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Top Chef Finale Part 1(spoilers)

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Now there's a crazy twist! Love it! :)

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  1. I am SO psyched! I did read in my Fafarazzi Email tonight that TWO chefs get eliminated!

    1. I hate it....I would be so ticked if I was competing.

      1. I'm split about the twist. Good seeing them compete -- we all know the controversies -- but boy I'd be p.o.'d.

        1. agreed that i'd be pissed if i was a contestant...but as a viewer, i LOVE it! unfortunately i want Jeff to win, and i think it's gonna be Jamie...

          HAPPY DANCE!!!! but damn, that's a tough qualification. sheesh.

          4 Replies
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Same here - I'd love for Jeff to be back in it, but based on what I saw, Jamie's dish definitely looked to be the best.

            And the winner is.......JEFF!!!! Yay! But holy smokes - he has to WIN the next challenge to make it to the finale. Wow. Pressure is right!

            1. re: LindaWhit

              I thought it looked like Padma was repulsed by Jamie's dish? (I rewound a few times).

            2. but you have to figure that in first years they didn't know everything or how it was going to happen. so... occasionally you have to mix it up a little.

              1. And to wade back into the fray, I really do think the Jeff and Jamie are deserving of another chance, but Leah? Oy!

                Her dish was kind of ...eh.

                I liked Jeff's and Jamie's though.

                Interesting twist. he has to win the whole challenge to get back in.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Phaedrus

                  i thought jamie's looked the best (still). she may not have one or been the nicest but she and carla make the food i'd most like to eat. i like jeff too though so this should be interesting!

                  1. re: Phaedrus

                    Leah said she was making a gumbo and that she learned how from Emeril. later, it was called a crawfish soup. I doubt Emeril has cooked anything like that dishwater.

                    1. re: edible complex

                      Ding ding ding. Dishwater, perfect description.

                      Oh, oh. Hosea, gumbo. Not enough time I don't think.

                      1. re: Phaedrus

                        Stefan's making gumbo as well...and doesn't even seem to be doing a roux....?

                  2. if Jeff wins EC, then 2 go home. what happens if he doesn't win?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: edible complex

                      If Jeff isn't declared the winner, he goes. He doesn't advance to judge's table, so then one other is eliminated.

                    2. oh crap. Jeff is doing TOO MUCH again.

                      1. oh carla. i LOVE you but you should have rethought this.
                        if you can't open them...

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: AMFM

                          Yeah, but her line right back at Stefan "Yeah, that's what all the men say: One second, honey!" was priceless!

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            love her. and i LOVE that she helped even in the finale. i mean that's awesome.

                            although to be honest it almost looked like if he had time stefan would've helped her back - just not hosea or jeff.

                            i can see helping people you like but not those you don't. my guess is carla likes more people than stefan - and that makes her happier. more love to put in her food. :)

                            1. re: AMFM

                              so did anyone end up helping her with the oysters?!? I hope this issue doesn't send her home!

                                1. re: aerin13

                                  I just watched the bonus video and indeed, Stefan did help Carla with her oysters. So he's not a total jerk.

                              1. Is next season in New Orleans? Should be..

                                15 Replies
                                1. re: The Chowfather

                                  Don't know - they haven't mentioned where next season's show is going to take place.

                                        1. re: ChefJeffe

                                          Interesting that they're going back to SFO. Wish they'd pick a place they hadn't already been.

                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              I was kind of hoping for the deep South, like Savannah.

                                                1. re: AMFM

                                                  That would also work for me. :-)

                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                    Actually in looking at it again, it was for a casting call, not the location. Sorry!!!

                                                    1. re: ChefJeffe

                                                      OK, WAY different! Thanks for the clarification!

                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                          On another board I read, there was a Top Chef sighting at a Glendale, CA whole foods.

                                        3. re: The Chowfather

                                          only (to be honest) if they don't make them do food this limited the whole time. i am NOT knocking cajun or creole food but i actually think it would get kitschy really fast if they stuck to that. and i'm also not saying that in NOLA they'd have to stick with that. just that they shouldn't

                                          1. re: AMFM

                                            we have an incredibly diverse cuisine scene here in NOLA, far from kitschy.

