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Top Chef-Last Meal (Spoiler)

Carla used to model? I didn't see that coming.

Wylie Dufresne is the guest judge.

QF is eggs, to surprise Dufresne.

Hah hah, hauling aspic, cute.

Go Carla!!! Stefan is up there too. AND CARLA FREAKIN' WINS! You go girl!

The elimination is kewl! Carla gets Jacques Pepin, five course last meal. Very cool. This is one on one. Seems kind of skewed, I'm interested in seeing how they judge it.

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  1. This was part of the previews I saw online last week - was thrilled to see that Carla drew the Jacques Pepin knife...loved her comment "Jacques wants PEAS? Jacques and I are :::just like that::: with the peas!"

    Kinda figured that Carla was going to win the QF when I saw Hosea say her dish was too simple. Hey - complicated is what got Jeff booted off. K.I.S.S. :-)

    3 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit

      Is all Hosea does is whine?

      1. re: LaLa

        He and Leah can be Doug and Wendy!

        1. re: LaLa

          Yeah. It's not looking good for him or Stefan. Unanimous on the overcooked salmon. Could be the death knell, and he knows it in the stew room.

      2. i like the idea of this EC, and i knew Carla would keep Jacques Pepin - she gets to cook what she knows. i'm so glad she won the QF!

        Leah sounds like a freaking broken record. "I almost went home last week and I have to prove myself." how many weeks in a row has she said that?

        i've been saying all day that i have this nagging feeling Stefan is going home tonight, and the editing has me thinking i'm right. they keep showing clips of him talking about how he's going to make it to the finals...

        ETA: ok, Stefan's going home. that comment about how he can run circles around Hosea in the kitchen, and he doesn't have the balls to be a chef...and now he just said "there's no possible way I can screw up this dish." he's going down.

        1. ROFL! Fabio's comment about his broken finger: "I'll chop it off and sear it on the flattop before I leave!" - priceless!

          10 Replies
          1. re: LindaWhit

            he's cracking me up tonight - they just keep on coming!

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              He also said "This is Top Chef, not Top Pussy"...in reference to his finger injury.

              1. re: Husky

                discussed at length further down the thread...

            2. re: LindaWhit

              one of the great lines of the evening!

              1. re: smtucker

                He had another really good one, about being kicked in the ass so many times he's still crapping boots.

                1. re: kmcarr

                  ROFL! I missed that one! That's pretty damn good!

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    that is. i missed it too.

                  2. re: kmcarr

                    So THAT's what he said. I couldn't get through the Italian accent.

                    1. re: kmcarr

                      He's a gem...so many t-shirt moments from him this season......I'm glad he did well this time, especially after his finger.

                      The @ss comment was along the lines of "I been kicked in ass so many times I still pull boots out from there some times."

                  3. re: LindaWhit

                    That was great. I love Fabio's comments....he's hilarious! And adorable to boot!!

                  4. Interesting, the texting poll listed only Carla, Hosea, and Fabio, totally ignoring Stefan and Leah. Is this some kind of foreshadowing? or is it just throwing out the high and the low?

                    Anyone catch Fabio's discombobulated comment about kicking ass?

                    Carla is hilarious talking about Stefan's over reaching.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Phaedrus

                      Interesting - hadn't thought about that!

                      However....when I heard what Stefan was preparing - salmon with dill sauce (what Samuelsson is supposed to like) - I immediately thought "It's nothing different; is that going to impress the judges?"

                      1. re: Phaedrus

                        i think that's going to be the final three, but the poll choices *might* be a coincidence.

                      2. how can you not love carla. she is SO fabulous! :)

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: AMFM

                          Aargh Stephan overcooked his salmon.

                          1. re: AMFM

                            Meh. I was hoping to see her go quite some time ago.

                          2. Stefan's toast. he overcooked the salmon. buh-bye.

                            and Tom totally just stepped in & defended Hosea...and Carla!

                            yay Fabio!! he nailed it!

                            1. Stefan OVERCOOKED the salmon? Holy smokes!

                              14 Replies
                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                And Fabio nailed the chicken (although his salad wasn't well received). Carla? She's up....she kept it simple, and nailed it - Jacques Pepin loved it!

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  agreed - i was so happy for her when pepin said "i could die happy now". just what she wanted to hear!

                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                  But it can not be!! Stefan? Fail? Not possible!! Mr. Perfection? The legend in his own mind?

                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                    Yeah - if he goes? It's going to be amazing!

                                    And did Fabio just say what I thought he said?

                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      the "it's top chef, not top...."? yep he said it. hilarious! :)

                                      1. re: AMFM

                                        And it's not being censored which annoyed me.

                                        1. re: TampaAurora

                                          it's 10 pm on cable and it's only a "bad" word in context so it's hard to edit. it's certainly not a word that the censors should look for automatically - i mean didn't tweety bird say it all the time?

                                          1. re: AMFM

                                            Damn....I watched the show and missed the line...anyone care to tell me the word? You can always email me at the address on my profile if you're unwilling to write it.....
                                            Fabio does make me laugh!

                                            1. re: janetofreno

                                              Let's just say it's another word for "kitty". ;-)

                                              1. re: janetofreno

                                                Pussy.

                                          2. re: AMFM

                                            That had better NOT be the tee-shirt on the reunion show! ROFL! Although after last year's Culinary Boner shirt, I wouldn't be surprised!

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              OK, that was a coffee spitter. That would be an interesting t-shirt.

                                            2. re: AMFM

                                              I missed it. What did he say? I love it when they get dirty!

                                              1. re: mojoeater

                                                it's only words people.
                                                like george carlin said
                                                you can go to a disney movie and they can say "im gonna snatch that pussy and put it in a box"

                                      2. How critical can we be?
                                        Are the last supperites wearing tennis shoes for a criticality race at the end of this?

                                        1. Did Fabio make Marcella Hazan's Roast Chicken?

                                          11 Replies
                                          1. re: TampaAurora

                                            He made his Grandmother's Roast Chicken. Do you think Marcella Hazan invented Italian cooking?

                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                              Oh snap. I thought Fabio garnered some of the highest praise that he could open a restaurant with his chicken dish. It DID look scrumptious. in total agreement with M. Pepin that the peas and chicken would be a fabulous meal. M. Pepin is a gracious class act. What a joy to see him and Lidia Bastianich dining together.

                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                No, but I just made that chicken last week and thought it sounded familiar.

                                                1. re: TampaAurora

                                                  To be fair, it was unclear how he made the chicken, aside from roasting it. His grandmother's recipe could have had lemon in it, a la Marcella.

                                                  1. re: fame da lupo

                                                    I don't think it's anyone's chicken other than his grandmother's. The recipe is here: http://tinyurl.com/c7x6ah It's a basic roast chicken with lemon, rosemary & sage inside, and salt and pepper. I don't think his grandmother came up with it, nor did Marcella. It's probably been done for many years before either were born.

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      Some meals are just classics. I wasn't saying anything against Fabio, it was a simple question. I only know roast chicken from her (it was how my mother made chicken - based on her recipe I just recently found out), and I wasn't sure if he did anything different. I think it would be my last meal request.
                                                      My grandmother's recipes are some of the same found in Joan Nathan - and she bought the cookbooks after I showed them to her because they reminded her of her family's cooking.

                                                      1. re: TampaAurora

                                                        Marcella's recipe for roast chicken is fabulous, for sure! been making that for many years in one variation or another. I am sure that roast chicken would have been what I would have chosen for my last meal, too.

                                                        I also do a "French" version with herbed butter rubbed under the skin.

                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                          With all this talk, I'm craving roasted chicken right now. :-)

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            me too!
                                                            and I'm not even too crazy about RC!

                                                          2. re: ChefJune

                                                            Marcella's chicken is great, but y'all should really try the Zuni Cafe recipe: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4401342. Sadly,

                                                      2. re: fame da lupo

                                                        I thought I saw evidence of bulges under the skin of the chicken, the kind made by butter. Didn't they buy European butter at Whole Foods, or did they just joke about it?

                                                2. ok, i don't think there will be any surprises here.

                                                  Stefan's going home.

                                                  Leah & Hosea are both staying even though they both sort of tripped up, and neither of them wowed anyone. again.

                                                  and Carla & Fabio are clearly the top two. actually, i think Carla will take it because of Fabio's "airplane salad."

                                                  8 Replies
                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                    Jacques Pepin saying he could die a happy man after eating her meal will hopefully say it all. At the beginning, I was not impressed with her at all but she has changed my mind. I'd be happy right now if Fabio or Carla won.

                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                      Yeah, Lidia definitely liked her chicken, but the comments about the airplane salad just might put him in 2nd.

                                                      Although.....the younger judges said Carla's squab was overcooked, when Pepin, Bastianich and Ungaro all seemed to like the squab as it was.

                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                        Pepin's point during judging was that the squab wasn't really overcooked. What happened was that since it was put under a heat lamp after it was sliced, the surface of the slices browned slightly, so the slices didn't *appear* rare, but in fact they were still rare underneath the surface of the slices.

                                                        One of the ongoing problems with the structure of Top Chef challenges is that it's almost impossible not to slightly overcook your "protein." It *has* to be on the plate when the timer goes off, which means the chef has to err on the side of finishing it early and then try to keep it warm without overcooking until it is time to serve. Otherwise, you risk having to plate food that's *undercooked* (and/or that has to be sliced before it's rested) and hope that it's just right when it hits the table.

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          Tom's remark at judging seemed pretty graceless: you geriatric old chefs, Lydia and Jaques, like the squab well-done, while those of us who are younger, not OLD like you, like it less cooked....

                                                          1. re: Nettie

                                                            i didn;t hear it that way at all. he made it sound like a stylistic difference, not one of superiority

                                                            1. re: thew

                                                              I also thought that pretty much every one was nodding in agreement.

                                                              1. re: thew

                                                                FWIW, Julia Child HATED "crunchy" cooked vegetables.

                                                              2. re: Nettie

                                                                It struck me that Tom straddled the middle, recognizing both styles as he bridged the two age-groups.

                                                          2. Fabio: Its Top Chef, not Top P___y!

                                                            OK, Mr. UnPC.

                                                            9 Replies
                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                              We both caught that. Insane.

                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                He likes "it's Top Chef not Top X" lines.

                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                  yeah, Fabio went a little overboard with that one.

                                                                  did anyone notice that his injury didn't come up at JT? i have to give him props for not playing the sympathy card at all. though they just mentioned it during discussion...

                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                    It seemed like they talked about it, just edited it out.

                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                      to clarify, the judges *did* in fact talk about it., though Fabio didnt bring it up. One of the other judges asked Tom whether or not he thought it should be taken into account, Tom thought about it but didn't really answer, looked like he wasn't sure what the answer should be.

                                                                      1. re: susancinsf

                                                                        Yeah I'm curious what TC ultimately decided.

                                                                        1. re: fame da lupo

                                                                          Still no blog from Tom, but Fabio's answered some questions about the QF. This was typical Fabio: "The next time i will poach again a bullsh-t eggs with some sauteed spinach and some Hollandaise sauce and I'll be again in the top 3" :-) He also talks about dislocating his pinky and how pissed he was at trying to peel the potatoes.

