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Top Chef - Super Bowl (*Possible Spoilers*)

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First thoughts:

- Jeff is an idiot. when will he learn? K.I.S.S.
- Leah was so worried about screwing up with her fish again that she ended up OVER-cooking it. i laughed out loud.
- Jamie is "intimidated" by these past cheftestants? really? surprising.
- and speaking of the returning chefs from past seasons..."All-Stars" my ass (Andrew & Spike notwithstanding)
- i think it would be hilarious to see Nikki the Pasta Queen pitted against Mr. Ravioli
- random thought re: Scott Contant - sure Scarpetta just got 3* in the NY Times, but why haven't they also mentioned Alto or L'Impero?

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  1. in the QF, Jamie picked fruit but she made shrimp?

    So Fabio can cook some meat dish and just have a side of veggies?

    22 Replies
    1. re: Ericandblueboy

      Yeah, other than the nectarine salsa (which did NOT have oats in them, I don't think), her dish really did NOT fit her challenge - should have been a disqualification, IMO!

      1. re: Ericandblueboy

        yeah, Jamie was stretching it a bit with the fruit category. i know she was playing it off as though coconut is a fruit - many people believe it is - but technically it's a seed. but i guess since nectarine & avocado are both fruits, she got away with it anyway.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          I thought Carla should have won the quickfire -- she was the only one who paid more than lip service to the requirements of the challenge. She used the oats as a major component of her dish, and in an innovative way, and the other major ingredients were from her required category. In contrast, Leah's oatmeal crust was barely visible, and Hosea's wasn't much more; Jamie used both the oats and the required fruit as minor components, basically garnishes. Stefan made a version of a dish you can buy at McDonalds (a parfait with oats). Fabio and Jeff both at least tried to fulfill the requirements, but failed in execution. Carla was the only one who met both the spirit and the letter of the challenge *and* executed her dish successfully.

          BTW, at judges table Tom mentioned that Carla had infused the crawfish into the stock, which was presumably made during the prep period. Perhaps the roux was also used to make the stock.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            I wouldn't have disqualified Jamie, but I agree that Carla deserved the quickfire.

            Fabio's eggplant looked vile. Why didn't he grind up the oats to make flour?

            I'm not sorry to see Jeff go -- I was rarely impressed with his chops. My only regret is that my friends and I will no longer be able to make lame jokes about the "Dildo" Beach Club. Worst. Name. Ever.

            1. re: a_and_w

              It's "DiLido" not "Dildo," and it was the name of the original Art Deco hotel that is part of the Ritz-Carlton that houses the restaurant. The tribute to the history of the building is good enough reason for me to suppress childish giggles.

              1. re: Frodnesor

                I also couldn't look at it w/o seeing it as "Dildo" Beach Club.

                1. re: Frodnesor

                  No dil-duh it's Dilido.

                  1. re: Frodnesor

                    I don't think knowing the history for me would have made me more mature about the name. I was just waiting for them to omit the second "i."

                  2. re: a_and_w

                    I know what the correct name is, but this never stopped me--or my husband--from yelling "dildo beach club" every time I saw the name on the screen. I'm actually kind of relieved to know that we weren't the only ones being adolescent about this.

                    1. re: Nonsenseprecious

                      I guess living in Miami Beach and having driven by hundreds upon hundreds of times, I've finally grown out of it.

                      1. re: Frodnesor

                        not to mention that because it's pronounced with a decided dEE not a "Dill", the joke is rather lost.

                        Oh, and don't forget that we have DiLido Island too to reinforce the pronunciation -- so those of us who've been around Miami for years pretty much only hear " Dee-Lee-dough"in our heads whenever we see the word.

                    2. re: a_and_w

                      IIRC, whenever they showed Jeff's name the "l" in DiLido wasn't capitalized. And I too, immediately thought "dildo". Now that I see people writing it with a cap, "dildo" doesn't pop out quite as quickly.

                      1. re: a_and_w

                        No worries guys. Most of you would fit right in if you visit South Beach.

                      2. re: Ruth Lafler

                        Agree about the quickfire and how about tofu coming out in the top again! As I recall the last time we saw tofu was in Season 4 with the winning Green Perplexed Tofu.
                        When will the chefs truly embrace the versatility and wonderment of tofu?
                        Also liked Andrea mugging Tom on camera. His laughter made him seem more human and less robo-chef.

                        1. re: tofuburrito

                          I take it you really like tofu, especially in burritos?

                          1. re: tofuburrito

                            i thought he seemed more human too.

                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          if were gonna get all technical here, though, shouldnt her use of avocado boost the fruit count in her recipe?

                          1. re: tex.s.toast

                            uh yeah and it was COCONUT shrimp? no one remembered that?

                            1. re: CoryKatherine

                              as i said above, her use of avocado helped her get away with it.

                              technically coconut is *not* a fruit, though may people erroneously believe it is...so that may have been another consideration - i'm guessing the judges counted it as a fruit.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                This is splitting hairs, but botanically, a coconut is a fruit.

                                1. re: dave_c

                                  I think it's technically a seed, not a fruit.

                                  1. re: a_and_w

                                    yep, it's a seed, which is what i pointed out earlier in the thread...but most people do think it's a fruit.

                      3. You and Phaedrus ended up posting close to the same time - with a lot of agreement between your two posts!

                        I broke out laughing when Leah overcooked the fish this time as well. And Jeff??? How many freakin' times has he SAID he overthinks things? If he knows he does that, fix it!

                        Agree with your "all-stars my ass" comment - not REALLY!

                        With the Bowl challenge, I'm thinking (hoping?) that Stefan has severely underestimated his All-Star, Andrea! He's thinking he picked an easy mark - what fun it would be if she outcooked him!

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          Andrea, cook?

                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                            It's quite possible - she was pegged as a vegetarian, but she said she's not. Let's see what happens!

                            ETA: SEE???? LOL

                            And Andrew's imitation of Stephan was great!

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              i choked on my water when Andrew imitated Stefan. he's still freaking hi-larious!

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                wow.....I think the crowd is biased against Stefan.

                          2. Hosea's cracking me up every time he calls Miguel "Chunk" (my fellow "Goonies" fans will get the reference)...and his salmon dish looked AWESOME.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              I caught that as well - LOVED it - he's the perfect Chunk!

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                The "Chunk" nickname started during Miguel's season. Hosea didn't come up with it. ... I think Padma even introduced Miguel with his nickname when she revealed the "all star" team.

                                1. re: charmedgirl

                                  Yes, I know that. I just liked that Hosea used it as well.

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    yep, remembered it from his season, but that doesn't make it any less amusing now :)

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      Eep, that's my anti-Hosea bias showing. Heh, I guess I want to make sure he didn't get undue credit for being creative or funny. Sorry guys. ;-)

                                      1. re: charmedgirl

                                        that's ok, any "undue credit" he might have gotten is immediately negated by his ridiculous, continual cry-baby bitching about Stefan.

                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          Yeah, he definitely needs to stop the wah-wah machine. It's getting rather boring. Fix it by beating him in challenges, Hosea!

                            2. Spike's an a$$. Stop casting after season 4? So now he's selling crappy burgers in DC, big whoop.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                That comment made me want to throw something at the screen. Talk about inflated ego. If we want to talk best seasons and when they should have stopped casting, it would be more accurate to say cast seasons 1 and 3, but skip 2 and 4. And, sadly, the way things are shaping up now, I'd say skip 5 too.

                                1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                  I had to tell my husband last night about your question to him on what gives him the right to shove crappy burgers down DC's throats on the other thread. Too funny.

                                2. So - it's Jeff and Stephan in the bottom. I have to believe it's going to be Jeff. Wait - they just showed Fabio in the bottom group arguing with Conant? Or was he in the top group?

                                  ETA: BTW, did anyone catch Fabio using the "monkey ass" comment again in a confessional? I missed what he was saying - something with ___-bananas?

                                  So is Fabio in the bottom because he only got 3 points in a field goal?

                                  And Carla got two tix to the Super Bowl????? Holy CRAP! Great prize!
                                  ~~~~~~~~
                                  I was right. Jeff's gone. Dammit. I really REALLY think that Fabio should have gone. But Jeff couldn't keep it simple - that was his downfall. I'm seriously bummed that he is gone before Leah and Fabio.

                                  And OOOOHHHHH! Eric Ripert is back next week - woo-hoo!

                                  11 Replies
                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    or Fabio. looks like he REALLY pisses of Scott Conant at JT. you know, for everyone's griping about how Stefan can't take criticism, Fabio always gets so pissy & refuses to accept any negative feedback about his food.

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      Seems like the editors threw us a bit of misdirection this time. I was certain Fabio was getting the edit of doom when we learned that his mother is very ill and that he needs to win TC to pay for her medical treatment.

                                      Incidentally, Fabio had my sympathy over the cheese/acidity situation. He's Italian. Forget the stereotype about rigid Germans. Germans seem downright anarchic compared to Italians commitment to cooking rules. When Fabio heard the particular cheese/acid suggestion from the chef of an Italian restaurant, from Fabio's point of view, he was hearing pure unadulterated blasphemy.

                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                      I think he said fried bananas.

                                      1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                        yep - i just caught it on the replay. he said if the ingredient was monkey ass, he'd "serve it with fried bananas or something."

                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                        LOL Linda - look at the last line of my post below. i think you & i really must share a brain :)

                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          It's ERIC RIPERT!!!! What is there *not* to WOO-HOO about? ;-)

                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                          All Fabio cooks is monkey ass. Someone should tell Fabio that this is "Top Chef", not "Top Monkey Ass".

                                          1. re: kmcarr

                                            LOL! he knew he couldn't make any more ravioli, so he had to find another "pet" ingredient ;)

                                            i was just thinking about all the monkey comments on this show. first Hung, now Fabio. what's up with that?

                                            1. re: kmcarr

                                              To give him the benefit of the doubt, it's not his first language and, at least for me, I tend to stick with phrases I know well, in other languages. Though, I have to admit I don't know how to say "monkey's ass" in any other language.

                                              1. re: chowser

                                                Affenarse

                                                derriere du singe

                                                culo di scimmia

                                                1. re: coney with everything

                                                  ...proving Fabio's point: "culo di scimmia nello conchiglia" sounds like it would be great!

