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Top Chef 5 - Picks for Top Three?

Here's how I see the chefs...

Top Three
1. Stefan - He's the one to beat.
Pros: Has solid skill and the "take command" attitude.
Cons: Can't work with others... at times food seems boring and safe

2. Fabio - a good chef and food looks appealing.
Maybe I'm buying into the Team Euro hype?

3. Jaime - Good skills seem, but has some two big misses in elimination challenges. Another plus, stands up to Stefan.

Middle tier:
4. Jeff - has skills but seems discombobulated where his dishes lack the finishing touch to put him over the top.

5. Hosea - I'm not sure about this guy. Claims to specialize in seafood, but his one elimination challenge win was for pork loin. Also, he's the one that tried to pass off horrible canned crab.

Bottom tier:
6. Leah - Won a few quickfires, but terrible in elimination challenges.... Needs to be given direction, can't seem to work on her own.

7. Carla - has become the pastry chef of the show... I don't remember her last savory dish.

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  1. Going to have to disagree on Fabio being in the Top 3. I'd move Hosea up there - but ONLY if Leah finally gets a Size 11 up the butt and she's kicked out of the kitchen. Hosea's stuff just seems more interesting that Fabio's. Fabio's broken English charm will only get him so far, IMO.

    I'd love to see Jeff up there, but agree with the discombobulation. But who knows - if he gets a win under his belt (next week?) he might settle down as Jamie did.

    And I think the "con" you listed for Stefan re: not playing well with others *might* come back to bite him in the ass if he makes it to the finale, when they get to pick former cheftestants as sous chefs.

    And I'm just way too obsessed with this show. ;-)

    1 Reply
    1. re: LindaWhit

      My Top Three

      Stephan is full of himself, but he is confident in his food ...agree that he can't work with others... at times food seems a bit boring …plus I didn’t like his comment “If I don’t win, they might as well call it Top Cook, because I am the Top Chef”

      Fabio does make food look appealing and I like his style, I really want to try the olives he did in the very beginning... but from scenes form the next one, he my step over the line with the guest judge, we'll see!

      Jaime, Yes very confident with her food, but a sore loser reminds me of Lisa from last year

      Other Chefs...
      Jeff is so eager to impress over thinks his foods, I mean look at the Amuse Bouche Breakfast Challenge. He could be really good!

      Hosea, well he really hasn’t impressed me much, remember the pork he won the elimination challenge for the 12 days, all the chefs pitched into that one. And who serves canned crab when you specialty is suppose to be seafood.

      Leah hasn’t shown too much talent lately, at first I liked her, but now? I mean who under cooks cod, it’s a forgiving fish!

      Carla is great at pastry – nothing more.

      And yes, LindaWhit, I am also way to obsessed with the show!

    2. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/587945
      Jeff, Jaime, Hosea and Carla were spotted in NOLA for the finale.

      4 Replies
      1. re: edible complex

        And that means nothing - as I said in that thread, they seem to bring the last 6-8 to the finale filming for choices as sous chefs. Those 4 you mention could be either a finalist or a sous.

          1. re: dave_c

            Yup. I'm bummed he went before Leah and Fabio. Dambit.

        1. re: edible complex

          stefan was also seen. so that's almost all of them.

        2. stefan, jamie, and hopefully jeff. maybe hosea.

          i don't think fabio has done anything interesting since the olives and those were a borrowed idea (not slamming, just saying).
          hosea has made some good things across the board but little i remember.
          jeff has made some great things but i would agree overthinks and can be downright lousy because of it.
          leah though i dislike her has done a bunch of mediocre to bad things but pulled out a few quickfire wins with some momentary bursts of inspiration.
          i think carla and fabio are next to go.