                                                                          I will say that reading the interview is just as fractured as hearing him say it. :-D

                                                                        2. re: susancinsf

                                                                          yeah, i noted at the end of my comment that the judges brought it up during discussion. i just liked that Fabio didn't try to use it to his advantage.

                                                                          1. re: susancinsf

                                                                            I think they cut what Tom said, because it was probably something along the lines of "it only affected the look of the dish (the way the chicken was portioned), and since the badly cut chicken was the result of an injury, not a lack of technique, it really shouldn't affect the outcome."

                                                                      2. Can I just give a big "THANK YOU!" to Toby Young for not attempting one of his stupid witticisms about someone's food? He was critical and praised food as he saw fit - but *just* talked about the food. Thankfully.

                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          Show's not over yet.

                                                                          And Carla wins the popularity contest.

                                                                          Fabio wins the challenge. And a trip to the vineyard and a bottle. See I told you guys it was a head fake!

                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                            He (Toby) doesn't get to say anything else - and FABIO wins! And Carla's second into the semi-finals!

                                                                            I have to admit - I didn't like Carla through most of the show, but she's gotten better as the show went on when she could finally show what she could do.

                                                                            And FINALLY!!! Leah's OUT of there!

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                              i wonder if his handicap nudged him into the win over Carla...?

                                                                              speaking of popularity contests, my first thought when i saw those results is that she clearly has "Fan Favorite" in the bag.

                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                i hope. i love her.

                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                  Yeah....they never did show Tom's reply to Toby as to whether or not count his injury into whether he wins or not.

                                                                                  And PLEASE - Hosea - STFU. Everyone is supposed to watch out for you, huh? You've said that how many times and have often ended up on the bottom. PaLEEZ.

                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                    Hosea's brain in the wrong place, if you ask me. Way too concerned about Stefan and the "other Euro" and not on the food in front of him.

                                                                                    1. re: smtucker

                                                                                      Seriously true. His obsession is bordering on the bizarre. Just do your stuff and ignore everything else, but he can't seem to do so. It's not just between him and Stefan. There are two other chefs who made it into the final BEFORE Hosea and Stefan did.

                                                                          2. whaaaaaat????

                                                                            ok, i SO didn't see that coming.

                                                                            she's deserved to go for a long time, there's no question about it. but i'm SHOCKED that it happened just now.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                              Fabio said it! He's gonna kick Stefan's ass.

                                                                              Ah crap, it looks like another catering challenge.

                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                Keep in mind that that this is just to narrow it down to 3 finalists - but I thought the SAME thing - MORE catering? Step AWAY from the catering, TC producers!

                                                                            2. woo hoo! happy with the results. although i'd still exchange one for jaime.

                                                                              1. Hosea needs to shut up about Stefan already. It's getting so freaking annoying. He is obsessed with Stephan I would bet he is secretly in love with him.

                                                                                Cook your food, worry about yourself and stop acting like an insecure schoolgirl.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Evilbanana11

                                                                                  agreed. 100%

                                                                                  1. re: Evilbanana11

                                                                                    I couldn't agree more. I've been thinking for weeks that Hosea's obsession with Stefan was almost...homoerotic.

                                                                                  2. I thought it was cool they gave harold from season 1 a plug for his restaurant. they should do random updates on what the old contestants are doing now. especially the winners

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: mrporkbelly

                                                                                      did anyone notice the expression on Harold's face when they told him their biggest challenge had been cooking w/toaster ovens & microwaves? he looked like he was resisting the urge to roll his eyes & tell them to get over it...i thought it was pretty amusing.

                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                        yep. noticed it too! :)

                                                                                    2. If Hosea wins Top Chef, he will be the weakest winner of all seasons to date. Carla is great and has an awesome personality but she is quite inconsistent and shaky at times, same goes for Fabio imo.

                                                                                      Purely based on cooking skills and from what I've seen since the start Stefan should be TC.

                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Evilbanana11

                                                                                        Hosea is weaker than Ilan? I don't know... I might need a cook off to make that determination!

                                                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                                                          Hosea is most definitely weaker than Ilan.

                                                                                          1. re: Hurner

                                                                                            Ilan could not cook anything that wasn't straight out of the kitchen of Casa Mono. He left that job and has fallen off the face of the Earth.

                                                                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                              Very true. But even with that disadvantage, Ilan is still a cut above Hosea based upon what we have seen from him this far.

                                                                                      2. OK, it's a last meal, and Stefan overcooks the main dish and his two variations on spinach both taste the same. These seem to me more glaring errors than Leah's. It will be interesting reading the blogs, especially Tom's, but the repeated protestations that it is all week-to-week just don't add up sometimes. But everything can be rationalized.

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: nosh

                                                                                          I'm glad Leah left instead of Stefan, but it sure seemed that he was given a gift this episode.

                                                                                          1. re: nosh

                                                                                            Jacques Pepin's blog indicates the hollandaise was pretty bad: "The hollandaise sauce was a disaster because of the yoke. I didn't discuss it because it wasn't my dish. The beginning of the yoke was not cooked enough. When you add the liquid it just collapsed and the whole thing was covered in liquid. I think that a pretty bad disaster."

                                                                                            I think the editors were camping on Stefan's overcooked salmon to fake us out -- that was really all they had to say about his dish -- otherwise his flavors were good.

                                                                                            1. re: momjamin

                                                                                              Exactly. I think it was an editing fake-out. They also didn't mention the fact that Leah used bacon (instead of Canadian bacon or ham, which is more traditional) and challah instead of English muffin. There was a brief snippet of Padma saying the bacon tasted good, which may have been part of a longer discussion of the fact that she used bacon (although, it looked like at Whole Foods she was having something sliced that looked like prosciutto or some other dry-cured ham, so I was sort of confused by the fact that she said she used "bacon"). I other words, there may have been more critiques of Leah's dish that were omitted in the editing process to increase the suspense of who was going home.

                                                                                              All I could say was "thank God!" because Leah clearly should have been gone weeks ago.

                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                Im pretty sure Leah told Hosea at the WF that she was using challah and going somewhat untraditional - though i think your point is well taken that they edited creatively to fake us out - the way the comments that were included made it sound everyone must have taken leave of their senses to not boot Stefan.

                                                                                          2. Leah's departure goes to show that the judges reserve the option to send them home on the basis of the whole body of work, and not just the dish at hand, at any time. Every now and then you see them invoke this option.

                                                                                            I thought Leah was gracious and cool in her departure. I still think that this particular group is maintaining a higher level than past groups; certainly not a higher level of cooking, but just a better personal level or something.

                                                                                            I am biased to Italian cooking and have found Fabio to be a medicocre disappointment the whole season. I wanted more than anything to see the Italian chef smoke 'em, but Fabio hasn't exactly been bringing it. So when the roast chicken came up, for Lydia Bastianich no less, I knew it was make him or break him. I'm glad he pulled it out. And his jokes and wisecracks were on point this episode.

                                                                                            I love that Carla made fresh peas and that these received special mention from all the judges. Vegetables made right are sublime.

                                                                                            I love that they are going to New Orleans.

                                                                                            I guess that's it.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Budget Palate

                                                                                              Ditto on Fabio. I had a feeling that he'd pull out the chicken, b/c if there's one thing Italians really don't suck at, it's roasting chickens.

                                                                                              1. re: fame da lupo

                                                                                                Wow, that was a backhanded compliment.

                                                                                            2. Here's something different:
                                                                                              I HATE the editing that implies that women chefs are inferior. We don't hear about all the things the men (big, serious men) did on their way to chef dom.
                                                                                              But we do get to hear Leah talk about how she failed at everything until she cooked. And tonight we get that Carla was a !dancer! before she was a cook; did they save this from the same interview earlier inthe season when Carla was an Actress before she was a cook? (Compare the clothes to see which interviews were taped at the same time.)

                                                                                              What kind of messages are the judges sending? Simple is better ....Carla....except if you are Ariel (I forget how her name was spelled) when you win for cooking proteins very well and then get canned for cooking too simple.

                                                                                              Final rant for the night: I wonder about the Quick Fire: Willie said Stephan's eggs were perfect; had he won quickfire he could have chosen to do the egg dish again. So awarding Carla made for a more interesting last supper. (whose parameters weren't that well defined for us, the audience, were they supposed to redefine classics or cook classics...makes a big difference.)

                                                                                              16 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: shallots

                                                                                                Carla said she was a model before she was a cook.. where did you see/hear dancer -- is it somewhere that I've missed?

                                                                                                1. re: karmalaw

                                                                                                  Carla stated that she was once a dancer. She also stated later that at one point she had also modeled.

                                                                                                  1. re: Hurner

                                                                                                    Was that this episode? I really do not remember that comment.

                                                                                                    1. re: Icantread

                                                                                                      IIRC , she mentioned she was once a dancer in last week's episode and that she had modeled in this week's.

                                                                                                      1. re: Hurner

                                                                                                        i don't recall Carla ever mentioning having been a dancer...but i just watched my DVR recording of the latest episode of "Chopped," and the female contestant said in the beginning that she was a dancer before she became a chef. perhaps you watched Chopped and are thinking of her...?

                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                          goodhealthgourmet: I did not watch "Chopped" (no thank you!), but I do remember Carla saying that she had once been a dancer. But, it's also entirely possible that a senior moment caused me to remember incorrectly.

                                                                                                          BTW, Nellynel Feb 13, 2009 09:34am below, remembers the same.

                                                                                                2. re: shallots

                                                                                                  You're reading into things. I don't see any larger commentary on male versus female chefs going on in those interview segments. They're individuals. Leah didn't do well in college so went to culinary school. That doesn't say anything about other women, only her. Carla didn't say that she failed at being a model, only that she used to model. She's what, 40? Many models move on to other things and she did and apparently has a successful catering business. There's no slight on female chefs in that.

                                                                                                  Stefan for instance, isn't likely to have a similar story to Leah as he's been cooking his entire life. I'm not sure he did anything else at first.

                                                                                                  I agree that there are problems in society about gender roles and who can be good at what and those problems are magnified in the cooking world; but, I don't see it in this in the way you're pointing out.

                                                                                                  And lastly, to your second paragraph; I think the message is simple is better as long as the execution is right on. If you go really stripped down and simple and mess up an element, you're hosed.

                                                                                                  1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                    Carla said that she got interested in cooking while modeling, and that she transitioned to cooking as a career. I think it brings a personal maturity to the table that others don’t have. There is none of that “brattiness” that the contestants often show under pressure. You would never hear Carla say any of the snarky things that Jamie said.

                                                                                                    In that, she reminds me of Dave from season 1, who also came to cooking late. Yes, he didn’t get on well with Tiffany, but he never blamed anyone else for his mistakes either.

                                                                                                    1. re: StewieBoy

                                                                                                      "I'm not your bitch, bitch."

                                                                                                      A classic line.