                                          2. wow, Carla with the win! and she gets Super Bowl tix as the prize- too bad it's not really a match-up anyone is interested in this year unless you're from AZ or Pitt ;)

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              Sounds like her husband and step-son will be thrilled to be at the game, while Carla stays back with family eating hot food. I am surprised by how pleased I am that she won a challenge.

                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                Most people would love free tix to the Super Bowl, no matter who was playing. It's a huge event that is bigger than the teams involved. Even if one was a rabid fan of one of the teams, it would cost grand or two just to get in, not to mention get there, etc. A five to ten thousand dollar expereince. Not bad for cooking a plate of gumbo!

                                                1. re: tastyjon

                                                  Carla mentioned earlier in the episode that she doesn't watch/like football, but her husband ans step-son loves it. She just likes the time with family eating hot food. I think that is what smtucker is talking about.

                                                  Gumbo seems like a good tailgating meal.

                                            2. My random thoughts:

                                              It would not be possible for me to dislike Hosea and Leah more. Leah's comment about that football player being hot? Gag me. Does she think of anything other than guys? And Hosea's jealousy of Stefan is just embarrassing. Seriously. Grow UP dude. And get some self respect.

                                              Most of the returning chefs are not who I would consider "all stars." Josie? Spike? Andrew? PUH-leese. And I don't even remember who Camille is. It was like I've never seen her before in my life.

                                              Jeff!! I'm pulling for you man, but you keep shooting yourself in the foot! Likely he is one of the most talented cooks this season. But he isn't focused or restrained enough. Raw talent and inspiration aren't going to win this for him. I really think he's going home, which sucks. He's way better than some of the others.

                                              Toby actually didn't annoy me tonight. Maybe it's because he barely said a word.

                                              I really want to taste Carla's food. Something tells me it's just plain good. I wonder if she's going to give those tickets to her husband and stepson?

                                              27 Replies
                                              1. re: charmedgirl

                                                Carla's food may taste good, but it isn't gumbo. She didn't start with a roux. That, alone, disqualifies it as a roux.
                                                Other mystery: boiling water and cooking grits in twenty minutes. Can't be done, unless instant grits were used (aka abomination).
                                                I cook New Orleans. I understand the flavor that comes from a roux + vegetables = magnificent depth of flavor of caramelized veggies.

                                                She could have done a gumbo z'herbs.

                                                None of those judges knows New Orleans cooking. They aren't even close.

                                                (Maybe Tom really never liked Jeff.)

                                                1. re: shallots

                                                  I don't know squat about New Orleans food and I had the same two thoughts re. starting with a roux and cooking grits in 20 minutes. My comment about Carla's food actually wasn't based on this episode ... it's more a sense that has been growing on me for a while.

                                                  Plus, I feel her on the oats thing. I'm a five-day-oatmeal girl myself, at least during the winter.

                                                  1. re: charmedgirl

                                                    I'm born and breaded in NOLA, and I have never seen a crawfish in a gumbo nor grits. some areas may serve potato salad with gumbo, but grits?
                                                    and dear Padma, it's not New Or-leens...I hope you learned how to pronounce it when you were here filming the finale.

                                                    1. re: edible complex

                                                      pronunciation is a rampant problem with the contestants and the judges on this show...don't hold your breath.

                                                      1. re: edible complex

                                                        They breaded you? Were they too busy serving breaded baby to make the crawfish? Yikes! How gruesome! Or as Carla would say, "where's the love?"

                                                        1. re: karmalaw

                                                          it's a joke, as most people think everything here is battered and/or deep fried.
                                                          I lurve my crawfish, but never in a gumbo or crudo...bisque, etouffee, monica, pies, bread, boiled...always.
                                                          btw, we put the babies in king cakes...now that's some breaded baby.

                                                        2. re: edible complex

                                                          Carla didn't make Gumbo, she made crawfish and grits! who called it Gumbo?

                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                            She did.

                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                              she was even seen attempting a roux during the prep. believe during the competition, she was sweating a holy trinity for that gumbo.

                                                              1. re: edible complex

                                                                I thought I saw that as well. My initial thought when Carla said she was going to make gumbo was "in 20 minutes? I don't think so!" But they did have some prep time.

                                                                HOWEVER....didn't Hosea or Stephan say that everything they brought to the table at the competition had to be raw? That would have precluded Carla's pre-made roux/trinity.

                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                  perhaps there was a jar of Savoie's Old Fashioned Roux in that pantry...hmmm

                                                                  1. re: edible complex

                                                                    Hmmmm is right! I had forgotten about that stuff! (I confess I might have a jar of that in the back of my fridge - definitely time for a clean-out! LOL)

                                                        3. re: charmedgirl

                                                          The whole "20 minutes" premise seemed to have been completely disregarded. Aside from the grits, how could Jeff have made a sorbet from scratch in 20 minutes?

                                                        4. re: shallots

                                                          >>Carla's food may taste good, but it isn't gumbo. She didn't start with a roux. ... I cook New Orleans. I understand the flavor that comes from a roux + vegetables = magnificent depth of flavor of caramelized veggies.

                                                          Yes, Yes, Yes!! The first thing I wondered was how she planned to cook gumbo in 20 minutes. At my house, gumbo is a several hours' experience. Second, a gumbo without roux is just a fish soup, or bouillabaise or jambalaya depending on how folks cook their gumbo. Maybe the flavors were authentic, but if Jeff made a pseudo-ceviche, she made a pseudo-gumbo or to put it nicely a gumbo-inspired dish. Over grits, is different, but I wouldn't mind trying it.

                                                          I was surprised to see Jeff go. He seemed to have some of the most adventurous ideas left among the chefs (except maybe for Hosea) even if he has too many for a single dish. I really thought Fabio should go if his venison deserved Tom's comment that "it was already dead, you didn't have to kill it again."

                                                          I'm still happy to see Carla get the win especially with something that wasn't a dessert.

                                                          1. re: shallots

                                                            I agree on the gumbo not being, well, gumbo. As a New Orleans native and a cook of Creole and Cajun cuisine, I find it impossible to make a gumbo in 20 minutes. It definitely wasn't a gumbo and grits are not common in New Orleans.

                                                            What I can't understand is how "gumbo over grits" can pass as a great New Orleans dish and then Jeff gets dinged for making a ceviche that wasn't "authentic!"

                                                            On the flip side, I think serving the "gumbo" over grits was a pretty unique idea. I believe she took the lowcountry idea of shrimp and grits and made it into some sort of "crawfish and grits." So I guess it wasn't really gumbo at all, huh? I guess if the dish was named otherwise, I would consider it really interesting.

                                                            -Kevin

                                                            1. re: UptownKevin

                                                              I think it's because Carla never claimed to have made an authentic gumbo and because Andrew want a different direction. Both Jeff and Jody made a "ceviche". Jeff criticized Jody's dish by saying it wasn't authentic because it was served warm. He tried to argue that his was authentic because it was cold.

                                                              1. re: UptownKevin

                                                                Jeff got dinged 'cause it didn't taste good and was watered down. I was confused about all the comments, but I think it came down to 1) his food didn't taste all that good and 2) he didn't get that part -- he was arguing about authenticity, he was listing all the techniques he displayed during the 20 minutes, and the judges were trying to say "Fine, but the reason we learn all those techniques is to get good-tasting food."

                                                              2. re: shallots

                                                                Flashing back to My Cousin Vinny re the instant grits LOL!

                                                                1. re: a_and_w

                                                                  I had the same thought!!! "Were they magic grits? Do the laws of physics not apply in your kitchen??"

                                                                  Awesome.

                                                                  1. re: a_and_w

                                                                    LOL, that was my thought, too. Here I found it:

                                                                    Gambini: Eggs and grits. I like grits too. How do you cook your grits? You like 'em regular, creamy, or al dente?

                                                                    Tipton: Just regular, I guess.

                                                                    Gambini: Regular. Instant grits?

                                                                    Tipton: No self-respecting southerner uses instant grits. I take pride in my grits.

                                                                    Gambini: So, Mr. Tipton, how could it take you five minutes to cook your grits, when it takes the entire grit-eating world 20 minutes.

                                                                    Tipton: I don't know. I'm a fast cook, I guess.

                                                                    Gambini: I'm sorry, I was all the way over here. I couldn't hear you. Did you say you're a fast cook? That's it?! Are we to believe that boiling waters soaks into a grit faster in your kitchen than on any place on the face of the earth?!

                                                                    Tipton: I don't know.

                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                      I mean, did Carla get them from the same guy who sold Jack his beanstalk beans?!

                                                                      1. re: a_and_w

                                                                        She must have a heck of a source--I commented when I was watching it that it would take 20 minutes just to brown the roux for the gumbo. Must be all that love she keeps sending out!

                                                                  2. re: shallots

                                                                    Didn't start with a roux, but she did stir in some roux at some point in the cooking. That's enough for me to call it gumbo, but I can understand people who might disagree.

                                                                    http://recipes.mt.bravotv.com/top_che...

                                                                    1. re: Chimayo Joe

                                                                      I'm not bald and I'm not from Joisey, but I'd say she failed to respect the Crawfish.

                                                                      The addition of a blond roux that late in the cooking disrepects all rouxes everywhere.

                                                                    2. re: shallots

                                                                      So Carla did an interview over at the Top Chef website and in it she says the cook time for the grits worried her because she didn't know if 20 minutes would cut it. So perhaps they edited in a way that we couldn't tell she was rushing. She might have plated with just seconds to spare.

                                                                      http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/blogs...

                                                                    3. re: charmedgirl

                                                                      charmedgirl, i'm with you - i really was pulling for Jeff, but he just doesn't LEARN. as for Carla, everyone's been so focused on her eccentricity and her desserts, i don't think i ever knew she was classically trained...and she probably does make seriously tasty comfort food.

                                                                      you're right, Toby was pretty quiet tonight...but never fear, from the promos for next week it looks like he makes some bizarre Obi-Wan reference to Eric Ripert.

                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                        Wait, Eric Ripert isn't a Jedi master? Pish. The force is with him.