                                            1. re: edible complex

                                              i said SPECIFICALLY that i didn't think that HAD to happen with the NOLA food scene. just that they'd have to be careful not to let it. i was pro the NOLA choice but was surprised at how cliche they were expecting this to be. not much creativity allowed it seemed.

                                        4. Carla is glowing about the dresses and outfits. An Fabio thinks the masks reminds him of a porno movie. He's hilarious! He is definitely Italian.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                            Carla got GREAT table reviews from the judges for her food! And Hosea got the gumbo right!

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              i'm thinking either Hosea or Carla won this, which means bye-bye Jeff again :(

                                          2. Roux doesn't have to be black. Walnut colored rouxs work with lighter gumbos. Too dark a roux overwhelms the finer protein flavors.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: shallots

                                              Sure, but Stefan's gumbo was duck and rabbit, so wouldn't you say a darker roux would have been more appropriate? Just to my thinking - I'm no gumbo expert.

                                              1. re: lisavf

                                                with a gumbo z'herbes, it would be a lighter roux. with duck and rabbit, it would be darker.

                                                1. re: edible complex

                                                  yummmmmmmm Gumbo z'herbes! Have you ever had Leah Chase's?

                                            2. I'd love to see Fabio, Stefan and Jeff in the finals. They are the best three

                                              1. yeah!!!!!! carla rocked it!

                                                1. wow - no one bombed!

                                                  1. If I was betting now, at the commercial, Jeff didn't make it -- didn't win. From the editing, you gotta think Stefan is vulnerable -- they have been making him out to be so cocky and the last cut showed him making a f-u motion at judge's table, but as we all know the editing is meant to deceive. From the comments they loved Carla's and Hosea's dishes, and thought Fabio's was good but lacked heat.

                                                    1. oh, SNAP! did Stefan really just do that???

                                                      ok, so i say Stefan is going home...and if Jeff somehow wins, so is Fabio!

                                                      32 Replies
                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                        Yeah. And Tom did NOT look too happy...and the next edit showing Stefan realizing he could have just screwed himself......he looked like a little kid scuffing at the dirt.

                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                          i don't know. jeff's comments weren't that bad. maybe they'll send team euro home?

                                                          1. re: AMFM

                                                            that's what i'm wondering...will they think Jeff really proved himself enough to declare him the "winner" of this challenge? i'd LOVE to see that happen.

                                                            1. re: AMFM

                                                              Carla just edges out Jeff and sends him home. Fabio is in trouble

                                                              1. re: The Chowfather

                                                                i'll be pissed if they cut Fabio instead of Stefan. i've been defending Stefan for the past several weeks, but based on his behavior tonight - in the kitchen and at JT - he doesn't deserve to stay. and the judges really didn't like his dessert or his drink.

                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                  Well, there was the foreshadowing with the story about Fabio's mother.

                                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                    Damn. You're right. I heard him saying that in the confessional, and didn't put two-and-two together.

                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                      Yeah, but he also talked in prior episodes about wanting to win in order to help his mother.

                                                                      1. re: lisavf

                                                                        I adore Fabio but is anyone else having trouble believing his “seeck MAma een Eetaly” and the “peees of poop car” stories? His restaurant in Moorpark looks pretty nice: http://www.cafefirenze.net/page.cfm?P....

                                                                        1. re: pisang goreng

                                                                          It could be an act, but I've known people who have owned businesses that catered to a high-end clientele and yet lived fairly modest lifestyles.

                                                                          I could see a chef and restaurateur putting everything he had into the business and living on the cheap to make it work.

                                                                          1. re: rweater

                                                                            I think it's quite common actually.

                                                                            1. re: rweater

                                                                              Yes, true, I've known people like that too. Since my post I've read several interviews with Fabio posted on amuse-biatch in which he states that the editors made it seem like his mother is dying, when in reality she has to have surgery on her hand every six months (which sounds strange to me) and can no longer work. He also said that he sold his three(!) restaurants in Italy to come here.