                                                                                                  2. re: shallots

                                                                                                    Model, not dancer.

                                                                                                    1. re: shallots

                                                                                                      Her name is Ariane not Ariel and she did not get booted for cooking too simple. She got booted because the butchering she did on the leg of lamb (butchered literally and figuratively). The butchering and tying of the meat was very bad which had the downstream effect of causing the cooking of the meat to be sub-par.

                                                                                                      1. re: kmcarr

                                                                                                        But Ariane got the first serious critical hits (as edited) for makeing Hard Boiled Eggs for the fund raising affaire. Remember Tom's stated disappointment? And hard boiled eggs (possibly never mentioned on any previous Top Chef) have been mentioned twice subsequently as being examples of too simple food.

                                                                                                        1. re: shallots

                                                                                                          Do you mean deviled eggs?

                                                                                                          1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                            yep.
                                                                                                            In my part of the country, deviled eggs are an abyssmal fact of life. With gray egg yolks, chopped up, cheap mayo and maybe a pass by a parsley plant on the way to the social.
                                                                                                            The smell is not an aroma.
                                                                                                            Before or after.

                                                                                                            1. re: shallots

                                                                                                              ROTFLMAO!!!!!

                                                                                                      2. re: shallots

                                                                                                        "I HATE the editing that implies that women chefs are inferior. We don't hear about all the things the men (big, serious men) did on their way to chef dom.
                                                                                                        But we do get to hear Leah talk about how she failed at everything until she cooked. And tonight we get that Carla was a !dancer! before she was a cook; did they save this from the same interview earlier inthe season when Carla was an Actress before she was a cook?"

                                                                                                        Shallots - I do not understand your comment at all

                                                                                                        How do these remarks imply that the women are inferior chefs?

                                                                                                      3. Jacques Pepin is one of the most gracious people ever. "the peas are scrumptious and I could die like that." His new PBS series only reinforces that he is a kind person who happens to cook great food.

                                                                                                        For me the greatest surprise was Stefan overcooking the salmon. Clearly, this is his "national" dish, a dish he has been cooking since he was a young person.

                                                                                                        I am not sure that Leah's elimination was based on tonight alone, but she was the right person to send home. I will not miss her whining.

                                                                                                        I have eaten many tomato provençal in Provence, and Hosea's version didn't resemble any of them. I can't eat shrimp, but I do make shrimp scampi and didn't see the chunks of garlic that I include in my version.

                                                                                                        I can't tell from pictures whether a roasted chicken tastes good, but if Lidia liked it, that is good enough for me.

                                                                                                        And the peas. Sigh... my most favorite thing in the world. Fresh peas... I will try sauteeing them with the herbs like Carla.

                                                                                                        26 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                          So glad to see Leah gone. Her attitude and demeanor is that of a 12 year old. Bye bye!

                                                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                            Well, Fabio found out about this phenomenon at the super bowl challenge -- Stefan's salmon was clearly perfect when he plated it, but then it sat on top of the veggies for too long ;-)

                                                                                                            1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                              Agreed that Jacques Pepin is gracious -- as are others of his generation. IMO, "Top Chef" and other so-called reality shows encourage such locker-room attitude as bragadoccio, undercutting competitors and foul language. The ONLY reason I am watching this season is because Hosea and Leah are local chefs in Boulder, CO, where I live.

                                                                                                              1. re: ClaireWalter

                                                                                                                Leah is from New York. do you mean Melissa?

                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                  There was an interview where Hosea said he and Leah were dating, perhaps she moved to CO to be with him?

                                                                                                                  1. re: Ori

                                                                                                                    Leah is chef de cuisine at Centro Vinoteca, a NY restaurant, so if they're dating it''s a long-distance relationship
                                                                                                                    http://www.centrovinoteca.com/

                                                                                                                    1. re: Ori

                                                                                                                      Leah didn't move to CO, she's still in NY. in fact, since Anne Burrell left, she's now been promoted from Sous Chef to Chef de Cuisine at Centro Vinoteca.

                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                        Wonder if they're rethinking that promotion after watching the show. ;-)

                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                          Make sure that she doesn't have to ever bone a fish, or make a Hollandaise, or lead a team, or....

                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                            ::::Ding, ding, ding!:::::

                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                              Chill out, We all make mistakes. Fish filleting and Hollandaise making are both skills which can be learned. A palette, an instinct for food — these things on the other hand are hard, perhaps impossible to teach.
                                                                                                                              IMHO she has both. She has room to grow. Sure she does, me too.
                                                                                                                              When you cease to grow--you are dead.

                                                                                                                              1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                                                                                                                "Fish filleting and Hollandaise making are both skills which can be learned."
                                                                                                                                ~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                As chef de cuisine, shouldn't both be second nature for Leah?

                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                  Point well taken.
                                                                                                                                  Even Escoffier may have chocked under the pressure of celeb judges, millions watching, glaring TV lights. Even more true when he was young and immature. I bet on occasion he even just plain messed up. I know I do.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                                                                                                                    Yes, the added pressure of cameras in front of your face, watching everything you do, as well as having such esteemed chefs tasting your food would definitely add to the pressure - for anyone.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                    <As chef de cuisine, shouldn't both be second nature for Leah?>

                                                                                                                                    Absolutely. and for a good home cook, as well!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                      I could probably squeak (barely) by with a Hollandaise (although I've never made one) but the fish fileting is a definite no go for me. :-)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                        The book of things I don't know is huge. Happily most things, like Hollandaise and filleting can be learned.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                                                                                                                          "The Book of Things I Don't Know" - what a great title! Should be given to most teenagers I've known (as well as myself in the day), despite what they believe they know as teenagers. :-)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                            I'm far from a teenager, however my copy is about the size of War and Peace.
                                                                                                                                            Knowing this keeps me humble and gives me a great reason to be excited about waking up each morning. What new stuff can I learn and or eat today?

                                                                                                                                          2. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                                                                                                                            Right. But I would expect those things -- and leadership skills -- to be learned *before* you were promoted to chef de cuisine. They're pre-requisites for the job. Otherwise, I'd make a great chef de cuisine -- I'll stack my palate and instinct for food up against Leah's any day!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                              No doubt you have mad skills. I just think she has talent as well as youth. Give her time. I'm sure she can make a hollandaise, in fact she did and then second guessed herself. Don't be a hatter just because she is young and cute and talented.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                                                                                                                                Well, the fact that she's young and cute and talented shouldn't be the only reason she gets promoted -- being young and cute should be irrelevant to her job status, and there are lots of people out there who are equally talented and don't need to be "given time" to learn the skills on the job. All I'm saying is that as far as I'm concerned, you should learn the skills necessary for the job before it's handed to you.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                  "as far as I'm concerned, you should learn the skills necessary for the job before it's handed to you."
                                                                                                                                                  ~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                  amen to that, Ruth.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                    I agree. all I'm saying is to flub on TV does not mean you don't know.
                                                                                                                                                    I think some want her to fails because she is young and cute and talented

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                                                                                                                                      But probably not as many who wanted her to be there in the first place because she's young and cute. If you want the benefits -- and Leah clearly does take advantage of being young and cute -- you have to accept the downside as well.

                                                                                                                        2. re: ClaireWalter

                                                                                                                          I'll agree with you on braggadoccio and undercutting competitors, but I think the foul language (which there has been very little of this year comparatively btw) comes with the territory. I don't want to make a blanket statement about professional kitchens, but from what I understand profanity has a home in the culinary world.

                                                                                                                      2. How many people were they cooking for? The four judges, the five guests, maybe a few more plates for bloggers and tasters -- a dozen? Even at Whole Paycheck, how do you spend anywhere near $300 -- six whole chickens served halved, five pounds of salmon? I'd be very interested in their budgets. Leah needed eggs, butter, and something like muffins and meat for her course -- how could she NOT dress things up for a last meal with caviar or truffles or something extravagant, even a Champagne? Stefan -- his spinach costs are negligeable, and salmon is not horribly expensive nor difficult to prep -- I'd have prepared twice as many filets in various sizes, thicknesses, and cuts so I could then choose only the best to serve. (And for roasted salmon, I'd have roasted the whole fish on the bone -- much better flavor.) I don't see how any of them came near spending their budgets, and except for Fabio's injury I think the time constraints for this challenge were generous. If I were one step from the finals, you can bet there would have been some caviar, truffle, foie gras, bone marrow flan, sweetbread sauce, or Champagne or nice wine.

                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                          wouldn't it be sad if in fact Stefan *did* prepare extra and did pick and choose?

                                                                                                                          Seriously, I could see it getting close to $300. If wild salmon was used, it could have been $80 to $100 just for the fish (can be $20 a pound or close to it for the good stuff). For the chicken, perhaps not.

                                                                                                                          1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                            Even if he spent $200 on the salmon, where did the other $100 go? Spinach, garlic, onion, some basic seasonings -- I'm not sure whether they had access to a pantry or not, but certainly you don't need to buy a two-pound box of kosher salt and a pepper mill for every challenge. Now that I think about it, didn't Stefan's dish specify "roasted" salmon? Wasn't his sauteed? I'd have been in the back of the seafood department looking for whole, unbutchered salmon still on the bone. And if that was beyond Whole Paycheck, I don't think Stefan would have been bashful in looking elsewhere.

                                                                                                                            1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                              The salmon was pan seared and finished in the oven. It's possible to saute salmon, but it would have to be a quick toss of slices or small chunks.

                                                                                                                              1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                                That $300 is their limit. They don't *have* to spend the entire amount.

                                                                                                                                1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                                  They don't have a choice on where to shop -- in this case, it was Whole Foods, period.

                                                                                                                            2. What I liked best is how the EC pairing ended up being to the advantage of my favorite three; Fabio/Lidia, Stefan/Marcus and Carla/Jacques. I thought it such a blessing that we'd finally see Leah or Hosea going home.

                                                                                                                              But then all heck breaks loose and fingers get scrunched and how Stefan overcooked such thick pieces of salmon is really puzzling.

                                                                                                                              At the beginning I loathed both Stefan and Carla. One's a blowhard and the other just came off as a ding-a-ling. They've both grown on me. I hope they both make it to the final challenge as I'd really like to see what kind of menu and ingredients they choose.

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                                I thought it was interesting that each chef actually seemed to get the best possible pairing: Carla got Jacques, Stefan got a northern European seafood dish, Fabio got Italian, Hosea got seafood, and Leah got breakfast (which she says she loves). It was the total opposite of last week, when it seemed like a lot of the pairings were not good matches (Jamie being the obvious one -- I think she could have done much better with Hosea's dish, and vice versa).

                                                                                                                              2. I think it is very interesting that Hosea tanks every time he has to prepare seafood! Scampi should have been a lay up, yet he turned it into a shrimp dis that, while good, was not scampi. And does anyone know the deal with the tomatoes? How you have to carmelize the tops?

                                                                                                                                I also found it interesting that all the requested meals were basically extremely simple food, well-prepared. And Fabio and Carla, who "got" the simplicity, were the ones who did best. Leah's downfall was her inability to cook the simplest of food, and Sefan's was hubris. I am glad that Leah is gone; IMO she hung around way past her sell-by date.