                                                                    4. final thoughts (for now, anyway):
                                                                      - i was really torn about this elimination. on one hand, Jeff deserved to go home. he talks about how he needs to stop doing so much, and every time, he does too much. on the other hand, Fabio really overcooked his venison, and i think the only reason the fans chose his dish was because of his personality/performance, not his food.
                                                                      - Jeff handled his loss very graciously, and the judges clearly have respect for him
                                                                      - Fabio surprised me with his acknowledgment that he really dodged a bullet
                                                                      - i am SO sick of hearing Hosea bitch about Stefan
                                                                      - what the heck is UP with the chefs mispronouncing ingredients & dishes every week? Andrea, "mole" is not pronounced "MOL-ee"...and jamie, cioppino is not pronounced "CHEE-o-PEE-no"
                                                                      - Carla made me nervous when she started talking about the "love" again while she was cooking - but the judges went for it this time!

                                                                      - and finally...next week: Eric Ripert is back. woo-hoo!!

                                                                      28 Replies
                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                        I agree on every point. I'm disappointed to see Jeff go. I told DH last week that I thought the last 2 standing would be Jeff and Carla. I'm still pulling for Carla. Who doesn't want comfy food cooked with love?

                                                                        1. re: irishnyc

                                                                          I want comfy food cooked with love at home, not at a restaurant.

                                                                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                            Really? I seriously think there aren't enough GOOD comfort food restaurants around.

                                                                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                          Ugh...that "CHEE-o-PEE-NO" thing hurt my ears. And imo, just like Carla, Jamie's dish didn't look like any cioppino that I've ever had. But it did look tasty!

                                                                          I was glad to see Jeff go. He's way too intense. He should stop worrying about how to stack 17 components into a tiny hors d'oevure-sized pile of food and instead focus on "the love" as Carla would say :)

                                                                          Although I do feel bad that he lost on a Miami challenge. He'll get hell for that at home.

                                                                          Can't wait for Ripert!

                                                                          1. re: lawgirl3278

                                                                            Kind of like when Casey lost (but wasn't eliminated) with the BBQ challenge. Didn't she say something like " As a Texan I know my BBQ"?

                                                                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                            How are they pronounced?

                                                                            1. re: TampaAurora

                                                                              chuh-PEE-noh; It. chawp-PEE-naw

                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                Am I the only one who noticed that the crab was Alaskan King Crab legs and not SF dungeness ?????!!!!!

                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                  To be technical, there really isn't an Italian pronunciation of cioppino since there's no dish by that name in the Italian repertoire. There is probably a fish soup/seafood soup available at every costal Italian town, but those would simply be called Zuppe di Pesce. Cioppino is a San Francisco dish created by Italian-Americans with a fanciful story to explain its name.

                                                                                  Of course, Italian cooking being very local and having very strict local rules about what is allowed, would have no consensus on tomatoes, a characteristic ingredient of cioppino, being allowed in a Zuppe di Pesce.

                                                                                  1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                    While you're right, an ostensibly Italian word obeys the rules of Italian pronunciation, and thus it's cho-PEE-no.

                                                                                    1. re: fame da lupo

                                                                                      Agreed. Actually, I was responding to a post that seemed to suggest there was an Italian and a non-Italian pronunciation. But I really appreciate your follow-up. You've certainly done a better job expressing the idea I was trying to express about pronunciation.

                                                                                      I was making a further point that the dish we call "cioppino" isn't really an Italian dish and that word won't be found on a menu in Italy unless the restaurant is catering primarily to tourists.

                                                                                      1. re: fame da lupo

                                                                                        Chuh-PEE-no is the the way it's pronounced in San Francisco -- but basically its the same as the Italian pronounciation of the word would be, with slightly Americanized vowels. But in neither Italy nor San Francisco would it be pronounced "chee-oh-PEE-no" -- it was really surprising to me that Jamie, who lives and works in San Francisco and proclaimed her familiariity with cioppino as a San Francisco specialty pronounced it wrong.

                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                          I'm deciding that maybe Jamie is one of those people with a tin ear for languages--I was annoyed at her previously for not pronouncing bruschetta correctly, but if she lives in SF, there's really no other explanation for the way she said cioppino. I honestly didn't know what dish she was talking about for a minute!

                                                                                      2. re: Indy 67

                                                                                        I just did a copy/paste from an online dictionary.

                                                                                        1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                          On an episode of Flay's Throwdown, the guy being challenged mentioned that it was derived from Italian fishermen saying "chip in" in reference to the fishermen contributing various types of seafood for a group meal. No idea if that's actually true.

                                                                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                      Oh COME ON!

                                                                                      The minute I saw Jeff up there against Fabio and Stefan, I knew poor Jeff was going home.

                                                                                      Fabio...overcooked his protein and argued with a judge, which got..spike? sent home last year for po a judge off. (maybe not totally, but..) And trying to say heated cabbage over cooked his meat was a good try, but seriously, lol

                                                                                      Stefan... was called out for picking someone weak, and tried to shrug it off as "it's my first time" when they aren't supposed to call past times into play, but of course they do ALL THE TIME. The inconsistent judging drives me nuts. His dish seemed totally not tied together to me..a duo of meat? pork and beef? I honestly can't recall this morning why they disliked it, if he made a mistake.

                                                                                      Jeff...his flavor wasn't just "as good" as the warm shrimp, well DUH, taste the same recipe shrimp, heck, anything! cold, next to it warm, the warm will taste more defined in flavor. When you are preparing most things cold, a teacher or good cookbook will tell you to heighten the spice because serving something cold will dull the flavor a bit. That even hurt Lisa last season with her cold shrimp.

                                                                                      Maybe Tom just doesn't like cold Shrimp. But regardless cold shrimp next to warm won't taste as good. It was a total gimmee to the views and producers that Jeff went home for a dish that was cooked correctly, over Fabio (who I like, don't get me wrong) who made mistakes.

                                                                                      Makes me think Fabio will win the whole thing with his little speech, especially with as many people don't like Stefan. Poor Jeff, he had no chance.

                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                        You know, I'm starting to wonder if Jeff's dish was the worst out of the entire group. Colicchio did say in his blog that even though he voted for Camille instead of Jamie, he thought that Jamie's dish was stronger than some of the other contestants on the home team. Perhaps Jeff was the worst in the bottom group, but that doesn't necessarily mean his dish was the worst from the entire home team. Perhaps this is why Jeff said in his exit interview that none of the judges were looking at him in the eye.

                                                                                        Am I analyzing this a bit too much?

                                                                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                          Obviously, we only see what we are shown. But nowhere did they say, that Jeff's dish was BAD, until Tom's blog, that he said it wasn't good.

                                                                                          I have a hard time Jeff's dish went from "not as flavorful" to worse than overcooked venison that Tom said quote "the animal was already dead, Fabio" and bad salad (which looked like it had WAY too much cheese in the picture).

                                                                                          This episode lost all integrity for me.

                                                                                          I know you'll all defend Tom until you die, but, eh. Cheftestants in the sequester house, who are tasting the food, are talking about things not adding up, episodes ago. I haven't watched the lastest one, but I am going to now.

                                                                                          1. re: sommrluv

                                                                                            Fabio's salad looked awful - clear sign of someone outside his comfort zone. Grated cheddar cheese on greens? Yikes.

                                                                                          2. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                            Hi miss needle!

                                                                                            No - you're not because I was thinking the same thing!

                                                                                            Let's face it - Padma picked Jeff's dish!
                                                                                            (I can't remember if anyone else did too) but no one at the time of tasting critizied it!

                                                                                            I was SURE Fabio was going because his dish was the only tone to be critized at the time of eating.

                                                                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                              NellyNel, I'm glad that I'm not the only one thinking that same thing. I did have a bit of a problem with the structure of the judging.

                                                                                          3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                            Thank You ghg.... When Jamie said "CHEE-o-PEE-no" the first time I cringed - then she said it that way again and I yelled at the TV... she cooks at Absinthe in San Francisco??? Gawd.

                                                                                            The other thing that got me was they provided them with what looked like Alaskan king crab legs rather than the Dungeness that one would totally expect (insist on) from San Francisco...

                                                                                            1. re: RWCFoodie

                                                                                              "they provided them with what looked like Alaskan king crab legs rather than the Dungeness that one would totally expect (insist on) from San Francisco..."
                                                                                              ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                              yeah, i caught that too. and someone else pointed it out somewhere in this thread, but i can't remember who it was, and i'm too lazy to read through all the posts again :) i can't believe they did that...if they couldn't get Dungeness, they should have used a different protein. what's the point of a regional challenge if you're not using regional ingredients?

                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                That was me, I spotted right away. East coast mentality on this show..........

                                                                                              2. re: RWCFoodie

                                                                                                actually, when she first started talking about what she was going to make, I was *much" more annoyed by her reference to the fact that 'cioppino is a type of fish stew, but all I have is this crab, so I will make a sort of crab cioppino' or words to that effect, than I was by her pronunciation...I was screaming at the TV, that the crab MAKES the cioppino! However, since they used king crab, I can only hope that her derision of the crab was a derision of the type of crab....

                                                                                                (However, that would be giving Jamie a lot of credit......)

                                                                                                1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                  she was not deriding the crab. cioppino is made with a mix of seafoods, generally, and not solely crab. she had only crab and no other fish or shellfish to add. hence a crap cioppino.

                                                                                                  1. re: thew

                                                                                                    "hence a crap cioppino"

                                                                                                    ROFL !! Freudian slip there, thew??

                                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                                      the crab is the most important and necessary seafood ingredient, however. If there isn't xxx (insert any other seafood here) it can still be cioppino. However, if it doesn't have Dungeness crab, it isn't cioppino. Period. (IMO, of course, but if I ordered cioppino at any restaurant in SF and got king crab, or no crab at all, I'd definitely complain and would consider sending it back.).

                                                                                                      I did think the cioppino looked a bit strange: it didn't seem to have much of a tomato base, and the presentation seemed to be more about the bread than the stew. Also, it seemed that the meat was taken out of the crab, where as I would have left it in, though of course, that would have made it obvious that it was king crab and not Dungeness.

                                                                                              3. Gotta love Fabio
                                                                                                "A puppy?"
                                                                                                "the top bunky bed"
                                                                                                rofl, he cracks me up.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: pacheeseguy

                                                                                                  I found myself chuckling at Fabio's comments as well. "We have a gift for you in the stew room? A dog?" "I'm 30 years old and I hafta sleepa in the bunky bed." Of course, he had to reference monkey @ss again.

                                                                                                  He needs to bring it more with his cooking though.....