                                                                              In true Fabio fashion, he also said this:

                                                                              "[Bravo:] Is she [his mom] proud of how far you got in the competition?
                                                                              "[Fabio:] You know what? She doesn’t even know what’s going on. She know I’m on the show, but it’s hard to realize your son is on national TV because in Italy we don’t have these things. In Italy, if you are going on TV, it’s because you killed a whole family somewhere or you robbed a bank."
                                                                              and
                                                                              "[Bravo:] Do chefs make good lovers?
                                                                              "[Fabio:] Chefs make great lovers, 'cause if you don’t please them while you’re having sex, you please them while you’re making dinner. I please them in both cases."
                                                                              http://amuse-biatch.blogspot.com/

                                                                              I *heart* him. lol

                                                                              1. re: pisang goreng

                                                                                In Italy, if you are going on TV, it’s because you killed a whole family somewhere or you robbed a bank.
                                                                                ~~~~~
                                                                                ROFLMAO!!! This guy cracks me up - he SO needs to get his own show!

                                                                                ETA: Oh WAIT! It looks like Bravo is giving him a show!
                                                                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                I hope you liked my face, because unfortunately, you’re going to be seeing a lot of it.

                                                                                ANOTHER TV SHOW? TELL US MORE!

                                                                                Aaah, I can’t say yet, but let me just say - Watch What Happens.
                                                                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                Interesting!

                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                  He is the chefish equivalent of Yogi Berra.

                                                                                  1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                    No, hes not, because Yogi Berra's first language is English!

                                                                                    Besides most of what Yogi said didn't make sense. Fabio speaks English much better than most of us would speak Italian....

                                                                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                      Yes, and for someone who has only been in this country for two years, he has an incredible command of idiom -- to say nothing of cursing!

                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                        Somehow, curses are the first thing that sticks in the head of anyone learning a new language especially as a culture immersion. Even traveling, I tend to pick up the idioms along with the basics such as where is the bathroom. The grammar is secondary, the basics come first and cursing is a very expressive way to get along.

                                                                                        1. re: TampaAurora

                                                                                          As I think someone else said here, part of the charm of a lot of foreign speakers of any language is how they use jargon and cursing. I lived in France and finally got the hang of their marvelous wealth of profanity. But now I understand why some of the things I said at first were hilarious to my peers.

                                                                                          It's also why you sometimes blanch at a foreign speaker of your tongue using a particularly bad curse inappropriately sometimes. It's one of the very hardest things to catch on to in learning a new language -- hence some people's taking great offense at Fabio's "Top Pu***" joke. Or how a Brit friend of mine cleared a room by laughingly calling her new father-in-law the C-word at the wedding reception.

                                                                                          Oops!

                                                                                      2. re: ChefJune

                                                                                        Actually, Yogi's first language was probably Italian as well; he was born to Italian immigrant parents, and grew up in a neighborhood of Italian immigrants. He only went to school through the 8th grade. The things Yogi said DID make sense - to Yogi - and were part of his "charm", just as Fabio's use of idiomatic English is a part of his charm.

                                                                                        1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                          i was born to immigrants. english was still my 1st language. most 1st generation american's 1st language is english. we learn language from our peers more than our parents. that's why children of immigrants don;t speak w/ foreign accents.

                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                            And I would be willing to bet you weren't born in 1925. Very different time, particularly for immigrants: very limited means to go outside of the confines of the ethnic neighborhood, limited access to radio and, of course, no TV. Believe me, I am not knocking Fabio's linguistic accomplishments, nor yours, but the continual bombardment of and exposure to the sound of English through TV, radio and movies today makes picking up English easier than it was back then. My daughter-in-law taught for several years in a school in Queens where the student population was heavily Guyanese/Indian. In addition to the English spoken at school, the other primary source of English education for the kids (as well as for many of the parents) was what they got from TV.

                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                              You also have to take into account the parent's attitude. Many Asian immigrants will keep their kids close to home, away from the big bad American world, thereby stunting their English development.