          1. This is who I think will be in the top 3:
            This is who I want to be in the top 3:
            3) Jeff

            1. I agree with everyone's opinion. My list, right now, would be:

              1. Stefan
              2. Jamie
              3. Fabio or Hosea or Carla

              I find Stefan refreshing and direct. They are all there trying to be Top Chef. I don't care if he's arrogant. I think our culture has gotten sort of namby-pamby about that. The knee-jerk reaction is always... "Boo-hoo, he doesn't play well with others." So what. I'll be mad if his food stays consistently superior, and yet he doesn't get Top Chef because of his personality. They did the same thing to Tiffany way back in season one, who should have been top chef of that season. I think Tom has always regretted that and will not let it happen again. It will be based soley on the food.

              Jamie is smug and smarmy but her food seems to have a light hand and a fresh appeal.

              Spot # 3 is a toss-up. If Carla started doing nothing but throwing down comforting classics, she could have a chance. If Fabio throws down some exquisite Italian food, he could have a chance. If Hosea throws down the surf-n-turf, he could have a chance.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Budget Palate

                what about jeff? he has moments of genius - like tomato sorbet....

                1. re: AMFM

                  It's stuff like that tomato sorbet (dismissed by Stefan but rated "best on plate" by the judges) that I wish he could recapture and really show his stuff.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    With Radhika gone I think Stefan, Jeff & Jamie have the most talent. It seems to be a pretty steep drop after that. But as we see on a somewhat regular basis, the ability to cook well is not always the determining factor.

              2. Stephan

                Jamie not so much, Hosea what has he cooked, Carla blew it as princess moondust, Leah nope.

                SInce a woman won last time, we may be spared the "So nice to have a woman winner" verbage.

                1 Reply
                1. re: shallots

                  Shallots -
                  "Princess Moondust"!!!
                  Ha ha ha - I love it! (so true! But I kind like that about her though )

                  And you are spot on about the woman winner thing - but I still have a feeling she'll make it to the finals.
                  Your top 3 is definitely my wish-list though!

                2. my prediction (in no particular order):

                  i think Fabio's used up his culinary bag of tricks at this point. he definitely skated by on charm this week - they all hated his amuse bouche, and Starr said his QF dish was the worst of all of them

                  i really wish Jeff would step it up - he seems to fall *juuust* short pretty much every week. it's frustrating to watch, and i get the sense he hasn't shown how talented he is.

                  Carla is entertaining and endearing, but she's not Top Chef. her lack of ability to think on the fly or be even remotely creative this week was a clear indicator that she just doesn't have it in her to "wow" the judges with dishes (particularly savory ones) that will win her a spot in the final three.

                  i think Leah is a talented chef, but her attitude & energy have really soured the past 2 weeks, and her inability to pull her head out of her ass & get things done in the face of this week's drama & distractions proved that she just can't hack it as TC, and she doesn't deserve it.

                  1. Should be (in alphabetical order)

                    but the judging on this show can be erratic so who knows.

                    Hosea could give fill in for any of these.

                    Fabio is completely over-rated.

                    Carla is the nicest person of the bunch but that's not getting her fan enough.

                    Leah should have been gone weeks ago.

                    1. Stefan

                      I think Stefan may be the one to beat, but since he doesn't play well with others he has a weak spot. Arrogance has a place in the kitchen, especially when you are in charge, but it is always his way or no way.

                      I just get this feeling that Jeff has not shown us his full potential yet, but if I'm wrong on this point then he may not be in the top three.

                      Jamie seems competent, and some of her food seems lovely. However, I wish she would step out of the box and prepare something other than scallops, pureed vegetables and lamb.

                      As for the others, Leah should have been gone awhile ago, Fabio is overrated and Hosea hasn't impressed me much.

                      Despite having a list for the top three, I have to say I am not overly impressed with any of them. In seasons past I always had at least one cheftestant I rooted for, not so much this season.