                                                                                                                                13 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                  It's interesting - in a very quick Google of "Tomatoes Provencal" - none of them say to turn the tomatoes over first to caramelize the top before stuffing, which is what I think Jacques Pepin was saying was needed.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                    Interesting, as I've had it both ways in local French restaurants. There is a world of difference in the taste. The master's a master with good reason.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                      Linda, when I have received tomato provencal in western Provence, it is just one component of the plate. A side amongst sides. The tomatoes that grow in this region are smaller and have a wonderful deep flavor with just enough acidity. Sometimes the tomatoes are grilled, sometimes broiled, but they have always had heat directed to the top of the tomato. I have had them with the following "toppings:" anchovies, bread crumbs, rosemary, lavendar [yuck], thyme, variations of herbs de provence. I think in a commercial kitchen the tomatoes are slightly cooked and then rest waiting to be ordered. The topping is then inserted into the core cavity and broiled.

                                                                                                                                      At home, the tomatoes don't have the right amount of acid so I often drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over the top after cooking.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                        The way you've described them is the way I think I'd prefer them as well. Otherwise, what was provided the diners last night was just "stuffed tomatoes", right?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                          I couldn't tell if they were stuffed or topped, but I think the whole tomatoes were just baked. This would give the entire tomato plus topping a soggy texture, wouldn't it?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                            Good point on the stuffing or just topping. But either way - yes, if they were just baked, sogginess would definitely have ensued.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                              My go-to dish is the tomatoes nicoise from Medecin's book - so, from Nice, more specific than Provence as a whole, feel free to argue about the relation btwn Nice and Provence, but...
                                                                                                                                              No searing.
                                                                                                                                              Awesome recipe, too.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                          I lived with a family in Provence as an exchange student. We had tomates a la provencale all the time from my host mother and various family and friends, and I found everyone does them a little differently. My favorites are seeded and salted, left to drain a bit, then covered with herbs, tons of garlic and -- the most vital step -- breadcrumbs. Coat with oil and broil till just beginning to char. The bottom will be almost uncooked, but warm.

                                                                                                                                          Others do them in a shallow dish with water, cooking them for a half an hour. It's more of a stand-up stewed tomato, but equally delicious if done right. As smtucker says, it's not really a focus, but an always-there side, like refrigerator pickles were at my own mother's table. We had them absolutely all summer, and I'm still nowhere near sick of them.

                                                                                                                                          I can't even fathom a tomato with lavender. I try really hard to be open to all things, but I will never for the life of me understand why people think lavender is edible in any context, sweet or savory.

                                                                                                                                          But with tomatoes and garlic? That's one of the worst combinations I can think of.

                                                                                                                                          Rosemary would overwhelm this dish in a heartbeat, too.

                                                                                                                                          I make the tomatoes all summer long, always with the broiler method. And discussing this is making me really-super-spring feverish. I am DONE with winter.

                                                                                                                                        3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                          And I've made them by squeezing out liquid and seeds, drizzle oil bake 10 mins. Then on goes the topping wiht garlic, parsley, bread crumbs & pepper. Not broiled, but continue baking 10- 15 mins with the topping now. Pretty simple, but oh sooo good.

                                                                                                                                        4. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                          Hosea's dish was pathetic for a chef that allegedly specializes in seafood. The way he was questioning how well his dish might be received I have to wonder if he even knows how to make a classic scampi. Oiye.
                                                                                                                                          I'm really liking Carla now. Her egg dish at the QF was just fantastic. Never underestimate whimsey!
                                                                                                                                          And just for the record I don't want my squab rare. ;)
                                                                                                                                          Leah does not have enough talent to elaborate about. However I do think she should get a Booby prize.
                                                                                                                                          I agree completly about Stephan. He was overly confident and so busy talking smack that he stopped paying attention. Hey Stephan.......Two words buddy;

                                                                                                                                          RESIDUAL HEAT!

                                                                                                                                          Now what I really want to know is what Fabio was thinking with that new Do and wanna B rapper face fuzz that they showed in the NOLA clips!
                                                                                                                                          Paisan passe?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Fritter

                                                                                                                                            It was nice to see Carla execute the green eggs and ham well -- remember when Sam (I am) tried it and made the eggs gray?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Fritter

                                                                                                                                              Hosea's shrimp didn't taste bad, they simply weren't in the tradition of scampi. I'm not sure that makes his dish "pathetic."

                                                                                                                                              1. re: fame da lupo

                                                                                                                                                Not preparing traditional scampi is not what made Hosea's dish "pathetic" IMO. It was that sorry tomato along with a terrible presentation. What's really sad is that he was questioning his own rendition of the dish before he even started to execute it.
                                                                                                                                                This is what he did with two hours and $300?

                                                                                                                                          2. Not much about this episode caught my interest. Compared to others this season it was kind of boring.

                                                                                                                                            That said, I was holding my breath during the elimination. I had the awful feeling they were going to cut Stefan. I admit it, the producers faked me out. If they had cut Stefan I think I would have had a hard time watching the rest of the season. I know, I know, every elimination occurs in a vaccuum based on the chef's performance during that challenge alone. But Stefan has clearly established himself as one of the most, if not the most, talented chef in the bunch. He has earned a place in the finals. If he didn't make it, it would be unfair. From the producers standpoint though, it would also be really anticlimatic. All loyal watchers would KNOW they were not seeing a final showdown between the very best chefs from this season; we would KNOW that we were seeing a competition between people who were "pretty good" instead of "great." Where's the excitement in that? Even if they cooked good food, I'd always be wondering what Stefan, the more talented chef, would do.

                                                                                                                                            So yeah. To paraphrase Fabio, I don't care if Stefan had put money balls on the plate last night. There is no way he deserved to go home before either Hosea or Leah.

                                                                                                                                            My other random thoughts:

                                                                                                                                            - I love Fabio and I am SO happy his grandmother's dish got raves from Lidia. But I hate that word, and I wish he hadn't said it.

                                                                                                                                            - Hosea's obsession with Stefan is starting to become legitimately sad. He's so insecure. I really hope someone calls him on it at the reunion show. I bet he has no idea how extreme it is.

                                                                                                                                            - Again, Toby Young has proven that less is more. I actually thought he made worthwhile contributions last night. Let's keep this up.

                                                                                                                                            - It may be a record. Leah didn't comment on how hot someone was.

                                                                                                                                            - I love Jacques Pepin.

                                                                                                                                            53 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                                                              "All loyal watchers would KNOW they were not seeing a final showdown between the very best chefs from this season..."
                                                                                                                                              ~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                              Well, I thought Sam was much, MUCH better than Ilan in Season 2. Yet he went home. If they're judging on an individual performance, and Stefan sucked by overcooking the salmon, and no one else was quite that bad, then he goes home. He just lucked out that Leah's dish was worse.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                Ilan did some really nice dishes, and he did his homework before going to Hawaii. I don't think he has the character of a Top Chef, and he really bit the dust in the season 1 vs season 2 showdown, but Ripert called his finale fideos dish perfection, and Padma apparently still dreams about that dish. He also did an impressive job using taro and doing the lau lau dish. But I still wanted an Elia/Sam finale that season.

                                                                                                                                                Toby's blog makes it sound like the decision was between Hosea and Leah, not really Stefan. "Choosing the loser was much harder. I leaned towards Hosea because I thought his attempt to reinvent shrimp scampi was completely wrong-headed — it was so not what this challenge was about — but Tom was convinced that Leah ought to go because the hollandaise sauce in her eggs Benedict was watery and flavourless. In the end, Tom managed to convince the rest of the judges to send Leah home on the grounds that she’d failed to do what she’d set out to do. Hosea’s dish may have been misconceived, but at least he managed to produce a decent version of his idiosyncratic interpretation of shrimp scampi."

                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                  "Well, I thought Sam was much, MUCH better than Ilan in Season 2. Yet he went home....".

                                                                                                                                                  You're actually making my point. :-) Season 2 was by far my least favorite, in large part because I thought Ilan had no business being in the final. I just didn't care to see him perform because I believed another chef should have been there in his place.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                                                                    Not if you don't think that Stefan deserves to be in the final. I think he's played it a lot safer than others have - Hosea has been more "out there" - trying different things. That's why he's been in the bottom more often than not. Whereas Stefan has done *how many* panna cottas? Four, at my last count.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                      "Not if you don't think that Stefan deserves to be in the final...."

                                                                                                                                                      Your example still makes my point. I would have lost interest in the show if Stefan went home because I would have known that the final was not between the best chefs of the season. You said that was precisely what happened in Season 2 when Sam went home before Ilan -- the best chefs were not in the final. I agree. Ilan was a less talented chef than others in Season 2. And, as a result, it was one of my least favorite seasons and I wasn't as interested in the show.

                                                                                                                                                      If other people disagree that Stefan is the more talented chef and think Hosea and/or Leah deserved to be in the final, then you're right, those people would be unlikely to lose interest. ... But based on all the Chound threads I've read in the past few weeks, I think they would be the minority. Even people who don't like Stefan seem to admit he can cook.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                                                                        "Even people who don't like Stefan seem to admit he can cook."
                                                                                                                                                        ~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                        I don't like Stefan, and other than one or two dishes, I don't see how he's been innovative, so I don't see why he *should* be in the final. Nor do I think that Leah should have been. There's not a whole lot of ultra-creativeness of dishes that actually *look good* as there were in past seasons.

                                                                                                                                                        I didn't like Hung all that much last year, but *he* was creative, and absolutely deserved to be in the final and win. Perhaps that's a better comparison with Stefan. And if not, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this subject.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                          Okie doke. I think you're probably in the minority on the issue of Stefan's cooking chops, but hey, maybe not.

                                                                                                                                                          Either way, I think my observation is valid: in general, in a competition, when the audience perceives that the final showdown is not between the best of the possible competitors, the audience will not be as interested as they would be if the final showdown were between the two best. That's all.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                                                                            Re: your last paragraph, we definitely agree. A good example is Hell's Kitchen. I couldn't bear to watch last year because it was just so. damned. awful. This year - not so bad - at least not yet. :-)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                                                                              <Okie doke. I think you're probably in the minority on the issue of Stefan's cooking chops, but hey, maybe not.>

                                                                                                                                                              I also don't think Stefan is any more special than the other chefs, except in the area of arrogance. It won['t upset me in the least if he is sent home on Wednesday. I actually perceived Jamie as a better chef than he (albeit a complainer).

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                I think Stefan is the rooster of this bunch, i.e. he is heads an shoulders above the others in technique and execution, but does he deserve his own self professed legendary status when you compare him to the previous year's winners? Does he have that big fish in the small pond syndrome? Should the viewers accept his behavior because he is just so much better than everyone, not just the TC contestants, as a chef? I don't think so.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                  "Should the viewers accept his behavior because he is just so much better than everyone, not just the TC contestants, as a chef? I don't think so.""