                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                Very true. DH and I were born in the US and are children of immigrants. We speak English without a foreign accent. However, we didn't grow up in a Chinatown or a Koreatown, and a lot of our friends were not Chinese or Korean. But I know many Chinese-Americans who were born in America (or came here at the age of 2 or 3) and raised in Chinatowns and were not allowed to stray far away. If you listen to them speak, one would probably think they came to America as a teenager even though they've been living here for almost all of their lives.

                                                                                      3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                        i have NO doubt he will get his own show. he's perfect for "food celebrity"

                                                                                        1. re: AMFM

                                                                                          Read my edited post above - looks like he is getting one!

                                                                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                          oh WOW!

                                                                                          I'm happy for him - and I will definitely watch - but I'm afraid with a show of his own and producers etc etc... All his charm will be forever lost. Well I hope not

                                                                                      4. re: pisang goreng

                                                                                        Be careful visiting his web site, after I landed on his home page I clicked on a link to the "blog" and a new page opened up, but simultaneously my security software alerted me: "About this Trojan
                                                                                        Detected: Exploit-IFrame.gen.c (Trojan), Exploit-IFrame.gen.c (Trojan)
                                                                                        Location: C:\Users..."

                                                                                        I am not saying that the restaurant is purposely sending out a trojan, just beware if clicking through.

                                                                              2. re: The Chowfather

                                                                                I thought it was more like Carla Hosea then Jeff in terms of who they liked best.

                                                                                1. re: The Chowfather

                                                                                  I didn't think Carla "edged" Jeff... I thought from all the comments she was the clear winner, and I understood Hosea was right behind her.

                                                                                  I'm really sorry to see Fabio go. I can't stand Stefan's attitude -- especially towards women.

                                                                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                    I was half-expecting Emeril to offer Jeff a job at one of his restaurants, he seemed that impresssed with him, both in the Quickfire and the Main Challenge.

                                                                                    Might yet happen. Who knows...

                                                                                    1. re: cmvan

                                                                                      I was thinking and hoping the same thing. Emeril's SOBE could do with a new chef (pardon to the chef is he's new from the past couple years)

                                                                            2. I never thought I'd ever say this, but I am glad to see Gail back.

                                                                              Also, no comments about Padma's outfit?

                                                                              Sounds like Carla is top two at least.

                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                Tom just said that Carla, Jeff and Hosea are top 3!

                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                  carla ROCKED it. to everyone who didn't think she could really cook....

                                                                                  i am SO happy!!!!!!

                                                                                  1. re: AMFM

                                                                                    Yes, but Jeff has to win it ALL to remain in the competition - whereas it looks like Carla might get the win, meaning he'd be out.

                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                      And she wins it! So Jeff is out. Damn. I really wish she could CHOOSE that Jeff remains in.

                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                          But you know she'd never do it. She'd keep Stefan, as Jeff had already been booted. Carla's way too diplomatic (and I doubt the producers/judges would put her on the spot like that).

                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            plus apparently stefan helped her with the oysters so....

                                                                                2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                  by the way phaedrus i never comment on padma (honestly rarely notice) but i LOVED her dress. hated the dog collar thing. ugh.

                                                                                3. by the way, gayle looks great. marriage must be agreeing with her. :)

                                                                                  1. OK, we're at the commercial. Jeff didn't do well enough to win -- he gets a moral victory by being top 3 but he didn't win. So he's out. He didn't beat Carla or Hosea.

                                                                                    So all the editing has Stefan out, overconfident and nothing special. Bad drink. But they need to keep the villain in. So Fabio is the other one eliminated, and we all spend the next week crying foul and reading the blogs for rationalizations.

                                                                                    24 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: nosh

                                                                                      The whole villain thing is getting tiring season after season. I would have tossed Stefan tonight.

                                                                                      I am hoping to see more Fabio in this life of mine.