                                                                                                2. I thought this was a great challenge. Head to head, no one else to drag you down or save your butt. Limited ingredients. I like this. The hokey football theme I can live without.

                                                                                                  Jamie's attitude about flavors really confuses me. You are a chef, I understand that you have some preconceived notions of what goes well with others but you also need to keep an open mind and try things, that is what creativity is all about. When she went off on the flavor combinations that her opponent was using, I got very annoyed with her narrow mindedness. Somebody had to eat that first oyster, what her mindset says to me is that she doesn't really think about flavors, she mimics what she has tasted and repeats herself. Undoubtedly she is good at executing her skills but deep thinker? No.
                                                                                                  I am glad Scott Conant went out of his way to praise the flavor combination.

                                                                                                  As for Spike and Andrew, I think they pumped those boys full of Red Bull and let them loose on the set.

                                                                                                  And Andrea beating Stefan was pure poetry.

                                                                                                  Poor Jeff, paralysis by analysis.

                                                                                                  Very very very happy for Fraggle Rock (Carla). Very cool. And Super Bowl tickets to boot.

                                                                                                  I didn't hear Andrea reference BM either.

                                                                                                  44 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                    "As for Spike and Andrew, I think they pumped those boys full of Red Bull and let them loose on the set."
                                                                                                    ~~~~
                                                                                                    LOL :)

                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                      I saw someone else referring to Carla as Sideshow Bob. If she's were a Fraggle, she'd be Red, same mop of hair and frenetic enthusiasm.

                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                        I was liking Scott Conant a LOT during JT - he didn't just sit back and let the other judges take the lead - he was quite forceful (and logically so) with his feedback.

                                                                                                        Agree with Stefan's defeat - the minute he picked Andrea to battle again, I'm thinking "ooh, he's going to go off on her in confessional...wouldn't it be just *sweet* if he loses?" And boy - he lost BIG.

                                                                                                        Perfect description of Jeff.

                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                          "I was liking Scott Conant a LOT during JT"
                                                                                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                          you & me both. forceful is precisely the way i would describe him, and his feedback was constructive & insightful. he's also pretty darn cute...i'd watch him at JT anytime!

                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                            I thought he came off as an arrogant bully.

                                                                                                            1. re: sommrluv

                                                                                                              Me too
                                                                                                              I also didn't get the acid/cheese comment. My reaction was the same as Fabio's but I assumed I misunderstood something.
                                                                                                              He seemed to really dislike Fabio right from the beginning.

                                                                                                              1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                really? i didn't get arrogant from him, just tough. i'll have to watch it again.

                                                                                                                i do agree that it seemed as though he was sort of gunning for Fabio from the beginning, but i wonder if something occurred off camera that might explain it...?

                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                  That's a good point -
                                                                                                                  Since I adore Fabio - I just saw that he was being really harsh on him.
                                                                                                                  But perhaps if he was speaking to someone else - i would have liked him!!

                                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                    I'm not generally supportive of Fabio so I'm not predisposed to be on his side but Conant was so rude to him it was hard to watch. What was up with the acid/cheese issue? Was Conant suggesting he needed acid on the cheese. What, a splash of lemon juice on cheddar cheese?
                                                                                                                    We will see a much more classy guest judge with Eric Ripert this week.

                                                                                                                    1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                      I brought the acid/cheese issue up on the Italy board and got a response from our ranking expert. She's on Fabio's side.

                                                                                                                      Here's the link: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/589264

                                                                                                                      1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                        interesting - thanks for finding/posting that.

                                                                                                                        i didn't think too much about who was even really right regarding acid in that scenario, because i couldn't get past the fact that pairing cheddar with mache just seemed so wrong to me in the first place!

                                                                                                                2. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                  i thought the acid was for the salad the cheese was on

                                                                                                                  and yes - acid can go on cheese - think a quirt of lemon on baked feta for the 1st example that jumps to mind

                                                                                                                  1. re: thew

                                                                                                                    It might be American food but I often do things like this radicchio with mozarella, balsamic vinegar and prosciutto:

                                                                                                                    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                    The no acid and cheese thing might be an italian thing but this was an NFL challenge. It did seem like Conant had a chip on his shoulders that he had an Italian restaurant so felt like he had to challenge the Italian chef.

                                                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                                                      "Acid can go on cheese."

                                                                                                                      I'm not claiming that pairing cheese and acid is universally unacceptable. By citing a Greek example you're actually proving Fabio's point. Although there are exceptions, traditional Italian cooking follows quite rigid rules. Putting acid on cheese violates one of those rules.

                                                                                                                      I'm guessing that if judges who don't portray themselves as Italian chefs -- Colicchio or Stephen Starr or Dan Barber, for example -- had made a similar comment, Fabio would have been able to keep his mouth shut. Privately, he would have critical. Certainly, we've heard him say unkind things in the interviews about his competitor's food based on the rules of Italian cooking. But, at least, he wouldn't have had an outburt at judge's table. Hearing acid/cheese heresy from a chef who purports to produce authentic Italian food completely unsettled Fabio.

                                                                                                                      You can point out that Fabio is on an American cooking competition and he's being asked to cook American food. I certainly can't disagree. I'm only trying to explain the depths of Fabio's outrage based on what -- for him -- are truths engraved in stone.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                        Good thoughts--that's true. It seemed like the judge had it out for Fabio (insecurities about his Italian cuisine?), Fabio was just pushing back a little.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                          I wonder how strictly the acid/cheese thing is followed. Balsalmic ends up next to parmigiano often, which makes sense given the geography.

                                                                                                                          1. re: fame da lupo

                                                                                                                            You're right, of course, about being served lots of plates of Parmigiano-Reggiano drizzled with Balsamico traveling through Emilia-Romagna. Since that combination violates the acid/cheese rule -- and traditional Italian cooks DON'T violate the rules -- we've got to assume that Balsamico isn't considered a vinegar. Of course, here we're probably getting into issues of product quality. Both the cheese and Balsamico we ate in Italy was DOP certified, which means the Balsamico was a minimum of 12-years old. DOP Balsamico, even the youngest version truly doesn't bear any resemblance to the Balsamic vinegar available, even at better grocery stores.

                                                                                                                            And still on the topic of rules, I'm smiling because the Italians have rules about Balsamico. At our Balsamico factory tour, we were told that the 12-year old stuff should be added to cooked foods (e.g. stews and pasta), the 20-year old stuff should be drizzled over food that will receive no cooking (e.g. cheese chunks and strawberries). I think the 25-year old product is actually served as a cordial. I suspect that an Italian, especially one from the DOP regions of Modena and Reggio-Emilia, would faint if he witnessed anyone pouring the stuff most folks think is Balsamic Vinegar over cheese.

                                                                                                                            But -- to bring this post back to TOP CHEF -- you don't have to rely on my own experience. Earlier in this thread, I provided a link to the thoughts of the resident expert on the Italy board -- a restaurant reviewer in Rome -- about the Fabio's acid/cheese outburst. For your convenience, I've copied her reply below:

                                                                                                                            "Poor Fabio! He was absolutely right. But if he had been more furbo (and known his chickens better) he'd have finessed the acid lack with a few drops of balsamico.

                                                                                                                            As it happens, I had two mache salads last week and thought about the acid question. The first was made by a friend who is a very good cook. She dressed the salad with lemon and oil and topped it with shrimp as an antipasto. Everybody else thought it was great but I thought it was way too acidic. The next day, at one of our favorite fish places (Pierino, in Anzio), the final plate of the succession of antipasti was mache topped with shrimp and sort of punctuated with a few tiny strawberries. It had no acid at all, just oil, and was exquisite. I'm with Fabio."

                                                                                                                            1. re: fame da lupo

                                                                                                                              <Balsalmic ends up next to parmigiano often, which makes sense given the geography.>

                                                                                                                              It surely does. But the balsamic most folks eat in US is far different -- and much more acidic -- than what is eaten in Emilia-Romagna. Aged Balsamico bears little resemblance to what we buy here called "Balsamic Vinegar."

                                                                                                                            2. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                              it was acid on salad with cheese.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                Is serving grated cheddar cheese over un-dressed lettuce also consistent with traditional Italian cooking rules? What about the plate with a tuna & swordfish carpaccio, a steak & cheese sandwich (sorry, Fab, that's exactly what it was), and a salad (likely dressed with some acid, no? together on the plate with that steak & cheese?) for last week's QF?

                                                                                                                                In fact, looking back at the recipe on the Bravo website for the venison dish (which don't seem terribly reliable) - (1) the salad in fact was dressed with lemon (acid); (2) the venison was served w/ a mustard sauce and sauerkraut (acid again).

                                                                                                                                I think Fabio just didn't like the tone of the criticism and was lashing out. He's hardly been consistently faithful to any Italian cooking traditions.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                  Tomatoes are acidic. I'm sure Fabio has no problem using cheese with them.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                    And lemon goes with ricotta, but with that said, I'm guessing the acid/cheese rule is in terms of dressing cheese w/ something acidic.

                                                                                                                                    The balsamic rules make sense to me, it's exactly as we (and they) do with "everyday" olive oil versus "good" olive oil. Only to them, simple aceto balsamico tradizionale isn't something particularly "special," in the sense in which it is here (only known to the cognoscenti).

                                                                                                                                    Cheddar on mache isn't my idea of a good time, acid or no.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: fame da lupo

                                                                                                                                      "Cheddar on mache isn't my idea of a good time, acid or no."
                                                                                                                                      ~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                      that was my primary issue too. i just couldn't get past the pairing (and the addition of fruit certainly didn't help). visually, it was pretty appalling as well. it was so unappetizing that i wasn't surprised that he was criticized for it, and i didn't really stop to consider the particulars of the critique.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                      Whoops! Time for a little basic chemistry to clear up your misunderstanding.

                                                                                                                                      The pH scale goes from 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral. Products with numbers lower than 7 are acidic. Products with numbers higher than 7 are alkaline/basic.

                                                                                                                                      The pH of tomatoes is 4.5. The pH of vinegar is 3.0.

                                                                                                                                      These two numbers are quite close so I can understand your statement that if Fabio could pair tomatoes and cheese he should be equally willing to dress a salad with vinegar/lemon juice even if topped with cheese. The reality is that vinegar is approximately 30 times more acidic than tomatoes. (Actually, my husband the scientist says the .5 is equal to the square root of ten, which is approximately 3.16. A scientist would use the more precise calculation to state that vinegar is 31.6 times more acidic than tomatoes.)

