, 2009 05:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Stefan is growing on me. As is Fabio. Stefan was last to be chosen, but then won the damn thing. Good for him as it was cleared he earned the win. Is he arrogant? Absolutely, but he also is in a different league IMO from the rest of the contestants on nearly every culinary level.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            My guess for the final three is Stefan, Jamie and either Fabio or Jeff. I think the end is near for Carla and Leah<---thank goodness. Not sure about Hosea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. duckdown RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 23, 2009 05:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I find Leah to be incredibly annoying, can't stand her

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Stefan, Fabio, Jeff, Jamie

                                                                                                                                                                                                              those are the 4 I see

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: duckdown
                                                                                                                                                                                                                AMFM RE: duckdown Jan 23, 2009 08:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                fabio's is charming but has he cooked anything any good in awhile? since the olives he's pretty much done nothing good. at least leah (don't like her but...) has occasional bursts of genius and hosea is solid but uninspired.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. NellyNel RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 23, 2009 08:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hi there!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I am very surprised about the outcome of the RW!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I thought that neither team should have won this challenge.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                If my memory is correct - in season 2 - both teams lost..there was no winner.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                And not every single aspect of each team failed, but as a whole - there was no clear winner.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                In all the seasons of TC combined - I cannot remember a judge refusing to eat a dish.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Last night they sent back Leahs fish - it was inediblle.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                To give a "win" to that team is so unfair - and in my eyes completely wrong.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                To give them the win based on the comment cards is ridiculous considering as a previous poster pointed out - the diners are only eating at one of the restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I can't understamd why they didn't do as in season 2 - just not have a winning team - and send Leah home (as Tom said they would have if they hadn't have won!) And he said the comment cards were very close - so it wasn't even a landslide!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                And here is my personal 2 cents regarding bits and pieces:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1) I'm sorry but I do like a bit of the personal drama (Leah & Hosea)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                2) Stefan is growing on me too - I know he's arrogant, but he's funny too.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                3) Fabio is adorable
                                                                                                                                                                                                                4) I don't know why you all hate Toby so much!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                I am married to a Brit - and lived in the UK for 6 years...and let me tell you - the guy is genuine! There are soooo many English guys out there who are exactly like him...same exact dry humor...sarcastic...try hard to be clever etc...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                He's really not so bad - is he???

                                                                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit RE: NellyNel Jan 23, 2009 08:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Re: Toby - I don't mind the dry wit, but his seems particularly *forced*. It seems like the wheels are going round and round and round inside that shiny bald head trying to come up with a choice witticism that it just detracts from what he should be talking about - the food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Withnail42 RE: LindaWhit Jan 23, 2009 09:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think TY actually considers the food to be a distraction from what he feels is most important thing to talk about...himself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    All the chewing means less time for him and fortunate others to hear his voice and the wit that comes with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Phaedrus RE: LindaWhit Jan 23, 2009 09:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I went to see Kansa when I was in college, yes it has a bearing on this conversation, and they had two lead guitarist at the time, one played his solo, and it looked like he was giving birth, the solos wasn'tall that but his pain and grimace really sold everyone on what a great guitarist he is. The other guy, came on and just kicked it, no pose, no grimace, no pain, just knocked it out, face and efficient.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tobt Young reminds me of the latter when he is talkingabout the food, he does a decent job of encapsulating his feelings and talking about the taste and the preparation and how he liked it. He reminds me of the former when he comes up with his hideous metaphors. he spent all week writing and rewriting the punchline to be delivered in excruciating detail and it sucks, (ref. The Elvis line.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      AMFM RE: NellyNel Jan 23, 2009 08:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      good points on having no winner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        queencru RE: NellyNel Jan 24, 2009 07:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was surprised there was a winner as well, especially when the judges were clearly divided on which team was better. I know if I were given the choice of giving one of those restaurants a second chance, I'd go with Radikha's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        TY is awful. I've lived in the UK and typically enjoy dry humor, but TY is just so over the top with it that it loses its effect. I can take brutal criticism like what Jeffrey Steingarten typically gives, but at least JS will admit when he really likes something. I feel like TY tries to find the most ridiculous thing possible to say about each dish. Normal dry humor seems to come a bit more naturally and can be quit subtle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. LindaWhit RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 23, 2009 08:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And I just read Stephanie's blog on the Bravo TC site, and she has the BEST. EVER. description of Fabio being FOH for Restaurant Wars:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "It is of course brilliant for the Rico Suave of Italy to take the front of the house."


                                                                                                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          AMFM RE: LindaWhit Jan 23, 2009 09:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          actually richard's blog is great too. completely agreed with his analysis.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AMFM
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            yamalam RE: AMFM Jan 23, 2009 09:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My favorite blog is always Leanne's. Where is she????