                                                                                                                                                                  Phaedrus - what the heck are you talking about??
                                                                                                                                                                  Your statement would imply he is sabotaging other chefs food - or tackling them -trying to shave their heads...
                                                                                                                                                                  Stefan has has complete integrity - what do you mean "his behavior"????

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                    Arrogance

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                      I'm joining in the middle of a lengthy thread and argument to say, I'm with the pro-Stefan crowd.

                                                                                                                                                                      His arrogance, as well as everything else, strikes me as deeply playful. He's playing a game, but he has not, like past contestants, openly and cruelly denigrated ability or physically attacked anyone.

                                                                                                                                                                      If I can speak broadly, I would say he has a bit of the European aspects of blunt talk combined with a willingness to take the piss out of things-- himself included. That said, there are moments when we can get a sense of his seriousness of purpose.

                                                                                                                                                                      I'm also not clear on the other attacks on his limited offerings. I have no sense of repetition. Panna Cotta? OK, so he's done this twice, but in different ways. I won't go through the dishes, I can't remember, but he's hardly coming off as a one-trick pony. If people let Blais slide with the constantly appearing banana scallops (and really, I wasn't fussed), I think that Stefan, who has not been repeating himself, should be cut a break.

                                                                                                                                                                      I think in this case, the critiques of food pile on because some may be uncomfortable about the way in which personality is colouring their impressions.

                                                                                                                                                                      Finally: With all the hounds here posting on who can or cannot cook, what I would give to see you placed in this position. I think more people need to account for the multiple stressors of being on a rigorous challenge and television show (with sequestering). I think more people need to think about how limits may prevent a person from chucking what was messed up and starting again. I also think we might consider how heightened competition can cause people to second guess themselves in ways they would not in the comfort of their own restaurant. (So yes, Leah might be annoying as a character, but as a person and professional chef, my guess is that she's excellent, and that the promotions she has received were not a fluke as some hounds like to suggest.)

                                                                                                                                                                      Maybe I'm wrong, but now I really would love to see a miniature between seasons top chef that placed certain posters in this competition.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                                        He's definitely done panna cotta more than twice - only two recipes are showing at Bravo's site, because I believe he won with them...but I distinctly remember him mention he was doing a panna cotta upwards of 4 times.

                                                                                                                                                                        As for Stefan's arrogance, I've thought of another word that might describe what some of feel about him: he's dismissive. He has his own way, and that's the only way. He dismisses anyone else's ideas as not worthy. A good example is when he, Hosea, and Jeff were doing something with tomatoes, and he was completely dismissive of Jeff's Tomato Gazpacho, while saying his Tomato Terrine would wow them. Well, his terrine was the worst of the bunch, and the gazpacho was deemed the favorite.

                                                                                                                                                                        He was completely dismissive of Jamie's ideas during "Down on the Farm" as well (I think that was the episode).

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                          it was the sorbet he dismissed. and that is true. but he's still grown on me. and i really can only remember 2 panna cottas.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for the correction - Jeff's sorbet was what Stefan thought wouldn't be good. (I knew the gazpacho wasn't right but couldn't remember what it was; obviously not enough coffee in me when I first posted!)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                              i'm drinking my beloved coffee now too. and don't get me wrong. stefan's food doesn't super inspire me. and i doubt he's mr. pleasant but i still think they've played him up. he's certainly not as bad as other years. i liked the idea of jeff but he needed to take coco chanel's advice and take one accessory off! at least he was trying for creative this time. no one else in this group really is.
                                                                                                                                                                              actually richard said it well in this week's blog though - this week despite our complaining all year they really were all pretty creative in the quickfire and other than leah none of them THAT bad in the last meals.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                I agree on the editing to make Stefan the baddie - just as they tried to do with Hung in TC3, and Andrew/Spike in TC4 (not the baddie, but jerks).

                                                                                                                                                                                And I LOL'd at the Coco Chanel advice for Jeff. I'm thinking two or three accessories would have had to be removed from Jeff's dishes. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                  I dunno...the "editing" excuse rings a little hollow to me as a fan of reality shows. (Did I just admit I'm a fan of reality shows? LOL!) Obviously, they play things up to exaggerate personalities. But it's pretty hard, over the course, of an entire season, to make someone out to be something they're not. Generally speaking, the people who are asses on the show behave like asses in the live reunions in real life. For example, it wasn't the editors who made the rest of the cast dislike Marcel in S2...so obviously they were picking up on something real in that case.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                        Okay now I am annoyed.
                                                                                                                                                                        I have been watching the last 2 episodes, and I just don't see how you can watch Stefans behavior and still not like the guy.
                                                                                                                                                                        He is genuinely a caring person. You can see it the way he kisses Jamie and hugs Leah when they realize they are in the bottom three. The way he seems humble after his win, and really feels bad sending the bottom 3 into the Judges table...The way he applauds Carla after her QF win, and tells Leah he loves her forever after her elimination...Come on people he is absolutely lovely!
                                                                                                                                                                        I admit, early on I thought he was obnoxious, but after watching and observing him, my mind has been completely swayed.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                          I like Stefan, but I think it's pretty easy to see why so many people dislike him so intensely. He's incredibly cocky, probably even moreso than we see on the show. And while he's very good, he's just not as good as he thinks he is.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                            Gosh - Yes he is cocky , but super sweet too (in my eyes a perfect combo)
                                                                                                                                                                            I just finished re-watching the last episode and when Fabio won he was the first one to pat him on the back...
                                                                                                                                                                            I dunno - he seems very genuine to me...and not selfish

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                            i agree with you, NellyNel. i didn't like him *at all* in the beginning, but as the season wore on he continued to reveal more of his "human" side, and he won me over. in fact, i find all of Hosea's snarks about Stefan much more irritating than any of Stefan's recent comments! the fact that i've grown to like Stefan is precisely why i keep saying that i wish he would do something unexpected with his food to REALLY wow everyone. i'm sort of rooting for him now (along with Carla and Fabio, of course).

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                              i've said i like him - at least some. i think they picked him to be the bad guy because he had the most swagger. he is definitely arrogant but has skill. i don't like when he is dismissive but if you figure he was probably asked what do you like least when he said "jeff's sorbet doesn't seem like it would work" and all. to be honest i think even the thing about being on the one team where he said "if it was my team it wouldn't be a democracy but... " was probably fine because obviously the lack of leadership hurt leah. he ended up saving that team.
                                                                                                                                                                              but he doesn't have the playfulness of hung - think smurf village - nor has he made a lot of food that i'm dying to eat (of course neither has anyone else this season). so i don't hate him. i think he's talented. and i think he's been a team player in many ways even though he obviously prefers to be the leader. i just can't find myself rooting for him since he's not charming. i'd eat at his restaurant if it was convenient.
                                                                                                                                                                              personally i love carla. and the more i read her resume the more i realize they've been underplaying her. she's got a great resume. she's kooky but she's impressive. and she does happen to usually make food i'd like to eat. with the exception of getting totally flustered in restaurant wars and not being able to rethink the broken freezer and the bad cake (and to her credit - which is why i think radhika went home - she got no help from her leader on taste profiles which she willingly admitted were not her strong suit), she's been pretty steady. so i'm rooting for her. but i don't hate stefan.
                                                                                                                                                                              that said i've seen a lot of fake applauding/kissing in my day.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                Stephan strikes me as someone who touches other people to assert control.
                                                                                                                                                                                just sayin'...

                                                                                                                                                                                He totally deserves to go to the finals tho - he's a very sharp cook.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                          "I actually perceived Jamie as a better chef than he (albeit a complainer)."

                                                                                                                                                                          I definitely agree Jamie was right up there too, in terms of skill. Maybe better than Stefan, I hadn't come to any conclusions. That's why I was so irritated last week when they cut her before Hosea or Leah. (I even posted about it!) And in terms of creativity, I also thought Jeff probably eclipsed Stefan (though I DO think Stefan has shown some creativity in addition to good technique). So my comments about losing interest if Stefan is cut also come from my already-existing sense that other chefs were cut early in favor of the less deserving. So it felt to me like if Stefan got cut TOO, on tops of the others, and we were left with that dreck, my interest in the competition to see who's the "best" would be seriously diminished because I'd KNOW the people in the finals were NOT the "best."

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                                                                                            Jamie and Stefan are clearly the cream of this year's crop. Although both annoyed me initially, I've really come to appreciate and respect them both. I was really, really annoyed when Jamie got the boot. I think it's unfair and foolish to boot her on the basis of one poor performance, regardless of what the rules say. You would never hire a chef or rate a restaurant based on a single performance -- that's statistically unreliable. They should consider the chef's performance over a full season.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                              that would be a different game.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                Would it? In practice, whether the judges admit it or not, they sometimes take past performance into account. Last night, for example, Stefan seemed to get a break for that very reason. All I'm asking is that this be done explicitly and consistently for a fairer and more reliable result. If that's a "different game," then I'm all for change...

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                                  In looking at the blogs on Bravo (I've got quite a bit more time than normal available today) it seems that Leah's Hollandaise was quite bad and her egg was also very poorly poached. Essentially, she blew both of the essential components of her dish. Stefan got lucky that he overcooked his salmon on a night when someone else made a more significant set of errors.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Point being, I don't believe that the judges had to take past performance into account to arrive at their decision.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                                    Could be...I was going based on the comments we saw in the episode. They seemed to hate Stefan's dish more than Leah's. But do you really believe they've never taken past performance into account in making decisions? I think if we went back over past seasons we'd find plenty of examples. At a minimum, there have been times when I remember thinking the judges did so subconsciously as NellyNel suggests. Honestly, I don't see how it could NOT affect them subconsciously...

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, I do think it probably factors in somewhat but honestly, I think it probably factors in more as a negative for the contestants who show better work earlier. I think the judges end up being more dissapointed in a poor dish from them and judge them more harshly without really meaning to.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I do also think, though, that in just about every case one could make a defensible argument about who got sent home without having to conclude that the judges factored in previous performance.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I think it'd be far more reasonable of the judges (especially Colicchio) to concede that past performance probably plays into their thinking somewhat but that don't overtly take it into account and try to set it aside as best they can when judging an individual challenge. I think all of the viewers would think "yeah, ok, that makes sense." As opposed to what most of us think on some level which is "how can it not play in somehow?" when Colicchio protests so extremely that it never does at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                                        Except that, despite those protestations of TC's, there have been times in past seasons when past performance played an explicit role, i.e., it was discussed at judges' table and included in what we view, and appears to, pace what you note in your first paragraph, save a contestant. Of course, we don't see everything, so even though they've shown discussion of past performance that has appeared to be a "save" for one of the contestants with a worst-dish-of-episode, it may be that the one ultimately sent home had objectively the worse dish that challenge, but we aren't shown that statement...

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                                    I think sometimes, sub-conciously they do. Last night being an example (although Leah's dish did sound quite poor - so not too sure there) but also I think Jamie had a second chance with the raw egg tv presentation challenge.
                                                                                                                                                                                    Alex had a bad dish - and idea - but he did a good job with the presentation part; Jamie presented a poor dish and scowled afterward. I think she was saved because it was obvious she was a better chef. IMO

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                      Agreed on all counts, NellyNel.