                                                                                                                                      The reason behind this huge difference is that the pH scale is a negative logarithm. That means that the concentration of acid increases by a factor of 10 with every whole number. It further increases by a factor of 3 for every difference of .5. You would need to multiply 10 X 3 to understand the acidity difference between the two products.

                                                                                                                                      Bottom line: Science explains why Fabio could indeed have no problem combining cheese and tomatoes and a big problem combining cheese and acid.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                        Impressive! So what about balsamic vinegar? I guess there is no way to gauge the acidity of that without doing an actual test.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                          Right. Too many variables. What passes for Balsamic vinegar in the US bears no resemblance to Balsamico in Italy. Even within Italy, there are both DOP versions and non-DOP versions. (The DOP versions would show less variation from one bottle to another since these vinegars are sold under the DOP lable rather than an individual label. Therefore, the DOP versions all have to conform to specific standards.) Finally, the age of the vinegar radically affects its taste and, presumably, its pH level.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                            unless you buy italian balsamic

                                                                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                              What won't happen if a person buys Italian balsamico?

                                                                                                                              2. re: sommrluv

                                                                                                                                ok, so Conant's treatment of Fabio garnered the headline and some analysis in gawker.com's review of the episode...

                                                                                                                                http://gawker.com/5142002/why-does-gu...

                                                                                                                                and the author - Joshua Stein - apparently isn't a big Toby young fan either :)

                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                  That review was HYSTERICAL. Enlightening line about Conant saying his most humblng moments involved "some Italian standing over him saying 'you stupid american' ".

                                                                                                                                  Earlier I wanted to say his whole backstreet bully bravado struck me as amazingly insecure, reading a little more about him, I'd say SHOCKINGLY insecure. Who in the world opens an Italian restaurant to prove to some (presumably) faceless person from your past that you can make their food?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: sommrluv

                                                                                                                                    Conant came across as a douchebag. I've never seen any judge being so rude.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                      I disagree - I still think Toby Young's stupid comments are even worse. Conant's feedback was valid on the dishes he critiqued; Toby's rarely is, as he's usually got one of his idiotic Elvis comparisons or some such thing that says nothing about the food.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: sommrluv

                                                                                                                                      "Who in the world opens an Italian restaurant to prove to some (presumably) faceless person from your past that you can make their food?"
                                                                                                                                      ~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                      apparently Conant felt he had a lot to prove - he's now got three successful and highly praised Italian restaurants in NYC under his belt. that must be some deep-seated insecurity/resentment he's still harboring...

                                                                                                                            3. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                              Do you really think that Andrew and Spike NEED Red Bull to run amok? ;-)

                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                Well no, but I am sure the producers made sure that it happened on cue.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                  The cue being the little light on the top of the camera going RED. It's Andrew and Spike's "red cape". ;-)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                    ... I know i'm the minority (at least here on CH) but ...

                                                                                                                                    I. Can. Not. Stand. Andrew. Or. Spike. (but Andrew more).

                                                                                                                                    1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                                                      I was not a fan of Andrew or Spike last year either. So you're not alone. But since he hasn't been on the show ALL season, I didn't mind a bit of either of them on this episode. :-)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                                                        I'm with you - and especiallly Andrew.

                                                                                                                                        did anyone catch that horrible faux New Orleans accent he was putting on??
                                                                                                                                        UGHH

                                                                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                          I thought he was imitating Paula Dean. I've never heard anyone here in NOLA sound like that, unless they were from somewhere else. and we don't sound anything like Dennis Quaid in The Big Easy either.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                            He sounded like a hillbilly from Georgia or Alabama. Definitely not even close to New Orleans or Louisiana anywhere really (especially not anywhere near the delta). But for the record, I still think Andrew is awesome. Favorite personality last season.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                              I grew up in the South, and live in New England, and can switch accents back and forth with ease. Andrew's was a mockery of southern accents in general, and Lousiana/NOLA, especially. It was painful. I used to have fun w/Chinese-born friends trying to help them say certain words with southern accents -- they didn't get it. (As I would expect -- my French is equally inadequate in Montreal or Paris, although I understand there's quite a difference.) Anyway, Andrew's accent reminded me of that -- someone totally unfamiliar with an entire region of the country who's maybe watched Paula Deen or Deliverance, but certainly not Paul Prudhomme or The Waterboy ;-)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                Good point on Waterboy. For such a ridiculous movie, many of the accents are surprisingly realistic (if not exaggerated for effect). Best New Orleans movie accents, at least recently, has to go to Benjamin Button. It was so refreshing to hear subtlety used instead of "N'Awlins!" left and right. Even though I lived here (NOLA) during my early years and consistently visited, I never developed an accent. (I can do the Andrew Southern accent quite well though, for some reason). My mother, however, reverts to her New Orleans accent whenever the airplane touches down. It's a bit strange, but understandable.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                  Somehow I really don't think Andrew was shooting for a perfectly authentic New Orleans accent. I think he was just being goofy.

                                                                                                                                  2. From the thread I started. Oh mighty Chow Police, please kill the other thread.

                                                                                                                                    ___________________________________________________________
                                                                                                                                    Stefan wins QF again, and I must admit, his dish looked the best.

                                                                                                                                    Jeff is just all over the freaking place, again.

                                                                                                                                    Hosea, Yawn. I did like what he said about the irony of Leah doing seafood again, of course this time she overcooked the fish, very funny.

                                                                                                                                    Why is it that I am not surprised that Andrew was Carla's favorite?

                                                                                                                                    Andrea is back too, I wonder if she is going to start talking about BM again.

                                                                                                                                    What Miguel without a hat?

                                                                                                                                    Admittedly, this is kind of like a high school reunion seeing those folks.

                                                                                                                                    1. Random thoughts:

                                                                                                                                      - Nice to see Stefan get taken down a notch, particularly after having every advantage this round.

                                                                                                                                      - Sorry to see Jeff go. Overdid it at times, but his and Radhika's were more often than not dishes that actually sounded interesting to me.

                                                                                                                                      - Managed to get through a whole episode without a wretchedly stilted metaphor from Toby Young; fortunately, we had him wearing sunglasses indoors to remind us that he is still a tool.

                                                                                                                                      - Oh, and thanks also to TY for the depth of his insight into what makes for "authentic" New Orleans and Miami food. There was nothing remotely authentic about Carla's "gumbo" and she was the first to admit it, and there's also nothing remotely authentic about "warm ceviche" (eek). If we need an expert on fish & chips, maybe that's when TY ought to start chiming in on authenticity. But I hardly think we need tips on authentic New Orleans cuisine from someone whose review of a London restaurant called the "Big Easy Bar BQ" contained the following gem:

                                                                                                                                      "The Big Easy is modelled on the informal seafood restaurants of America's Gulf Coast, with plain, utilitarian furniture, chequered tablecloths and plastic bibs for those who want to avoid getting crabmeat on their Hawaiian shirts. It's so laid back, it could almost be one of those bars in the French Quarter of New Orleans where the drinkers were undisturbed by Hurricane Katrina. My fellow diners all looked as though they'd consumed several jugs of frozen margaritas before sitting down to tackle one of the restaurant's gigantic meals."

                                                                                                                                      Or, for that matter, tips on "Miami" cuisine (whatever that may be) from someone whose idea of Caribbean food is demonstrated by the following from another review:

                                                                                                                                      "The first time I tried jerk chicken I was worried that it might come back to haunt me a few hours later. This has always been my experience when I've ventured into Nandos and opted for piri piri chicken. But jerk seasoning is surprisingly mild, the Caribbean equivalent of a korma. Admittedly, the spicy taste stays with you long after you've digested the chicken, but I quite like that. As for my stomach, so far I've had no complaints and, much to my wife's annoyance, I now slather everything I eat in jerk sauce. It's taken the place of tomato ketchup in the Young household."

                                                                                                                                      - Jamie's QF dish coated the shrimp with oats and coconut and paired with a nectarine salsa and an avocado puree. I thought it showed some creativity to not just limit herself to throwing some oats and fruit on a plate.

                                                                                                                                      - GHG - they didn't mention Alto or L'Impero because Scott Conant is no longer at either of those restaurants.

                                                                                                                                      34 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                        There was also nothing authentic about Andrea's so-called Tex-Mex chili, it also takes hours to prepare. The dish she prepared did not resemble Texas chili at all. I'm surprised she didn't put beans in it, that would be the final straw. Did anyone notice that Stefan is now in love with Andrea? I wonder if Jamie is jealous?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                          Thought the same thing when TY walked on stage. Arrogant P***k was the first thing that came to mind. He has the aura of confrontation and disruption about him.

                                                                                                                                          I also though who his this guy talking about authenticity of various regional American dishes? When does he have the time to take notice? He is clearly too busy talking, thinking, and writing about himself.

                                                                                                                                          And why would you keep going back to a chicken place if it had such a bad effect on you? Probably so he could complain about it.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                            Toby Young making pronouncements of authenticity was laughable, as were his reviews. Also, how is Nandos caribbean?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                              Nandos isn't Caribbean - TY was just comparing what the Nandos piri piri chicken does to him, thinking jerk chicken would do the same thing. (Piri piri or peri peri sauce can be very spicy, as can jerk sauce).

                                                                                                                                            2. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                              "much to my wife's annoyance, I now slather everything I eat in jerk sauce." -TY

                                                                                                                                              And I always thought "You are what you eat" was just something my Mom said to get me to make me eat my vegetables.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: LabRat

                                                                                                                                                ROFLMAO!!!!! LabRat, BEST response re: Toby Young EVER!!!!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: LabRat

                                                                                                                                                  LabRat wins with a field goal from beneath the shadow of the opponents' goal post.
                                                                                                                                                  Both teams' fans erupt in real cheers.
                                                                                                                                                  Audience hides the big orange fingers in shame.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LabRat

                                                                                                                                                    Good one, LabRat!!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LabRat

                                                                                                                                                      Holy shit. LabRat for the win.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LabRat

                                                                                                                                                        not that it needs to be said again, but Bravo, LabRat :)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                          i'm sorry you all don't like him, but

                                                                                                                                                          let's see...Toby Young has authored two books, contributed to the Evening Standard, the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday and the Spectator. He cofounded the Modern Review, worked for Vanity Fair, has had his work adapted into stage plays and movies, and has been on television in britain and is now a judge on Top Chef. i'll go ahead and assume he got these jobs for reasons other than bribery, nepotism or taking hostages.