                      15 Replies
                      1. re: lizzy

                        "Despite having a list for the top three, I have to say I am not overly impressed with any of them. In seasons past I always had at least one cheftestant I rooted for, not so much this season."
                        lizzy, i think that's the general consensus. i used to like both Hosea & Leah, and while i get the feeling they can both cook, their romantic shenanigans really turned me off. Fabio is a hoot to watch, but i'm not impressed with his food. same goes for Carla. Jamie can obviously do some things very well, but she needs to expand her repertoire...and lose the attitude. Stefan is clearly the most talented of the bunch, but he's an ass. and Jeff seems like a genuinely good guy with a lot of potential, but he has yet to break through.

                        nope, not a standout among them.

                        BTW, it must suck for the judges to have to eat disappointing food every week, all the while knowing that they'll have to choose a winner from such an unimpressive group.

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          ghg, I agree with just about everything you said and summed it up very well. The only area I disagree with...Hosea never caught on with me. OTOH, in the beginning I liked both Leah and Radhika. I think they both are victims of being very focused in the early rounds, but I just think they don't/didn't have the endurance to make it to the end.

                          "BTW, it must suck for the judges to have to eat disappointing food every week, all the while knowing that they'll have to choose a winner from such an unimpressive group."
                          Yes, yes and yes!!! I couldn't agree with you more. It seems like in seasons past it was much harder to pick a winner. This season the judges seem to spend more time picking a loser, and it's not because the food is overwhelmingly good.

                          1. re: lizzy

                            "BTW, it must suck for the judges to have to eat disappointing food every week, all the while knowing that they'll have to choose a winner from such an unimpressive group."

                            Well I think that's why Tom looks so miserable this season!

                            But still - I wish I had their job!

                            "Oh it sucks to have to eat all these uninspired scallops and ravioli!"
                            Whoa is me!

                            Yep - I'd risk it!

                            1. re: lizzy

                              I wonder if the standard view of Hosea is somewhat skewed because of the whole LeaHo drama. Looking at his restaurant's web site it seems he has an impressive resume and the menu suggests he can do better than what we've seen on Top Chef.

                              1. re: tofuburrito

                                i agree but i think it's sad he let that happen.

                                1. re: tofuburrito

                                  I'm sure the view of Hosea has been skewed by the drama. I also agree with you that he has an impressive background, but thus far I have yet to see anything on par with his resume. He seems like he may be capable of doing better, but he has taken his eye off the prize. IMO, he hasn't executed anything special or outside the box.

                            2. re: lizzy

                              I do not have a problem with Stefan's arrogance per se. I believe that he has demonstrated little culinary expertise and excitement about which to be operating at this level of arrogance. And, this will probably prevent him from excelling in his career, since he believes he knows it all, and has demonstrated little on the show to convince me of that talent. His first glimmer of excellence, in fact, were the desserts in Restaurant Wars. He will be the one to beat, however, although I think even Ilan would have easily trounced any of the cheftestants from this season.

                              BTW, anyone who thinks that Jaime is like Lisa needs to watch reruns of Lisa, who was thoroughly unpleasant all of the time to everyone. It seems as if the other cheftestants really like Jaime, even if the editing makes it seem as if she's less likeable. She should be in the finals save a serious gaff (and she has had some doozies already).

                              Hoping Jeff is the third finalist, but his learning curve (i.e. Keep It Simple Stupid) is very steep. Love Fabio and Carla for entertainment value and think they're probably great people, but not TC. Hosea and Leah have been mediocre for the most part.

                              Finally, one of the greatest frustrations with TC is that we cannot taste the food, so it's hard to tell, for example, if Ariane's lamb was just a sloppy mess on the plate visually or really tasted horrible. Or if Stefan's desserts in Restaurant Wars really were as transcendent as they seemed (or just transcendent for this seemingy lackluster season).

                              One last comment--this is the only season that I have no interest in eating in the winner's restaurant. None.

                              1. re: cabking

                                Both Fabio and Carla would probaby succeed in their own shows. They may not have the cooking chops of the rest of the bunch (debatable), but they are a casting director's dream.