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: AMFM
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LindaWhit RE: AMFM Jan 23, 2009 09:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yup. I know some people didn't like TC4, but I thought Blais was one of the most innovative but steady cheftestants they've had.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                AMFM RE: LindaWhit Jan 23, 2009 09:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                love richard!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: AMFM
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit RE: AMFM Jan 23, 2009 09:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Well, I will admit he bugged me a bit at the beginning when he was doing his MG all the time (molecular gastronomy stuff), but he settled in and didn't do quite so much in the middle and towards the end, he grew on me, because of his steadiness in the kitchen and his imaginativeness with what he made.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But I still wanted Stephanie to win. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    AMFM RE: LindaWhit Jan 23, 2009 07:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    they both (i loved stephanie too) just seemed to love their jobs and love food. that it was a pleasure to create something and even more of a pleasure that such creation could make people happy. but they were disciplined and focused and hard-working and team players about it. i don't see anyone this season with that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. yamalam RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 23, 2009 09:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Another team competition with dessert as the deciding factor. Remember Thanksgiving with the Foo Fighters, when Ariane's turkey was better but the other team won because of superior desserts?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hosea is sooo boring and uncreative. Name one dish he's cooked that has pushed the envelope.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And Stefan, this was the first time he really wowed me. His previous dishes have been solid, but not quite TC material, at least compared to Stephanie, Richard, Hung, etc from past seasons. Maybe it's because his back was against the wall, wanting to prove himself after not being chosen, and perhaps knowing the rest of his team was weak??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think Leah has reached her breaking point, and is showing her youth. She has talent, but needs more experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fabio seems all smoke, mirrors, and ravioli. Maybe there's substance under there, but I haven't seen it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Carla is a niche contestant that has been kept around or kept safe because of her dessert skills and playing nice with others, but her shortcomings will be exposed soon, I think. Though I love her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Top 3 prediction: Stefan, Jaime, Jeff