                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                          "There's not a whole lot of ultra-creativeness of dishes that actually *look good* as there were in past seasons."
                                                                                                                                                                          ~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                          Linda, although i do think Stefan has excellent technical skills, i agree with you on this point. when he did those desserts a couple of weeks ago, i thought he might finally be exhibiting some inspiration...until he reached into the same bag of tricks for last night's egg QF, and made panna cotta. again. with mango. again.

                                                                                                                                                                          BTW, did anyone else notice that Fabio & Stefan both made mango puree in the QF? Team Euro now seems to be sharing a brain!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                            I think stefan's repetitive use of the same dishes can be partially attributed to his catering background. If you own/run a restaurant and need to please customers over and over, you could expect to need a repetoire of different dishes and flavors, whereas a caterer could fall back on a simple core of dishes which s/he knows can be executed consistently.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tex.s.toast

                                                                                                                                                                              "a caterer could fall back on a simple core of dishes which s/he knows can be executed consistently."
                                                                                                                                                                              ~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                              ok, i'm going to channel Fabio for a second...that would be fine if this was "Top Caterer" but it's not, it's Top Chef. Stefan needs to step outside his comfort zone.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                And was it good for you, ghg? (Having Fabio take over your body for a second, that is) ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                  "Stefan needs to step outside his comfort zone."

                                                                                                                                                                                  Huh?
                                                                                                                                                                                  What would you say is his comfort zone then?

                                                                                                                                                                                  Because he has done rustic, (Focus Group,EC), molecular (Last Supper QF)and desserts (Restaurant Wars EC) and been successful...Please explain what you mean?
                                                                                                                                                                                  I think his skills are quite varied.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                    he's done panna cotta twice. mousse twice. mango twice. the same chocolate lattice dessert garnish twice. he also just seems to have lucked into (by no doing or "fault" of his own) dishes, cuisines & challenges that are second-nature or familiar to him - e.g. the salmon for Marcus Samuelsson (though he screwed that up), the eel challenge...as i've said multiple times, i'm not questioning his skill, and i'm not bashing him. i think he has talent. i just haven't been "wowed" by his food...nor by what *any* of the chefs have prepared this season. i want him to create something that not only looks impressive/ingenious (e.g. the panna cotta & mango "egg"), but that also REALLY makes me want to eat it...and i haven't said "i have to have that" to any of his dishes. in fact, i keep forgetting what he's even made, and have to constantly go back to the TC website & look up his recipes to answer these questions!

                                                                                                                                                                                    again, it's not just him, i think they're all pretty ho-hum in terms of creativity. i just want him - and Carla - to blow me away with something unexpected because they're clearly the two most technically skilled of the bunch, but a TC should be more than a technician.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                      OK I feel that way about Fabio - I LOVE him...., but other than those funky olives - his food has not WOW'd me ...and I want it to!

                                                                                                                                                                        4. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                          To keeop the drama going, Bravo likes to select a chef and cast them as the villian, and they do alot of this through editing (remember Hung, Tiffani, etc). They probably saw Stefan's arrogance and thought he would play out to be a perfect villan this season. The problem is that, despite his arrogance, he really is not a bad guy. I think its all editing on the part of Bravo just trying to play up the drama.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                                                                                      Again, we don't know if the producers are prodding him through their questions to talk about Stefan.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                                                                                        I have to say, about "that word" that Fabio used: foreigners often don't really understand the context of bad words a lot of the time, or have only a sketchy connection.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jaykayen

                                                                                                                                                                          I really thought he was using "pussy" as an equivalent to "wimp", a very common usage, and nothing more. So I think he understood what he was saying, and honestly, I wasn't even a little offended.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                            That's exactly the way I thought he was using it as well, and although the instantaneous thought is he meant it in an offensive way, I don't think he did at all. It's obvious Leah thought he was using it offensively by her reaction.

                                                                                                                                                                            Interestingly, they've edited it out on the video on the Bravo site.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: jaykayen

                                                                                                                                                                            I think he knew full well what it meant. He was using it to mean wimp, as it is generally used these days. I wasn't remotely offended and I like the attitude (and more to the point, it's probably a somewhat necessary attitude to have, to an extent, to truly succeed in a kitchen).

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                              Obviously, Fabio meant "pussy" = "wimp" but it's pretty hard to ignore the sexist etyomology. What if he had said something like, "This isn't top faggot"? Even if he just meant "wimp," it still would be offensive. I'm not saying it's the end of the world, but what Fabio intended isn't the only, or even the most important, consideration.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                                Everyone needs to just relax over this. Fabio's usage of "pussy" was consistent with a well-accepted secondary meaning, the derivation of which is from the word "pussycat" and not any anatomical reference:

                                                                                                                                                                                http://tinyurl.com/cv7tch

                                                                                                                                                                                You should all be ashamed of yourselves, minds in the gutter and all.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                                                                  OK, now I feel stupid...LOL! That'll teach me to get up on the soapbox. Still, I stand by my larger point that your intentions don't control how people take your words.

                                                                                                                                                                                  /self righteousness

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                                  Well if it was in England, "Top Faggot" would be somewhat appropriate. It's always amused me that in Britain "faggot" is a meatball (and of course, "fag" is a cigarette). One year I was in England they were promoting a new line of frozen meatballs with the slogan "take a faggot to lunch!" -- people wondered why I found it so hysterically funny.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                                    I think, had he been talking to someone else would have been offensive. But he was simply directing the term at himself, or rather, specifically saying it shouldn't be directed at him.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. This thread is very confusing.

                                                                                                                                                                              Some posters made assumptions and guesses that were wrong, but the posts read like these observations are fact....

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                                I think if this had been the first challenge of the season Stefan would have gone home. I don't mind if they take past performance into consideration, I just wish they'd be consistent about it.
                                                                                                                                                                                New Orleans themed cooking plays into Carla's comfort zone and yanks Fabio out of his.
                                                                                                                                                                                I'm not an Ilan fan but I did read where he beat Hung in an Iron Chef-type competition.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. the blogs that are up (wylie, susan ungaro, pepin, toby, fabio and the girl who works there that i can never remember what her blog is called) are worth reading though tom's isn't up yet. good detail.

                                                                                                                                                                                17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                  SPOILER ALERT
                                                                                                                                                                                  Did you carefully read the end of Toby's blog about Hosea? I wonder on which episode they narrow down the field from four to three?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: emmiesmom

                                                                                                                                                                                    The finale (begins next week) is a two-parter. Someone leaves next week, and then it's 3 in the finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                      Except that in the commercial I saw today the voiceover says Chef Emeril Lagasse gets to serve up a double elimination. What the - huh?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh REALLY???? A double elim for a catering finale? Hmmmmm.....

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                          POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT
                                                                                                                                                                                          I wonder if we are getting a cliff hanger in the next episode and won't find out who the final contestants are until the episode after that. I don't want to spoil anything for anyone here, but if you carefully read the end of Toby's blog on the bravo website he mentions the next 2 episodes, not just 1. I doubt they would let anything slip by in their judges blogs.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: emmiesmom

                                                                                                                                                                                            *DON'T READ THE REST OF THIS COMMENT IF YOU DON'T WANT TO HEAR MY POTENTIAL SPOILER THEORY*

                                                                                                                                                                                            emmiesmom, i just read TY's blog entry, and he definitely may have said too much...depending on how you interpret it, either he revealed that Hosea makes it to the final three, or he indicated that there will be no elimination next week - which would mean that if Emeril Lagasse gets to announce a double-elimination, then it won't happen until the following week, and we'll be left with just the final two.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                              They've had two runners-up in the past two seasons - you think they're going to go back to just a winner with one runner up? I've read Toby Young's blog as well, and I'm not sure if he's really revealing anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                              AND, I'm not sure that TY is going to be a judge for the finale, so perhaps that's why he said what he said in his blog. I believe Gail returned from her honeymoon and will she be joining Padma and Tom in NOLA. In her blog about the Le Bernardin episode (as a viewer), the last Q&A is:

                                                                                                                                                                                              "Can you give us a little teaser about the Finale?

                                                                                                                                                                                              What I can tell you is that I had the most amazing time in New Orleans. I can't believe how dynamic the city is, and how good and diverse the food is. You will get to see a lot of that on the show. New Orleans will really show the true colors of the remaining chefs. Nothing is as it seems. Nothing."

                                                                                                                                                                                              So she's there - I'm assuming as a returning judge. Would they have both Gail AND Toby along with Padma and Tom (as well as the guest judge, Emeril)?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                i would agree that i am not certain he's revealing anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Gail is clearly there in the previews. Maybe they thought it would be rude to drop TY for the finals after asking him to fill in for Gail.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The blogs are on the Bravo site and thus controlled by Bravo -- if they revealed more than Bravo wanted revealed, they'd be edited or taken down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                    It wouldn't be rude to "drop" him for the finals if they specifically hired him for the last n episodes in NY -- they knew Gail's schedule.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree -- I guess what I meant was that it would be rude to propose such a deal in the first place: that he's good enough to help them out when they need him but not to judge the finale and be part of the outcome after he got so closely involved with the competition/competitors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Either way, I think TY could probably stand a dose of "rude". I am thrilled to hear Gail is coming back--somehow that passed my sleepless mom brain by...

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                  MORE POSSIBLE SPOILER THEORY??:
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Maybe they are bring back the latest contestents to be pykag'ed as sous chefs for the finale? In that case the current final four would all be in the next two episodes?? Wouldn't it be great if Hosea had to be the sous chef for Stephan--Hee Hee (I'm not a Hosea fan--not sure why--he just bugs me)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: emmiesmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                    They've done that since Season 1, so no reason to believe they aren't going to do the same thing this season, especially since someone has written that the various top 6 or so have been seen in NOLA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                      They also do that because the finale is filmed before the shows with the last cuts have be aired, so they bring back the last few eliminated cheftestants so as not to give away who made the finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Except for the one where they got heavyweight pro chefs as their sous chefs for the finale! Though the probably still had the last few around for the reason Ruth cites.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                          They had both in last year's finale - Stephanie assigned former cheftestants to the finalists (and herself) for the first half; that's when Antonia got eliminated. The 2nd half of the finale show, they got the heavyweights.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_chef...

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. The dishes that Carla & Fabio prepared were "childhood" dishes. By that I mean that thay were really simple dishes from the requestor's past that had the ability to evoke all good things about their family's foods. These foods, when done well, are a treat for the palate, but also for the mind -- they can bring back all sorts of warn & fuzzy feelings that greatly enhance the culinary experience. Being able to nail those dishes, and take Lidia and Jacques back to their roots, was wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                                        On the other hand, how can you call yourself a chef, and have gotten to the final 5, and NOT be able to pull off Eggs Benedict????? Basic basic basic. I would like to have seen Stefan go, just on GP's, but a bad Eggs Benedict at this stage in the game?