                              2. re: lizzy

                                I agree w/ you and ghg on this. Is there any contestant you'd be sad to see go? In the past season, I felt bad that Dale left, though I thought Stephanie and Richard were better. But, this time around, any of them could go and I'd just shrug.

                                I like Jeff and think his highs could be higher than others, but his lows lower. In the beginning, I thought he'd just be about the hair but he's grown on me. I liked Carla but the whole "sending out the love" thing isn't what I want when something goes wrong. Fix it. That's why I prefer Stefan, though his personality is grating. He had the same problem and sent out a great dessert, not his love. I don't think customers would fit into his restaurant with the size his head would be if he won. Not much room as it is.

                                1. re: chowser

                                  Honestly, and I hate to say this, I would not be sad if any of them were sent home. Using your example of last season, and it is one of my favorites, I would have been happy if either Stephanie or Richard won and I would have been very upset if either of them were told to PYKAG before the finale. I am looking forward to eating at both Richard and Stephanie's restaurants, but I can't say that about anyone this season.

                                  I agree with your point on Jeff. While I think Marcel's talents are heads above Jeff's, Marcel also had high highs and low lows. The hair thing is funny, I also like Jeff's nickname Dr. Chase.

                                  1. re: lizzy

                                    Really, guys?
                                    I love this seasons chefs!

                                    I loved Richard last year, and respected Stephanie allot, but that was it..I simply couldn't stand was it Lisa? (can't remember the grumps name now!)
                                    Anyhow, this season, I LOVE Fabio - he could cook for me anyday!
                                    I really like Jeff - and your right - at first I thought he would be a pompous ass - but he's not at all - he's lovely..and some of his food looks fantastic to me.
                                    I will be gutted if Fabio doesn't make the top 3, and will be sad if Jeff goes, as well as Carla. I find Stefan to be very entertaining, and she he is arrogant, but I work with allot of folks who are more arrogant than him - who have NO talent!
                                    And his food looks great!
                                    IIn fact I think I like this group more than any other!

                                    Up until the farm episode - I thought this seasons chefs had incredible integrity.
                                    They helped each other out (and that includes Jamie AND Stefan).
                                    And they other than the above two named, they genuinely seemed pleased when others did well (for the most part anyway).

                                    Hosea lost me when he used the canned crab...what a bad decision!! Yuck!
                                    And with the farm episode I lost respect for both he and Leah.

                                    Even though I am a big foodie, I guess since I am not actually eating the food, I have to admit the personalities have allot to do with who I root for.
                                    Obviously if someone's food constantly fails, I take that into account too!

                                    I'm sorry - I don't get the "Dr. Chase" thing - who is Dr. Chase???

                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                      Dr. Chase is a character on the Fox show "House". Hasn't been on much this year with the newer cast, but Jeff's a dead ringer for the guy who plays Dr. Chase.

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        Oh okay - is he the one with the English accent?
                                        I think I know who you mean! I can see it!


                                          1. re: edible complex

                                            Hey Edible - thanks for that! LOL!!!!! So funny

                              3. I think Stefan and Jamie are the two shoo-ins for the final, with the last spot a toss up between Jeff and Fabio. Fabio's food recently has not impressed anyone at all, in either the Quickfire or Elimination challenges. Fabio's charm is carrying him a long way but skill wise I think he might end up as the odd man out. Jeff can make a knockout dish at any given time and he seems to have a wider repertoire of cuisines to pull from than Fabio, who seems to be more restricted and focused on Italian.

                                1. Stefan
                                  Jamine or Jeff (toss up which will get the ax first)

                                    1. I'm guessing that Stefan and Jamie will be in the finals, with the third up for grabs.

                                      That said, I'm not in love with any of them. I like Carla, but I don't think she has an overall win in her.