                                                                                                                                                          we have...typed anonymous comments on chowhound, the only CV required being, um, a valid email address. the ONLY things required for that is access to the internet and the bare limit of literacy required to register.

                                                                                                                                                          we are talking about him. i'm fairly sure he's not talking about us.

                                                                                                                                                          TY for the win.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                            geez, linus, why so touchy? did lucy steal your blanket? ;)

                                                                                                                                                            ok, let me get this straight...it's fine for Toby Young to make critical, insulting remarks about the food & the skills of the contestants on Top Chef. but it's *not* fine for someone on CH to make a [rather witty] crack at his expense? TY's CV has nothing to do with it. some of us think the guy acts like a bit of an ass at times...and we're entitled to that opinion. i don't care if he's successful, has been published, appears on TV, or whatever else he's done in his career. that doesn't mean i have to like the guy or agree with him. hell, if that was the case, i'd have to like Bill O'Reilly too...and there's about as much a chance of that happening as there is that we'll see someone cook an actual monkey ass on Top Chef this season.

                                                                                                                                                            i'm fairly sure TY knows there are people like us talking about him. and i'm also fairly sure he couldn't care less.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                              i'm fairly sure TY knows there are people like us talking about him. and i'm also fairly sure he couldn't care less.
                                                                                                                                                              ~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                              Actually, I think that's ALL TY cares about - that people talk about him - for good or bad. With TY, it's ALL about TY - nothing more, nothing less. He's still an ass.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                I'm sure he's laughing all the way to the bank, as is Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee so it's funny that there are people who feel the need to defend him. Personally, I decide whether an opinion is good/funny/etc. myself, whether it comes from an anonymous poster on a message board, a construction worker (yeah, it's ego boosting), or wherever. I don't think a bad idea has more merit coming from someone whose CV is well known. That said, I think he seems to have toned it down and he didn't have nearly as many awkward attempts at trying to be clever, like that painful Elvis analogy last week.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                And thank you Toby...

                                                                                                                                                                Your points while very well laid out have really nothing to do with the issue that many of us have. And this would be what exactly are his credentials for judging a popular American cooking competition. If you can tell me please do. Because of the numerous pieces I have read from a number of his publications that in any way come close to gastronomy seem to be essentially all about him.

                                                                                                                                                                Don’t forget that as soon as the first episode aired he wrote a piece in the UK saying, in a nutshell, that he is really too intelligent and sophisticated to be truly appreciated by Americans.

                                                                                                                                                                As for his books they are really all about him being a failure.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                  *we are talking about him. i'm fairly sure he's not talking about us.*
                                                                                                                                                                  Ah, but he is.
                                                                                                                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/588331

                                                                                                                                                                  TY's primary claim to fame in all of the fora you've listed has been his failure to hold down the job, his ability to annoy people, and his ceaseless self-promotion. Kudos to him for finding a way to make a living out of it all.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                    I didn't realize this was a competition and there were "winners" and "losers" for discussion. Interesting view that celebrity trumps all other opinions. And Brittney Spears wins because we know who she is and she doesn't know any of us. And, ergo, Brittney Spears wins because he knows of her but chances are she has no idea who he is. After all, we know she has her recording contracts, TV appearance, etc. because of her talent, not her hostage taking ability.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                      Ya - I am really sick of all the TY bashing
                                                                                                                                                                      Grow up everyone - he's not that bad
                                                                                                                                                                      You all sound really childish.

                                                                                                                                                                      Tho - labrats bit was quite funny!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                        What makes criticquing the judge childish but critiquing everyone else not? Is it because you don't find him that bad?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                          I don't know - maybe...
                                                                                                                                                                          but it's just like beating a dead horse..and I'm not really sure why...
                                                                                                                                                                          Personally I think Padma is dreadful, but I don't go around bad-mouthing her on this board....
                                                                                                                                                                          I don't see a bandwagon of folks critizing anyone else on this boads (except maybe Stefan in the past - and I didn't like that either.

                                                                                                                                                                          I feel like we havent even seen enough of him to dislike him yet!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                            "I don't see a bandwagon of folks critizing anyone else on this boads (except maybe Stefan in the past - and I didn't like that either."
                                                                                                                                                                            ~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                            Then you've never read the various posts about Rachael Ray or Sandra Lee. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                              LOL - no I havent!
                                                                                                                                                                              I'm pretty new around here at CH

                                                                                                                                                                              Tofu - you really like Padma? Really???

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                I think of all the women on earth only Mrs. Tofuburrito has an edge in beauty, sweetness and graciousness over Padma.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                                  LOL
                                                                                                                                                                                  she's sweet and lovely for sure...but not so much as a tv personality - bleh!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                    NellyNel - did you happen to watch the first season of Top Chef when Billy Joel's wife, Katie Joel, was the hostess? Believe me - Padma is a 150% improvement!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                      You underestimate the edge that Padma has over Katie (Stepford Wife) Joel. Padma is at least an order of magnitude better.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                        I have only seen a few re-runs of the first season.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Yikes then!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                          OK, "an order of magnitude" works for me, Phaedrus. :-) God, just thinking of Katie and remembering hoping that she'd get better....but it just got worse. :::::shudder:::::

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                  LOL, that's what I was thinking. Actually very few famous celebrity cooks have gone unscathed here. Just reading the Julia Childs thread, Alton Brown and Alice Waters take a beating. I think it might be easier to come up with a list of people who haven't than have. But, it's one thing I like about CH--the many different opinions.

                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                  To bad mouth Padma would be a crime against humanity.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                    There are so many posters on this board that even if a tiny percentage of them said just one thing, it ends up being a lot of comments and might seem like a bandwagon. At the same time, I do think it's ironic that TY has the harshest (and most off the wall) criticisms but that negative comments about him are then criticized. If you have never critiqued, or said anything negative about anyone on these boards, that's your choice but I find well thought out comments, negative or positive, interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                                    "I feel like we havent even seen enough of him to dislike him yet!"

                                                                                                                                                                                    Again, that's your opinion but that doesn't mean others haven't.

                                                                                                                                                                                    "Personally I think Padma is dreadful, but I don't go around bad-mouthing her on this board...."

                                                                                                                                                                                    Ironic comment. There have been plenty of comments about Padma, too, over the years.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                      Toby's getting more bandwidth because he's new. People's opinions about the other Top Chef judges are old news. That said, I think that when Toby is doing serious critiquing he's fine. It's when he trots out one of those labored, supposed to be witty, analogies that he's really insufferable. I realized that what's bad about them isn't just that they're labored and not particularly clever, but that they don't have anything specific to do with the dish he's critquing. Saying that Radhika's soup was a "weapon of mass destruction" really didn't tell me anything about it except that he didn't like it. Same with describing a meal as being like "the career of Elvis Preseley" -- there are lots of things and experiences that could be described that way! And you know, Tony Bourdain could have taken the same analogy, phrased it much more succinctly and less laboriously, and it would actually have been funny!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                        I said that to my husband the last episode--that he was making good constructive comments, both criticizing and praising. It's when he tries to be witty that he fails as with that Elvis comment. Or, when he tries to be like Simon Cowell and is mean without being helpful--the cat food comment or WMD. One thing I think makes a good judge is being able to offer helpful comments and let the viewers understand what's happening. We can't taste the food, help us know what it's really like.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                The cardinal rule is that if you're a critic -- especially one who wants to be known for a supposedly killer bon mot -- your wit had better be as sharp as you think it is, or you deserve every bit of the derision your "inferiors" will hurl your way.

                                                                                                                                                                                I think he's much worse than just plain not funny. He's actively unfunny -- and haughty about it. That combination is painful and ridiculous, no matter who's dishing it out.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Tom's blog is up, all two pages of it.
                                                                                                                                                                          He does admit to the absurdity of calling the brought-back chefs "All Stars" and is rather blunt about it.
                                                                                                                                                                          He also indicates displeasure at letting the students decide ties and said it appeared to be more of a personality contest than a cooking contest.

                                                                                                                                                                          He says Jeff's was the worst tasting, but nothing about the winners aside from some quibbling about Andrea's and Jamie's.

                                                                                                                                                                          He's loosing interest fast.

                                                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                                            Considering they just got finished filming the finale, I can see why he would be (a) tired, and (b) not very interested in something that happened months ago.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                              I wonder if he wrote each blog as the episode is filmed, though. It would make more sense than to do it all at once.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                He makes references to the editing of the shows though. He wouldn't know about how an episode is edited, or what happened in the kitchen, until seeing the show air.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                                  You're right. He could watch the episode first which explains why the blogs aren't posted immediately after the showing. I always forget to read them unless someone's posted about them.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                                    I am sure he is seeing these episodes before they air. I was in TV Programming for over 20 years, and it is customary to have copies of an episode shown to quite a few people before an episode airs. All that bleeping is done by Standards and Practices, and the techs have to time the episode breaks to the commercials. Tons of people see a show many times before it airs, and it is edited and re-edited with notes from the producers and from the Bravo execs in charge of supervising the show for the network. I would be very surprised if the principals haven't also watched it first.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                      True, but he still probably doesn't see them until well after they are actually filmed. Most likely sometime after the entire six weeks has passed.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                                                You can tell, the one girl raised her foam finger only after her seatmate did.

                                                                                                                                                                                Tom has contradicted himself in his judging too much, for me, and I think we'll see the end of Top Chef with the rollout of Top Chef JUNIOR and Top Chef MASTERS coming soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                                                  "He also indicates displeasure at letting the students decide ties and said it appeared to be more of a personality contest than a cooking contest."
                                                                                                                                                                                  ~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                  i thought that was pretty clear from Fabio's field goal.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Thoughts
                                                                                                                                                                                  Jeff goes home while Leah stays...
                                                                                                                                                                                  Leah is at the winner's judging because Nikki cooks chicken liver... Come on! Who would pick chicken liver over beef? That was a gimme to Leah.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Who is Camile? She's the only all-star I didn't recognize.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Stefan 0 points!
                                                                                                                                                                                  Carla wins 2 Superbowl tix! Wow!
                                                                                                                                                                                  TC5 score card written by Stefan?