                                                                                                                                                                                        Carla is a class act. She has a sense of whimsy about her that enhances her skills. I hope she doesn't "over simplify" in NOLA and end up hurting herself by not pulling out all of the stops she needs to pull out..

                                                                                                                                                                                        Here's a question for you: knowing that the rejects are usually brought back to assist the final 4, if you were Carla, Stefan, Hosea or Fabio, who whould you pick to be your sous chef? Who would you NOT want?

                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                          You need someone who is a good soldier and who has the chops, so to speak, of excuting orders. Jeff would be great because he is skilled and he really doesn't have to think, just follow orders. Jamie has the skills but is not a real team player. Ariane would work her butt off for whomever she is working for, just don't ask her to butcher anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Leah would be horrible, especially with seafood. I would be interested to see if Hosea would pick Leah if he had a chance.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                            Wouldn't want Leah; would pick Jamie/Jeff/Radhika in that order, although I like all three as sous chefs. And if Hosea picks Leah, I'm just gonna scream.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                              If anyone *but* Hosea has to work with Leah, I'm gonna scream louder...
                                                                                                                                                                                              ; )
                                                                                                                                                                                              Jamie and Carla for the win!

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Great show, thrilled to see Jacques Pepin, he is my culinary idol. An amazing chef, fantastic cook and all around class act. Carla as it turns out is Very well trained in classic technique — what a perfect pairing with Pepin. Cracked me up that she used to be a model as I always marvel at how much she resembles a bug, at least I think so.
                                                                                                                                                                                            It was nice to see some wind knocked out off Stefan's sails, he is solid but not nearly as great as he thinks he is.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Fabio, toughed it out and did a great job of his grandma's chicken and wins points for his witty comments. TC scored big witty points for his remark about the airlines looking for chefs.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Leah was the right pick to go home. IMHO her only issue, she is young, immature and still inexperienced. I see amazing potential and think we will be hearing more of her in the future as she grows personally and culinarily.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Hosea, just bores me. His food looks like old age home food. Perhaps his nerves are holding him back or perhaps Stefan's culinary rope a dope is working on him. Bottom line he needs to get out of his own way fast or he is next to pack his knifes and go.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh and one last thing, did you check out Jacques pulling out Padma's chair?
                                                                                                                                                                                            Thats right Pepin got game!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                            41 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                                                                                                                                                                              "TC scored big witty points for his remark about the airlines looking for chefs."
                                                                                                                                                                                              ~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                              I had forgotten that one - very funny! But oh boy, when Stefan was ribbing Fabio in the Stew Room about it - hoo boy Fabio did NOT look happy! Perhaps that's why Fabio left the room and the voiceover by him was saying Stefan needs a good ass-kicking!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                Stefan is playing mind games. He has Hosea in his pocket.
                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm glad Fabio is not falling for it and I do hope that he will give Stefan the ass - kicking he so richly needs and deserves.
                                                                                                                                                                                                IMHO Stefan is a great work horse and a fine journey man cook.
                                                                                                                                                                                                He lacks however flair, passion, artistry, creativity. He has the experience and traing but not the heart.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                                                                                                                                                                                  He lacks however flair, passion, artistry, creativity. He has the experience and traing but not the heart.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  ~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                  And that's exactly what I was trying to say above to charmedgirl. Thanks for putting it much more succinctly than I did, GoL.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                    except that panna cotta made in reverse (whites to yolks) to look like the egg with the mango was just cool. and his amuse bouche was adorable. and his drums of chicken pot pie were supposedly quite good and his desserts in restaurant wars. in other seasons there were DEFINITELY better/more interesting, but i don't think it's fair to say he has done nothing creative.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Agree completely AMFM. I had the same thoughts about the panna cotta with mango -- it seriously did look like a poached egg! -- and Stefan's ingenuity bouncing back with the desserts during restaurant wars ... I just didn't feel like arguing anymore. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                        while Stefan's panna cotta was clever in this incarnation and definitely had the "wow" factor in terms of presentation, it wasn't really a unique choice for him. he made panna cotta AND a mango dessert for Restaurant Wars. he's clearly very technically skilled, but i just don't feel like he's all that inspired.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        A little further up, I did say that he had done a couple of things that were obviously creative. I never said he had done nothing creative.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Everyone called out Jamie for her frequent use of scallops. Why nothing on Stefan's frequently making panna cotta?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                        "He lacks however flair, passion, artistry, creativity. He has the experience and traing but not the heart."

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh my gosh - I could not disagree more!
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Just please watch the Le Bernadine episode again, and just watch how he is really helping his fellow chefs...I have said this before - he is arrogant, but not selfish - he was helping and watching - and really interested in a positive result - for the love of food! you can see it in that episode....
                                                                                                                                                                                                        I really like Stefan - actually I might have a bit of a crush on him!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Just because Stefan has helped other chefestants out during service doesn't mean he has the "flair, passion, artistry, creativity" as Godfather of Lunch stated earlier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I guess we all see things differently, but I do think he has flair and creativity, (which is always subject to opinion) but passion, I think without doubt -he has passion! ...and IMO ..heart too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                              When I read everyone's posts, I need to knock myself up side the head and say: WE ARE ONLY SEEING WHAT THE EDITORS WANT US TO SEE". This is not a "real time" show. This is a show that is just that, a show. The editors take a point of view & then manipulate the audience by the way they cut/arrange/juxtapose various snippets from a ton of footage. Stefan has been portrayed as the arrogant SOB character, but we have no clue if he is really that way. Certainly there is a bit of that in him, otherwise where would the clips come from, but he also seems to have a great sense of the absurd. There are times when I'm convinced he's playing to the camera. I think you have to be pretty ballsy just to go on the show, knowing that you could be made to look any way the editors chosae to make you look.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you, PattiCakes. That's why I call these programs "unreality shows." They are contrived, manipulated, edited and sold to the highest bidder in blatant pay-to-play product placement (Glad food storage products, Whole Foods, Calphalon, GE). Unless there's another Colorado chef in future seasons, I seriuosly doubt that I will ever watch 'Top Chef' again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ClaireWalter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was actually pondering the skill of the editors to manipulate your expectations, especially on this episode where they made it look like Stephan was a sure-fire send home (Mainly by inverting their usual telegraphing of what's to come!). Honestly, with only the footage aired, I bet I could make it look as though Leah won and Jacques Pepin was sent home! Imagine with all the raw footage? - the editors could probably make it into a dramatic murder mystery!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Oh my gosh - I could not disagree more"

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Absolutly! If others like Stefan or not he has an incredible amount of talent and creativity. I'd rather like to see some of the critiques hop in the big kitchen and make some of his dishes. A good example was Stefan's QF dish. I've been doing this a lot of years and he has produced some stunning results.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            His demeanor is pretty typical of a young chef with talent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Fritter

                                                                                                                                                                                                              It is not a critic's job to perfom, only to criticize. Just because I eat someting in a restauant I might not report liking does not mean I could ever do any better myself--it's just not my skill set. I'm allowed to say I don't think it's good, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Stefan makes some interesting food, some standard food done technically wel, and some klunkers both in execution and idea, IMO. Could I do better? No. Would I eat in his restaurant based on what I've seen of him on Top Chef? Never.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              BTW, I know many young chefs at very good restaurants, and they're usually down to earth and fun, not know-it-alls. Maybe I just know the nice ones?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                                                                                                                                                                                          >>Stefan is playing mind games. He has Hosea in his pocket. <<

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I bet you Stefan is either staying up nights trying to figure out how to mind f__k Carla, and the answer is he can't. or he's looked past her, which would make her all the more dangerous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think he's not quite sure what to make of her. Example: She was sitting with her eyes closed before a challenge a couple weeks ago, and he looked over and said, a bit derisively, "What are you doing, meditating?" and she replied, serenely, "Yes, I am." He had a rather baffled expression on his face, not having a good comeback. She's the oldest in the crew, and has inner strength the others don't recognize.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                              And what was the thing on the couch before they left for the TC kitchen? Carla sitting next to Stefan, saying "Come on! You can DOOOOOOOOO it! You can DOOOOOOOO it!" in sort of a silly Swedish accent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Had Stefan just said he was too tired to go through a challenge or something similar?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                What a jerk he is. My response, because I am not as nice as Carla, would have been to say "Yes, a-hole, I WAS meditating."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Absolutely right. It really is “tortoise vs. hare”

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                                                                                                                                                                                            If you caught Jacques being a gentleman with Padma, surely you caught Fabio holding the door when leaving for the EC. He said....."Ladies first. Stefan, ladies first." after Stefan had preceeded Carla out of the room (maybe Leah too.....).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Dee S

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Another good catch - I remember that and started laughing at Fabio's comment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm thinking it should be a tie between Fabio and Carla for Fan Favorite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh Fabio. Dontcha just want to go up to him an pinch his cheeks? I LOVED the door-holding remark. The kitty remark, not so much. Chefs, however, tend to be a lewd bunch, so it could be that was part of an on-going string of inside jokes. Remember, these people have lived together, frat house style, for quite a while. I don't blame him as much as I blame the editors. No need to include that -- they've probably cut tamer remarks, but wanted the shock value.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Heh I'm guessing many of our "fav" chefs might be not so fav if we got to hear them talk in the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fame da lupo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sheesh, such puritans on this board! Didn't anyone else read "Kitchen Confidential"? Top "kitty" is nothin'!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: empecot

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Can you call people puritans and then not write the word in question?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: empecot

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You got me wrong, one reason I love chefs is for their being deviants (in some cases, anyway).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    my bet is on Carla for the fan favorite. She's certainly mine, and by all accounts, she's a nice person off camera. But Fabio is a memorable personality, and he's been tremendously fun to watch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Stefan strikes me as the Santino Rice (from Project Runway a few seasons back) of this competition. He's good, he's cocky, you know he is well trained, but he is not easy to live with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    One other thing: Toby is getting on my nerves. The chefs are much nicer to the other chefs than he is, and he comes off as the skunk at the party. Maybe that's supposed to be his role, but sometimes his mean comments are jarring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: brendastarlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      No way Stefan is a Santino -- he's a little cocky, and occasionally hard to work with (although he did save restaurant wars for Leah) but he doesn't seem that hard to live with. The only person who seems to dislike him is Hosea, who obviously has issues (probably because, as we found out last week, he doesn't have any formal training). He seems to be genuinely supportive of his colleagues (didn't he help someone plate their dish last night?), and surprisingly warm (did you hear him whisper "love you forever" when he hugged Leah goodbye last night?). Even Jamie seemed to be more bemused than offended by the fact that he had a crush on her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Jamie and Radhika both had problems being on a team with Stefan; he was often last picked in the team challenges. But that's the only evidence I recall of being "hard to live with."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Remember Steven and Dave working for Stephanie for the final challenge in Season One? yeah, that's what I'm hoping for Stefan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You mean Tiffani.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And that could be interesting. But I think this crowd has more integrity. Although it would be fun to see how Leah or Radhika (and Stefan) do if they're teamed together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree Ruth...and yes, it was Leah he helped last night: getting the eggs on the muffins, or whatever it was she used, for the benedict.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Stefan certainly isn't as awful as Ilan or Marcel -- but he's arrogant and totally annoying. And his strategy is, as others have noted, to stick to things he knows and makes all the time. He's hung up on classic flavor profiles, period. A good cook, I'm sure. Not a top chef in my book. I also find him sexist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Of course, that's what I thought about Hung too. A total cooking-school robot until the judges told him he didn't have heart before the last challenge, and his every other word at the final judging was "heart" this and "love" that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Santino was at least extremely creative. Also a complete jerk, but I can almost get more on board considering he had the talent. I see technique, but not talent in Stefan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ruth - THANK YOU!!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            thank you so much for seeing what I have been seeing in Stefan!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            All through this board I have been reading such harsh things said about Stefan, and I wonder how people can perceive things so differently....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: brendastarlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Santino was really, really funny, which made him a blast to watch. Stefan is pretty dull IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: Dee S