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. l
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              lizzy RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 24, 2009 10:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I just watched this episode last night, and I have a few thoughts. I laughed at Fabio's line, "Monkey ass and an empty clam shell." I also had a good laugh at Tom's wtf reaction when Carla was explaining herself at JT, so much so I had to rewind and watch it a second time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I really dislike Stefan's attitude, his comment about if he had won he would have decided everything but since he didn't it was a democracy really rubbed me the wrong way. However, I still think he is the one to beat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think this week either Radhika or Leah deserved to go home, with Leah having the slight edge. I think Radhika should have cooked something, anything. She also did a lousy job of managing any area of the restaurant. I think she was happy when Jamie took the lead, and just figured she would handle everything. Much like Radhika failed, I don't think Leah was cut out for the leadership role this week. I think undercooked fish is inexcusable. While watching this past week, I honestly thought they weren't going to declare one team a winner. Instead, they would have mingled both teams for who was on the bottom and who was on top. Stefan still would have gotten the win, but it would have been a much tougher choice because they could have chosen between Radhika and Leah, with Leah being the one to go home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                mothrpoet RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 24, 2009 01:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Have any of you seen the commercial on Food Channel where they ask various personalities what's the most wonderful (or memorable, etc.) food they have ever eaten? It's a promo for some show. When they flash through the celebrity responses, I could swear that one of the faces is Fabio. Does that mean he stays, or are my eyes deceiving me?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mothrpoet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  AMFM RE: mothrpoet Jan 24, 2009 02:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  haven't seen the ads so i have no idea. but i would think that if it IS fabio it would mean he didn't stay. my guess is for the really high up contestants they wouldn't be allowed such a contract. but if he was out early enough and food network found him charming they might want him as a personality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mothrpoet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    kmcarr RE: mothrpoet Jan 24, 2009 10:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The show was named something like "Best Meal Ever"; it was a one time show and premiered last Friday. Fabio was not on the show. I think the person you are referring to was Aaron Sanchez. Sanchez is a chef and restaurateur in New York city. He has also appeared on Food Network as cohost of "Melting Pot" and is currently one of the regular judges on the new series "Chopped" with Ted Allen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    phan1 RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 26, 2009 05:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm pretty shocked that the cod wasn't butchered correctly. She portioned the cod without any regard to where the bones were going to be? She obviously was REALLY preoccupied with something else... Hehe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      shallots RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 27, 2009 10:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LeAnne's blog is finally up and her take on RW is a hoot. Two friends of hers were among the last patrons at Radhika's restaurant and they got horrible service and some insights into Radhika.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: shallots
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LindaWhit RE: shallots Jan 27, 2009 11:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Damn, she does NOT hold back, does she? That's why I *love* her blog. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Interesting how intently pissed she was at Leah for her "I don't give a damn" attitude, especially since she's part of the casting/vetting process and took a chance on her (Leah).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And WOW on what was said to her friend by Radhika - very poor form on Rad's part.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          tofuburrito RE: LindaWhit Jan 27, 2009 12:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think she was also complimentary of Radhika and she summed it up well about her not being comfortable with competition (or something that effect).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Based solely on cooking I thought Radhika was the best of the bunch when it came to making interesting dishes. If I could have any of them cook for me she would be the clear #1 pick.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: shallots
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Phaedrus RE: shallots Jan 27, 2009 12:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ah, so now we have the wisdom of the Wang to explain a lot of things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. Brian S RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 28, 2009 07:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was shocked when Radhika got sent home. I thought she was the best of the night. If you're the "owner" of a restaurant, you get the blame for everything that goes wrong, but you should also get some of the credit for everything that goes right, and some of the dishes went very right indeed. Yes, as Toby said in his blog, fusion restaurants are ten to a block in N.Y., but I can think of very few that successfully integrate Indian spices and techniques without being completely Indian -- and several of the things on the Sahana menu did just that. I'm sure that it was Radhika who created these recipes, it's her forte. Sure, she was absent from the front of the house. Why? Because she was supervising the cooking in the kitchen. When Rocco di Spirito's Italian restaurant very publicly failed, it was because Mr di Spirito spent all of the time in the front of the house and left the executive chef in the kitchen to run things on his own -- exactly what Radhika was sent home for not doing. And of course in Mr Colicchio's first restaurant, Gramercy Tavern, his fame was worun because he rarely left the kitchen (except for quick handshaking tours), and left the front of the house to be organized by veteran restauranteur Danny Meyer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Brian S
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            tofuburrito RE: Brian S Jan 28, 2009 08:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You've said the points I've been trying to make very well. Also, no one has been able to explain to me why only two people are tested in this way. If FoH is so important why doesn't everyone have to strut their stuff with the customers? If you can't possibly succeed in the restaurant business without being able to schmooz, why isn't this particular skill a more important feature on Top Chef. Radhika was sent packing solely because she didn't do well as a hostess, every other aspect of her restaurant went well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tofuburrito
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              cabking RE: tofuburrito Jan 28, 2009 09:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Great points, Brian S and tofuburrito. In fact, the competition is what it is, but it's totally artificial with respect to a true restaurant opening and operational experience, as Jaime on the show and Richard Blais on his Bravo blog make clear. Moreover, critics (judges) typically give a restaurant time to mature a bit before evaluating them. And yes, if front of the house and leadership performance are so important, each cheftestant should be given the perilous opportunity to have a turn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Frankly, there's no real reason that this contest needs to be a one service deal. Perhaps if each restaurant were open for a week, each chef would get a front of the house and leadership/expediting "test". Also, evaluation of the teams with respect to honing their concepts over the course ot that week would be valuable in choosing a winning team. It would at least be a bit more true to what real chefs and restaurateurs experience, and could still be edited down to an hour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tofuburrito