                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                                                    Camile is from the Miami season. She got roughly five minutes total screen time before she lost at judge's table. The only reason I remember her is because I remember thinking that I had no idea that there was a contestant named Camile until she was told to PYKAG.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                                                      *Who would pick chicken liver over beef?*
                                                                                                                                                                                      Me - depending on the prep. I was never a big Nikki fan but her dish sounded much better (and more NY - chicken livers over challah with a NY-produced goat cheese) to me than Leah's, which was just a NY strip with creamed corn and an arugula salad. Yawn.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                                                                        I was thinking the same thing. I didn't "see" NY in Leah's dish. Nikki's dish made me hungry.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                                                                          To be honest, Nikki's dish did sounded much more appealing to me. Also, I agree Leah's dish was boring. I definitely would have tried Nikki's dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                          In my mind, sauteed chicken livers can become gritty erasers in a split-second which is a childhood memory I haven't gotten over... lol.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                                                          I gotta say, I'd choose chicken liver to EAT over beef any day of the week. It's probably my No. 1 favorite not-every-day meat, actually.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Yippee Carla, with a super-smart way to tackle an extremely difficult challenge. Her making a fast version of an "impossible in 20 minutes" food is way more impressive than slapping together a salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                          And yay to Stefan for getting knocked down by someone he thinks is below him -- and especially because of his disgusting, sexist drooling over her. I think he's the most repulsive cheftestant ever on the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3. This turned out to be an interesting episode because it flipped the usual results, and therefore people's reconceptions about how things would turn out. I was so thrilled that my future BFF Carla won the elimination challenge even though describing her dish as gumbo was a real stretch. Did anyone catch Stefan's comment about how it was his first time in the bottom three so he didn't think that he was going home? I love Fabio and think that, like Carla, he is a wonderful television personality, but it really did seem to me that his dish was the worst of the lot. I have no predictions about who is going to win this season's Top Chef, but if I were programming Bravo (or even FN!), I would find a way to use either Carla or Fabio in future TV shows.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                            Stefan's dish was a tie for the judges, either Jeff and/or Fabio actually lost with the judges. I wouldn't think that he was bullet proof simply because he's never been in the bottom 3 before.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                                              This is now the second time that Stefan did a "duo of meat" - he actually won a QF with it once, this one didn't do nearly as well. I don't get it at all, just seems like a terribly conceived dish. Why would I want to eat a steak and a pork loin as one dish? OTOH, it seems to have slipped notice that Stefan has had repeated success with dessert dishes (QF here, Restaurant Wars last week ...) - maybe he should be the resident "Dessert Bitch" instead of Carla.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Am i wrong in thinking this is the first time a cheftestant has used tofu as their primary protein? (no wait i forgot about the pork marinated tofu, maybe the first vegetarian application of tofu on the show? i know carla didnt win for the tofu but i think it says a lot about the show when a tofu maker wins ANY challenge - and i eat a fair amount of tofu).

                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tex.s.toast

                                                                                                                                                                                              Blaise did a beef fat marinated tofu last season that the judges swooned over. Close to the finals (if not the finals), IIRC.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Dee S

                                                                                                                                                                                                That was more middle-of-the-season, IIRC -- there were still plenty of players. It was the Improv challenge, when his team got "perplexed," but I don't remember the other words -- a color and a food?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Dee S

                                                                                                                                                                                                  He and Dale. Was it in the comedy challenge? Everyone loved the dish, I think.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I love that Carla showed us a little something this week. It seemed she was doomed to do desserts forever and it was hard to tell how good her food could really be. But both her QF and her winning dish seemed excellent as well as well thought out. She could have easily gone the dessert route in quickfire, but she didn't and she almost won. And while her dish was not really gumbo, it certainly seemed delicious. A creole take on shrimp and grits sounds good to me. Maybe it will serve her well in NOLA (if she makes it there).

                                                                                                                                                                                                And it seems Jeff never understood that complex does not have to mean complicated. Finally caught up to him. Weird JT this week in that the bottom three could have easily been anyone's pick for final 3 as late as last week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I was sad to see Jeff go. I don't think he had the potential to be in the finals but he had potential, if he could reign in the energy. Wasn't it apparent from the first episode or two when Fabio made a comment that he was running all over the place and hadn't started plating when it was near time to serve? Jeff couldn't serve everything he had planned/prepped; and he never learned. Actually, I'll bet Jeff would be great if he took Ritalin before cooking (coming from someone who's also all over the place and trying to get too much done, only the mind keeps going and adding on...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Anybody think this challenge was culturally unfair to our Euro Boys?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Neither of them can really be expected to understand the NFL food of Green Bay or Dallas. I felt bad for them. Even if your a lady in the US, you probably have a brother or father who watches the NFL. Not so much with Fabio or Stephan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    What if this was based on the Premier League of the UK? We could have dropped Jamie into cooking for Arsenal, what would she have come up with? Or Hosea in Manchester, cooking for Manchester United? I think they would have done poorly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm not saying TC's shouldn't know something about the regional cuisines of the world. I don't know that they need to know League sports in the context of a very specific cultural region. They were really at a disadvantage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mmerino

                                                                                                                                                                                                      However, I don't think that either Fabio or Stephan are "fresh off da boat" as Fabio has said. Haven't they both been cooking in the U.S. for some time? Enough time to gain some understanding of regionalities in cooking as well as know something about American football?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mmerino

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Also, Stefan CHOSE dallas. One would think that to have meant he knew what to expect from his secret ingredients. then again, anyone who is prompted to make a texas meal and thinks Salads! is clearly operating on thier own logic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tex.s.toast

                                                                                                                                                                                                          the ingredients didn't seem secret - which is why i think stefan choose dallas

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: mmerino

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Not that much of a disadvantage. The teams were really only placeholder's for regional cuisine, so not knowing about the sport shouldn't be too big a deal. Now yes, they are at a bit of a disadvantage in that they are less likely to know about a region than the other TCs; however, they both knew this was an American show coming in, so they should have been prepared to be thrown for a loop a few times. Not to mention, Fabio's was apparently pretty good, he just overcooked his venison way too much. Stefan seemed to miss the point of Dallas though. Which makes me wonder why he picked it in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Why did Stefan pick Dallas? He had the right to pick the team AND his opponent, right? Meaning he could've picked the Packers and Andrea? He could've done up his German food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Exactly. Now it did seem venison was the meat the GB chefs were given, but certainly he could have prepared a dish more appropriate to the region. And he has done some good seafood as well, so Seattle, Miami or S.F. would have made sense. I wonder if it was something as silly as the Cowboys being the only team he recognized.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I thought he picked Dallas because he expected to get a meat-centric basket vs. a vegetarian chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JRSD

                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's probably true. It was hubris on his part really.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: mmerino

                                                                                                                                                                                                              You could argue it was unfair if they were actually expected to make tail-gate style food or some other football connection, but other than the "regional" ingredient selection, it didn't seem there were any such restrictions (at least any that were followed). Incidentally, has nobody noted that the NFL does not have an "All-Star" game? In football it's called the Po Bowl (and apparently Bravo didn't want to pay to use "Super Bowl," which I think the league guards the use of pretty closely).

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                                                                                                BUT everyone judging has some context in which they approach an NFL TYPE Bowl game/League Sports. Don't you think if Fabio had known to do an awesome Venison BBQ sandwich with some interesting light cheese sauce (instead of that AWFUL looking stone fruit and cheddar salad), or whatever, that he would have done better with all the judges?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Look at the nachos and other finger food-ish things, they did well. I think there was an expectation with all the NFL gear and hoo-rah attitude that the American Psyche relates to. I certainly have expectations about what I will eat when watching an "All Star Bowl."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Even if they aren't "Fresh Off the Boat" what Chef has time to get into Football with their schedules? Unless their Restos are closed Sunday & Monday or they work in football towns, which neither do, Stefan, LV and most recently Santa Monica(LA) and Fabio, Moorpark(LA), I don't see much of a chance to "get" those "Big Bowl/Sport" nuances. I'm not saying being a chef precludes being in tune with our sports psyche but it seems a bit of a unique set of passions especially for guys from Europe where Football/Soccer is king.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The NFL crowbar was bad, it changes expectations. Again, what if it was Manchester United or Arsenal? What would Hosea and Jamie come up with? Would they win or be in the bottom?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mmerino

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  At this point, your premise is only valid (IMO) if this were a British cooking competition show. But it's not. It's an American cooking competition show. Both Fabio and Stephan knew that going in. They take whatever is thrown at them. Just as a vegetarian chef might have to take the meat and/or seafood that's thrown at them during the competition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mmerino

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    None of the dishes had the slightest thing to do with football so Fabio wasn't at any disadvantage other than that he overcooked his venison and made a lousy, un-dressed salad with cheddar cheese grated over it. He was beaten by Spike's five-spice venison with a port sauce and micro herbs - not exactly tailgating fare. Nobody made nachos and the only thing close to finger food was Hosea's salmon rolls. The winning dish was a crawfish "gumbo" (which was nothing of the sort) served over grits, which is something I think you'd be hard-pressed to find at a Saints game.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Actually - Jeff's sequester house interview said while Josie's warm ceviche was good (he did taste it), he would have called it "shrimp nachos" because that's more what it was like. So I guess someone did make nachos. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm pretty sure he said shrimp enchilado, which would be a Cuban shrimp stew (which is indeed more like what the dish was).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Quite possibly....the sound wasn't all that loud on my PC. Could have sworn I heard nachos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Congratulations to the editors for stumping me! With the way it was edited, I thought it was going to be Fabio -- his sick mama, so much screen time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sigh -- I was kind of hoping Jeff would make it to the final four. I think he's got potential (and those shirtless scenes weren't too bad either). But he gets way too complicated for his own good. Wow! Listening to his interviews, he's really an intense guy and takes everything way too seriously. I think if he lightened up throughout the competition, he would have done better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think the 'tricky' editing did them a diservice. They played up how badly Fabio did. His dish sounded horrible. He gave them some sad excuse about how it was all the cabbage's fault. Then Jeff is sent home for some vauge reason.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They should have found a way to make it clearer as to why Jeff was send packing. Perhaps the editors like Jeff over thought their work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The show's edit made it seem like Fabio was headed home, and then they switched and booted Jeff. I didn't feel strongly about Jeff's cooking -- I felt like he was there for the "pretty boy" factor as much as his technique. But what bothered me was when Fabio was rude to the guest judge: even though it's an emotional moment, they had every right to call him on it. These people hold your fate in their hands.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Now, it's time to see Leah go, and then we'll be down to a group that can really throw down in the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Personally, I am sad to see Jeff go. he was one of the few cheftestants this year to show much originality in his cooking. Then again, it seemed the contestants who lost their round each had the more original sounding dish or more original combination of ingredients. I guess simplicity is the theme this year. At least it would explain Leah's continued stay on a show for which she really does not appear qualified (I thought Nikki was weak last year and yesterday she looked superior to a few cheftestants this season). Anyhow, at least we still have Fabio's great and kindhearted dialogue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  By any chance, did anyone notice Colicchio sided with Conant every time?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Icantread