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Did anybody notice that Fabio delicately hid his cut hand in an almost casual stance? Very classy indeed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It was great to see the cut of him quietly taking abuse from Hosea and Stefan about his dish and then winning it all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Icantread

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I noticed Fabio was hiding his hand behind his back during service and standing at parade rest at JT... I thought it was cool that he wasn't using it as an excuse or a way to garner sympathy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Icantread

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              FYI, Fabio didn't cut himself, he broke his finger...and i'm still not sure how. they never explained what happened.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In a blog, he mentions that he slipped and fell on his pinkie finger and dislocated it. His entire hand began to swell.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: TampaAurora

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  thanks, i really was wondering about it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4. Best line of the season: "Me and peas are like this!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It was a Forrest Gump moment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. No comments yet about that red dress Padma was wearing? Yowsers!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            23 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: saeyedoc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm actually tired of the Fabio schtick and I think based on food he should have been gone a long time ago. I also think he is very thinned skinned, the slightest criticism really throws him. I thought he was going to start swinging when they made fun of his airplane food salad in the stew room.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I heart Fabio - Gotta give the guy some credit - he broke his finger and still won the challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: GirlFoodieNYC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think he was being a drama queen about the finger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, but having cut, broken, burned and done various things to my fingers through the years, it hurts like hell, and it came right before he was going to cook for Lidia. I would have been in tears.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: brendastarlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      agreed - I mean, I don't think he was being that much of a baby considering he was like whatever, I don't wanna go to the hospital. I guess I'll never know until I break my finger on top chef...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Based on what?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I thought he was quite dignified...and quite a trooper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I would agree if he had just gone on about his job and shut up about it. But he launched into his huge tirade and made a total spectacle of himself. I think the moment called for focused stoicism.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          What happened to his finger anyway? He didn't have a cast so it wasn't broken and a dislocated finger doesn't hurt that much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            He's a hot blooded Italian! You can't really expect stoicism!?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm not really sure - I thought it was said in the show that he broke it, but I think in his Bravo interveiw he says "dislocated" it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm amazed at what people expect/demand from chefs and the contestants on this show. And I'm having a very hard time reconciling all of it with the fact that people also complain about prices in restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The innovation of da Vinci, the precision of an engineer, the stoicism of a monk, the patience of a priest, the humility of I don't even know who, and all of the food has to have heart, soul and never have been cooked before by anyone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A guy got his finger smooshed in a direction it wasn't designed to go and was clearly sticking at a very unhappy angle on screen. That hurts. Was it Hosea that said Fabio was very pale? You can't fake that. That's just a physical, natural reaction. Within what appeared to be a very short period of time he was back at it rolling along and the only effect was that he couldn't hold onto things with his injured hand as well as he normally would have been. This somehow isn't sufficient?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The "tirade" was for television. It is a television show afterall.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ditto, ccbweb and AMFM.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Nice post

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          He is thin skinned. I have a love hate relationship with his attitude, the whole fiery latin temper bit is really getting tiresome but his one liners are awesome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: saeyedoc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          shhhh cant talk... too busy remembering

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LOL! OK, we women had Eric Ripert last week, you can drool over Padma this week. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              PIGS, we are all PIGS!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But we're happy pigs, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes were are. There is a reason why pork fat rules.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ah, but the pig is a wonderful, magical animal...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Padma doesn't usually do it for me. She reminds me too much of a fish, for some reason. But I have to admit...that dress was ridiculously sexy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Padma did look good this week. In fact, her wardrobe has been much better this season -- less hoochie mama (which I understand is not a problem for everyone :-) )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Padma is yesterday's news... Freida Pinto is the new love of my life.... lol.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: saeyedoc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My DH noticed it!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. The REAL winner last night?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Whole Foods. For their peas. Out of season (late July). Proclaimed to be delicious.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Not even Carla could turn stale, picked too late peas, into a masterpiece.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                They may just have caused a run on pea seeds for home gardeners.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm dying to try her recipe. I've done peas with mint, but not with other herbs. If they were good enough for Jacques Pepin, then they're good enough for me!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: brendastarlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Carla's peas had butter, tarragon, lemon thyme and salt/pepper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The good peas were a HUGELY enjoyable surprise. I've never found any raw supermarket peas worth buying, at any time or any season. The sugars turn so soon after they're picked. In fact, if I'd been Carla, my first thought would have been to head for the super-sweets in the freezer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm betting Lee Ann played a role in sourcing those, knowing they were a required part of the challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Leah's exit interview is up at Bravo: http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/video...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pretty damn funny (but very short) footage of Leah and Jamie completely drunk at JT when Jamie was voted off. Would have loved to have seen more of that! Also, Jeff makes a comment about Padma on camera at the sequester house that you KNOW is going to be brought up at the reunion show!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Is it just me, or are we seeing much more of the behind-the-scenes this year. In the past, I only remember hearing about the Stew Room and other antics unless they were caught on film by accident. This is also the first year I've been visiting the blogs and watching Bravo's videos so it may just be my perception.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TampaAurora

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        They've definitely added additional "commercials", if you want to call them that, during the show that don't seem to be part of the actual show - just an excerpt from the time during the challenges.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And same with me and the videos - I *like* having the bonus clips and the sequester house videos to view at the Bravo site. I've always read the blogs in the past, but hadn't watched the videos - I *think* they were there last year; I just kept forgetting to go view them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The sequester house video is new this season, but they've had bonus videos since the beginning, including the extended exit interviews, outtakes, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The sequester house kinds of videos for TC and for Project Runway have been online for several years, but many, many folks either couldn't find them on the less than stellar Bravo website or couldn't download them because of the size of the files.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've watched a lot of the videos over the years for both shows, and while it's true they can be hard to find, they've had a variety. The sequester house thing I'm pretty sure has only been done in the most recent seasons, as before Bravo hadn't publicly acknowledged the sequestering, even though it was obvious (as with all reality shows, I guess..I don't watch others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: TampaAurora

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The back-at-the-dorm junk food blind tasting between season 1's Dave and Miguel "Chunk le Funk" was such a hit, I think they've been looking for ways to show the behind-the-scenes without taking air time away from the food. I just caught up on a handful of this season's videos, now that I have FiOS...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I think Stefan is a hoot... He's playing mind games and trash talking with the other contestants. He has the skills to back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thinking of the persona's of the previous winners...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        TC1: Harold was mellow and let his cooking do all talking.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        TC 2: Ilan was a weasel who talked trash and instigated stuff but hid in the background. I think he played all the contestants... even his "friends"/allies.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        TC3: Hung stated that he wanted to play the role of the "bad boy" but I don't think he was that bad.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        TC4: Stephanie (The anti-Tiffani) was level-headed and seemed focus. I don't remember her saying anything bad about anyone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Good analysis of their personalities, dave! I especially like the "anti-Tiffani" one. :-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. OK, so I have a question -- What kind of model was Carla? There are all kinds of models and they don't necessarily have to be high fashion models. So where did she model? Was it in NY? Wouldn't you kill for one of her tear sheets??!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I love Carla but was a little surprised too when she mentioned she had modeled before. So, I did a little googling and found this story which I believe is referring to the same Carla Hall from Top Chef (says she was a "runway model"):
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.foodservicemonthly.com/pal...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Augusta

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Well, that would certainly make sense. Runway models can be quirky looking as long as they can (literally) walk the walk. She must have been interesting as a runway model...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, presumably she dressed, groomed and presented herself differently as a young runway model than she does as a forty-something chef. She certainly has the height and build for a runway model!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Her background and experience is impressive for someone who is being presented as a quirky caterer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Augusta

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                it also says she was a CPA, which impresses me more than the modeling! I really hope Carla goes all the way, because the men are giving me the impression that they do not even consider Carla competition and I would love for Carla wipe the smirks off all their faces. This is the first season I've watched Top Chef, and I find that I like Tom the least. Very often it looks as though it pains him to give a compliment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Augusta

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think Carla would have made an absolutely stunning model. In fact, she still would today. Groomed for the runway instead of the kitchen, eight feet tall with that posture and poise? No-brainer to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ditto. Great facial geometry, if not classically beautiful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think I would agree with you--she is quite stunning plus she has a big, beautiful smile. She'd be a hit in her cooking show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Augusta

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree with you that she would be a hit in a cooking show -- IMO Carla and Fabio are the TV stars that come out of this iteration of TC. Her smile would have been irrelevant to runway modeling though. Did you EVER see a runway model smile????

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I read this in an article "The Howard University graduate worked as an accountant at PWC and then left for Europe to model at runway shows like Betsey Johnson and Workers for Freedom. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh I found it...very interesting ...about halfway

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.expressnightout.com/conten...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        down the page....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LaLa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i love carla. her history is fascinating and she has done some impressive things. it helps that the style of her food appeals to me too! thanks for the article link.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: Augusta

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, "Alchemy Caterers" is her company.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4. My favourite part of the episode: When Carla said the squab was overcooked, Tom agreed with her. Then, Jacques disagreed with Tom and DEFENDED CARLA'S FOOD! How cool would that be for a chef? Jacques Pépin says he could die happy after eating your food, then he defends that food when another chef criticizes it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Carla for the win!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And if Carla doesn't win, I hope someone gives her a cooking show. That I would watch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: miss_bennet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, yeah! Carla would be great, great, great with her own cooking show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: miss_bennet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Although I enjoy squab, I do not order it often beacuse of several overly bloody dining experiences, even when I've requested it medium doneness. Have to agree with Jacques Pepin on this point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Regarding Tom C., here's what I don't get. He criticized Carla for not incorporating peas into her squab dish, yet at his restaurant Craft you would necessarily have to order both separately. It seemed like a strange comment based on this fact alone, and more so given that Monsieur Pepin did not specifically ask for, say, squab on a pea purée or something to that effect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This episode had a number of dishes I would have enjoyed trying (Stefan's eggs, both of Carla's dishes, Fabio's chicken) assuming what I was seeing would translate into good eating. Hence, for me, it was the best episode this season. Not to mention the great panel of guest judges and their dignified analysis of the dishes.