                                      1. 1 - Jaime
                                        2 - Hosea
                                        3 - Stefan

                                          1. re: Fritter

                                            The only person left who I want to see go is Leah.....everyone else I like and admit I have a very soft spot for sweet Carla.

                                            1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                              I agree but I would add Hosea....
                                              Love Carla too

                                          2. A lot has happened, Jeff and Jamie are gone!
                                            Reading through the responses I was convinced and was ready to drop Fabio and replace with Jeff.

                                            Revising my rankings...

                                            1. Stefan is still the one to beat.

                                            2. Carla's skills are starting to show and she's doing more than desserts! Good for her!
                                            3. Fabio is a "middle of the pack" type of guy.
                                            4. Hosea is a Seafood Superchef (in his own mind).

                                            5. Leah is just eeking by. I'd be very disappointed with the judging if she makes it to the finale.

                                            For Fan favorite, which is also based on personality...
                                            1. Carla - fun, quirky, positive, humble. She just seems like a hoot!

                                            1. No one (okay, maybe some did) expected Carla to be in the top 3 when this thread started. Now it's a Carla love fest. She can only cook within her own comfort zone. It will be a bloodbath.

                                              7 Replies
                                              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                She did very well in the football challenge - was that her comfort zone - a 20 minute gumbo?

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  Yes. Obviously it was more than a 20 minute gumbo. Who knows how the rules worked but no way she actually made that gumbo from scratch in 20 minutes.

                                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                    Not so sure about that. I guess we'll just have to wait until next week. I was not a fan of hers in the beginning through at least halfway through the show, but she's right - she's been the tortoise to every else's hare....she's slow and steady. And if you look at her progress on the Wikipedia chart, she's not done as bad as you might think.


                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      When they dumbed down the show for her, she did just fine. Oh yeah, the challenge at Le Bernadin....she wouldn't have finished without help. Carla doesn't impress me in the least bit. In any decent size city, there are plenty of talented chefs who can do better than her. She's from DC and I live in DC. She's not on the map here at all. Maybe she'll open a burger joint here like Spike.

                                                      1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                        They've *all* helped each other finish plating throughout the show. That's just the way this group is.

                                                        And if you read her bio at Bravo, she's runs a catering place - so she might not "be on the map" in DC the way *you* seem to think she should be. Stefan owns/runs a catering place as well. Is *he* on the map in his town (Santa Monica)?

                                                        I'm not saying Carla's the best there is. I don't think Stefan is either. I'm not rooting for any ONE person in this year's show the way I did for Stefanie or Harold in the past. But to say they "dumbed down" the show for Carla is just ridiculous. These challenges are decided WAY before they've probably picked the cheftestants, and even if not, before the producers know what their capabilities might be on this show.

                                                        1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                          <She's from DC and I live in DC. She's not on the map here at all.>

                                                          Maybe you need a new map? I have several friends who are chefs and in the culinary business in DC, and they know her and her work, and think highly of her.

                                                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                            I'm not sure what you mean by "dumbed down" for Carla.

                                                            If it was dumbed down, then all the chefs had that "advantange" of dumbed down challenges.

                                                            Using the Dave's (TC1) catch phrase, "It is what it is."

                                                  2. The last couple of weeks have been an improvement. It's been a rather ho hum season. I do like though, that their behavior in the kitchen, at least up to this point is more representative of what goes on in a real kitchen.Helping each other, while highly competitive, they seem to genuinely appreciate and respect each other.Fabio just cracks me up every week. Should he be eliminated I will miss his "Its top chef, not top_______" Surely that will be this years T shirt unveiled at the reunion, LOL.
                                                    Carla has been the sleeper all season, I think both she and Fabio shook Stephan up a little bit this week. That's good. he needed that to happen.
                                                    Too bad jaimes dish was so miserably bad, I liked watching her work in the kitchen.
                                                    I'm glad Leah is gone. Nothing I can truly put my finger on, just didn't appreciate her at.all.