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Me too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I am a home cook who's specializes in good 'ole rustic food -
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I found Jeffs food to be innovative and interesting....as well as likght and refreshing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think of all the chefs this year - his food appealed to me most (I suppose because it is not something I could do myself and what I would look for dining out)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    He also seems like a really nice guy, however quite intense.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I felt really bad for him when he said that this experience (failure in his eyes) will stick with him for at least a decade. Gosh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    However, as you said, I am still happy Fabio is there, as well as Stefan who I really like as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was very surprised that Leah won her challange; her food was beyond simple.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You are so right about simplicity being the theme this year....not sure how I feel about that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      His sequester house interview was also painful to watch. He was *really* down about failing himself. I'm hoping that, 4-5 months later, he's got a better perspective on the whole thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I am sure they will have enough alcohol at the sequester house for him to drown his sorrows.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think it was Radhika who made/poured the shots (something pink, which didn't look too appetizing, but after a few of 'em, who cares? LOL)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Simplicity is the theme b/c this season's chefs always fail when they go beyond.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Jeff just never got it together enough for me to want him to win. And then he really lost me on this episode with his whining about Josie's ceviche. Don't complain about her dish not being authentic, when you are making cooked shrimp and calling it ceviche.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sorry, if that's what I lost to, I would have been very bummed as well. It looked like prison glop.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Was this supposed to be food for watching the superbowl?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Or just Superbowl inspired?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tom did praise Jamie for making something that didn't require silverware.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Any hints as to a connection between Top Chef and the real Superbowl on Sunday, again something Tom alluded to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I read it as "football-inspired" - based on the regional foods for the teams they chose to have represented. And I guess they gave them a cooler of food from that region....I'm not sure if the challenge *required* that they use all of them items in the cooler (i.e., Fabio using venison as well as shaving the cheddar cheese onto the maché salad).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I have to say, I found this episode a very annoying experience. The relentless mugging by the "all-stars," Stefan's stratospheric ego on hyeprdrive even compared to previous edits, the Fabio-Scott Conant sniping, etc. About the only moment I actually enjoyed was Stefan's sweet comeuppance after he both underestimated and insulted Andrea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You know how Stefan had that interview after his loss to Andrea where he suddenly "thinks he's in love"? And previously, tells us twice how attracted he finds Jamie? Seems he gets these notions about the only women he feels are his real competition in the kitchen. Just saying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't want to spend too much time thinking about Stefan's sexual preferences, but he does seem to be attracted to women who can kick his butt. You know, some very high-powered, arrogant men like to be dominated in the bedroom. I'm just sayin'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Stefan has low standards for women he likes to have sex with. He doesn't respect Jamie or Andrea, and never will.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I believe Fabio gave the Italian gesture for F U during the episode. Did anyone else catch that? Was that meant for Conant?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I didn't catch that. I was surprised, though, that they didn't bleep "shat" which is the past tense of "shit"!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That struck me as odd also.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was pretty surprised to see Fabio doing the big F U on TV. I thougt everyone knows that gesture....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh my gosh!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      when??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I missed both the "FU" gesture AND the "shat"!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i don't remember exactly when Fabio's F-U occurred, but the other conversation was the very first scene of the episode, when Leah, Hosea, and Stefan were sitting at the breakfast table. Leah started it with a comment along the lines of "i totally got shatted on last time," and Hosea agreed with something akin to "you were the shatster." it was juvenile and ridiculous, as usual.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I remember the "shatted on" comment, but don't recall seeing the Fabio version of F-U. I'm assuming that's part of what was cut for the show repeats.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            On cable there's a lot more latitude as to what's permissible. I assume Bravo has guidelines, but it's probably largely up to the producers when it comes to things like gestures. If Fabio used the European version of the gesture rather than the American one, they may have decided it was "colorful" rather than obscene. And apparently they went with the letter of the law (specifically prohibiting "shit") rather than the spirit. It's really kind of silly -- it's quite clear what they're saying under the bleeps. If they really wanted to they could remove the word instead of bleeping over it; they're just paying lip service to the rules.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Actually, it's only broadcast on which you legally can't say "shit," I believe; it's permissable, but not generally done on basic cable, and I've heard it, though I think maybe only on scripted shows, which may have more leeway (and each channel has its own S&P dept., of course, which will differ).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sorry. I should have said what I meant, which is that the Bravo "law"/guideline/standard and practice is apparently to bleep "shit." I'm not actually sure about whether basic cable/free cable can go as far as pay cable, which can do anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You can actually say "shit" on broadcast after 9 pm EST I believe, provided you have a disclaimer prior to programming. I know there have been shows that did this. And I've seen uncut movies (Saving Private Ryan for example) aired this way. I think most stations, including those on cable, prefer their programs have no more than a TV14 rating though, to bring in more viewers. And I'm guessing Ruth is correct in that the bleeping is NBC, or Bravo at least, law because FX, which is the same pay level as Bravo rarely bleeps out anything. (i.e. The Shield).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A scripted show doesn't have to be bleeped because what the characters say has been decided in advance. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's only "reality" shows/live shows that need bleeping.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It wasn't for Conant, IIRC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Seemed like they kept Fabio for his personality / Q rating factor. Don't get me wrong, he's fun to watch and listen to, but his venison / salad sounded simply awful. Ariane got dinged because she didn't "honor the protein," but Fabio's venision seemed even more poorly done. And his excuse that it seemed overcooked because of the time it sat on the plate was kooky. Jeff's ceviche didn't seem to turn anyone's stomach; didn't Padma even pick his over Josie's?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Both were lookers, so the producers were probably sorry to see either of them go, and of those remaining, Leah seems the weakest of the lot. I hate to see the Cheftestants who play it safe slide by every week. Anyway I'll miss Jeff because I thought he was creative, adventurous and hot as hell.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: forsythia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The explanation for the overcooked venison was that the put it over the hot cabbage, and the heat from the cabbage caused it to continue to cook. Which makes perfect sense to me. He didn't account for the fact that the venison would be sitting on a bed of hot cabbage for several minutes while they tasted the other dish. The problem with venison (and other game) is that it's very unforgiving of overcooking, so there isn't a lot of room for error.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            this defense makes sense in theory, but Fabio had already commented on camera that he was concerned the venison was "too cooked for my liking." i know the judges don't see those "confessions" before they taste the food, but he still knew he had screwed it up before he served it. he was just trying to cover his ass - which any one of them would have done, but it doesn't change the fact that the venison was over-cooked, cabbage or no cabbage. besides, they've been doing this long enough now to know that there's a potential for waiting time between when they finish cooking & when the judges taste their food, so the chefs need to time it better - timing is just as important in a restaurant kitchen. Fabio should have realized the cabbage would "cook" the venison further, and either adjusted for it when he cooked the meat, or plated it differently to avoid the issue entirely. (personally i thought he should have tweaked the entire presentation - that salad looked pretty nasty).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't remember the comment you're referencing, but it seems unlikely given the set up (that they were cooking, plating and being judged all together in front of the audience) that it was actually said before the judging. The interviews are done later and either the full video or an audio voiceover is edited into wherever it provides the best commentary on what happened. Thus, when he said it was "too cooked for my liking" he could well have been referring to the final condition of the dish, as judged, after the judging.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Whether it would have sat too long depended on whether his plate was judged first or second. It's really hard to present food that has to sit for an unknown amount of time and not be either overcooked or cold. At least in a restaurant you can put it under a heat lamp if it's not being served immediately.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I forget exactly what Fabio said, but it seemed to imply he knew the venison was way overcooked even before plating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  that's the one i was talking about. and though i'm sure Ruth is correct, and Fabio probably was filmed making that particular comment AFTER judging, it was still an acknowledgment that he knew *before* plating his dish that the venison was overcooked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's my recollection, as well. Sure, Fabio could have altered his perception by whenever he did the interview, but we did get his comment that he knew it was overcooked as he assembled the dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Also, I don't believe all the interviews are done after the judging. Participants in both TC and Project Runway have commented that their long days include waiting for camera setups, being pulled away for interviews between other filming, etc. So Fabio could very well have made that comment after he cooked but before JT.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      True, not all interviews are filmed after judging. Sometimes the food is served, the judges discuss it, and the cheftestant is interviewed back in the kitchen without hearing the judges comments. But in this case, the food was cooked, served and judged right there on stage -- there was no way to have done an interview between the cooking and judging. There's no way to know for sure if he knew it was overcooked before it was plated. It's also possible that it was more done than he would have liked but would have been okay if eaten immediately, but while it was sitting it went from borderline acceptable to unacceptable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I know when she won the Super Bowl tickets, some of us were thinking, "Awesome prize, too bad it's the Cards and the Steelers this year." But damn, that game was fantastic and may stand up as a top 5 Super Bowl of all time (at least top 10). What a prize.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Secondly, a question. Did anyone see the entirety of the Top Chef Super Bowl Pregame show cook-off? I saw right at the beginning but was too busy in the kitchen to see how those dishes turned out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I saw the very end of it. I think one of Antonia and Andrew's dishes was a chili and I know Richard and Spike made a Korean-bbq-style steak because Hines Ward is half Korean. They won and seemed geniunely excited. BTW, way to go Steelers!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dmjordan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well they would be excited since I heard that the prize for winning was tickets to the game. Nice idea by them to do Korean bbq for Hines Ward. Normally I would say go Eagles!, but on Sunday I did say go Steelers!