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                chowser RE: tofuburrito Jan 28, 2009 10:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Those are good questions but I think what it comes down to is that the FoH is important so if you can't do it, DON'T. Being host at Gramercy Tavern was not Tom Colicchio's job. It was Radhika's. Radhika should have known she didn't have the personality to do it, she was in charge and she blew it. I wonder if the results would have been different if she hadn't been leader and the leader sent her out there, despite her protests and she did the same. Fabio was a smart choice and Leah saved herself with that. Radhika was leader but didn't lead--her decision to send out Carla's desserts and not jump in to help showed it. I like Radhika, she'd been one of my choices for top 3 but she did a terrible job with this challenge. Winning the QF was the worst thing for her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And, all the chefs are tested in different ways. Ariane was sent home for not butchering and tying a fresh lamb well. No one else has had to do that. but she butchered it, so to speak.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  cabking RE: chowser Jan 28, 2009 10:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  True, chowser. However, there is no guarantee (and a high unliklihood, in my experience) that any chef would have any front of the house experience, which is why so many fail at this aspect of RW. Fabio happens to be personable enough to pull it off, but no one on Radhika's team seemed like a "good fit" for FoH (Carla would have sunk fast, Jaime doesn't have the "touch" and Jeff was not interested, so I'm guessing it would have shown in his performance). I guess if she had been thinking more clearly she could have picked Fabio solely for his FoH potential talents, and not doing so may have been her Waterloo. Or, perhaps, not having experience with FoH, she might have thought she would be better at it than she was (a lot of chefs underappreciate FoH, unfortunately). No doubt she made poor choices and suffered the consequences.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cabking
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    chowser RE: cabking Jan 28, 2009 11:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Exactly. Her poor decisions started from the beginning. I can't remember who said it above but knowing Hosea and Leah's relationship, she could have guessed that Leah would have chosen Hosea so she could have taken Fabio or someone who would do front of house well. Then after Leah picked Hosea, she'd still have Jamie. She didn't seem to think it through. At the same time, Jeff did great in that AIDs challenge in dealing with people. He did offer, though said he would prefer to cook,and she could have taken him up on it. I think Carla could have shone in the FoH or flopped and I don't think I'd trust her out there, either. I was sad to see Radhika go because I would easily eat at her restaurant and thought she was an excellent chef but I don't think it was unfair for them to cut her based on everything she did and didn't do here. I would rather have seen Leah go and she needs to be so grateful that everything aligned for her so she didn't get sent home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Brian S
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ccbweb RE: Brian S Jan 28, 2009 09:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Based on what evidence do you conclude that Radhika created the recipes that were used for the food by her team? From the parts of the show I watched, she had little to nothing to do with the specifics of the food. Perhaps I missed something entirely, but I didn't get the notion that Jamie and Jeff were executing Radhika's ideas at all. I certainly didn't see any point at which it appeared that Radhika was supervising in the kitchen. She was in the kitchen, but didn't appear to actually be doing much of anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I see the argument about getting sent home for something that had basically nothing to do with cooking and I basically agree with it; I'd have voted for Carla or Leah based on the level of the dishes they made if I had a vote. I do think it's reasonable to choose a winning team and send someone home from the losing team, so in that case, I think it should have been Carla.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ccbweb
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  tofuburrito RE: ccbweb Jan 28, 2009 10:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you look through the recipes I think you see a very strong Radhika influence. I also think helping her team prep deserves more significance than it it has received.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They try to make it appear that she did nothing but act surly with the guests but as I recall she appeared very busy setting up the restaurant. Don't know what the judges thought about the decor since they didn't mention anything about that vital component in a chef's development but if memory serves correct it looked nice and fit in with the theme of the restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tofuburrito
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Caitlin McGrath RE: tofuburrito Jan 28, 2009 01:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When asked at Judges' Table where the dishes came from, Radhika said that Jamie, Jeff, and Carla each came up with their respective dishes. Of course the dishes followed the restaurant's theme, which was Radhika's creation by virtue of her CF win; we saw the team agree that they'd stay with the theme (Jamie's suggestion, actually), so the dishes the others created and cooked were following those lines. But again, we have it from the horse's mouth that Radhika didn't personally ceate thm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And in restaurant wars, the FOH contestant is always solely responsible for setting up, so that's an even playing field. The judges never remark on the decor unless they find it objectionable. And I agree with other posters that Radhika didn't seem to be effectively supervising the kitchen. She wasn't proactive about the dessert problem, she didn't train or supervise the staff, and Jamie largely took charge of kitchen matters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tofuburrito
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Frodnesor RE: tofuburrito Jan 28, 2009 02:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      On the website, none of the recipes for the episode are credited to Radhika (other than her QF dish) and she made no claim to any particular dish at Judge's Table. They collectivley decided on a theme (I think Jamie suggested "global" and Jeff refined it to "spice route") and it seems each chef just did their own thang. I think you might have the impression that Radhika played a role in the dishes b/c there was a curried soup involved, but that was Jamie's dish (and keep in mind Jamie's got some affinity for the Indian flavorings as well, vadouvan was her secret ingredient).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm disappointed she's gone only because I thought her food was among the most interesting, but I can fully understand why the decision was made.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Brian S
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    thew RE: Brian S Jan 28, 2009 12:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    she didn;t look like she was supervising in the kitchen - she looked like she was hiding from the FOH in the kitchen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. LindaWhit RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 29, 2009 07:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hadn't seen it mentioned here yet, so I thought I'd post a link to an apology from Hosea posted last week on Bravo's "Burning Questions" blog site:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have to applaud the fact that he has addressed it with viewers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      AMFM RE: LindaWhit Jan 29, 2009 08:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i agree. interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Brian S RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 29, 2009 07:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm never quite sure what irony is, but surely it's ironic that the Fabio quote, which the OP posted as a joke, turned out to be TRUE!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just looking online, the Village Voice said that on most reality shows, you tune in to see the dumb things contestants do, but here it's to see the dumb things JUDGES do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Entertainment Weekly: "oh, Bravo. How you disappoint!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      New York Magazine: "If there’s a God, either Carla or Fabio will be next for the glue factory"

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