                                                                                      1. re: JanPrimus

                                                                                        I am hoping to see more Fabio in this life of mine.
                                                                                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                        In Tom's blog on Bravo's site says that he got to spend some time with Fabio just after this elimination. He was quite impressed with what Fabio has accomplished professionally thus far and implied that there was some big news, which he could not reveal, coming soon from Fabio.

                                                                                        1. re: kmcarr

                                                                                          He could easily host a cooking show on one of the food focused networks... he's youthful, funny, a guy's guy and appealing to ladies.

                                                                                          1. re: kmcarr

                                                                                            His arrivaderci video mentions in the works: investors for a new restaurant, TV show, cookbook...

                                                                                        2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                          OK he does not try to take over the world like someone from the Legion of Doom.

                                                                                          He is just a pompous dick that give Europe a bad name on one hand and a good one on the other. To me he is the most unlikable people I have ever seen on the show.

                                                                                          1. re: JanPrimus

                                                                                            Really? One man can do in or elevate an entire continent based on a performance in a cable television show based in the US? Although given that you refer to him as 'the most unlikable people'-- perhaps he is worth more than a single person to you?

                                                                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                Funny thing is I am first generation of the boat from Europe. I apologize for using generalizations that people may have.

                                                                                          2. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                            And IMO, no one can replace Ilan for complete distastefulness. Stefan at least has a sense of humor about him at times. Ilan was just a jerk all around.

                                                                                            1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                              this show is about the ability to cook, and the ability to run a kitchen.

                                                                                              it is not a popularity contest.

                                                                                              1. re: thew

                                                                                                Agreed. A contestant's (in this case Stefan's) likeability by the viewers, or the other contestants, is irrelevant.

                                                                                                1. re: Hurner

                                                                                                  but in the real world, one has to work with others and be liked by your patrons, otherwise it could be lonely at the top.

                                                                                                  1. re: edible complex

                                                                                                    Agreed again. But we're not discussing the real world, we're discussing reality television....big difference.

                                                                                                  2. re: Hurner

                                                                                                    Since when is likability irrelevant in a TV show?

                                                                                                    Maybe it isn't supposedly a consideration for the judges -- except when they want it to be. Radhika was essentially sent home for her attitude, when you get right down to it. (Of course, I don't think Restaurant Wars is a very interesting or relevant challenge in the context of this show anyhow.) They've weighed whether others have "acted like a chef" before, though they do seem to be pulling that out less often.

                                                                                                    But to the home viewers, likability is an enormous part of it. The cheftestants' personalities are the main thing that makes me watch. I don't mind Ted Allen's "Chopped," but since we don't get to know those people, it's far less engaging television. (It's also pretty annoying to people who like food, because the challenge ingredients are so insane. Wonton wrappers, ground beef, banana and cream of mushroom soup? It's like a whole series based around the "Top Chef" vending machine/convenience store challenges, which are really about making gross prepackaged stuff remotely palatable. Well, that and schoolroom lunch table "dare you to mix those two together" games. Ted, fewer gimmicks, please.)

                                                                                                    In the four winners of this show so far, they've had two decent human beings in Stephanie and Harold. Hung was a pompous technician who executed boring standards well throughout the competition (hrm, who does that remind me of?). Ilan was a reprehensible person, though no worse than any of his final competitors. That was the season I quit watching before the end because I honestly didn't care which one of those last four nasty jerks won. The personalities are a key factor for me, and I'd bet the same goes for most viewers.

                                                                                                    1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                                      I thought this part of Gail's blog at Bravo was rather telling (speaking of Stefan): "....and there's no question he doesn't have the skill, but it's that little piece of thoughtfulness that he's lacking. He's sort of on auto-pilot. It's more of an assembly line with him and with Carla you can really see her mind working with the dishes she produced."

                                                                                                      Auto-pilot. Perfect. That's exactly what I see Stefan doing. It's all by rote with him and there's not a lot of thinking about it. That and his dismissiveness of others is what turns me off about him (as he was with Hosea's gumbo, which turned out to be far better than his). I have noticed he hasn't much said anything (or we haven't been shown anything) about Carla and/or her food, other than the brief comment about her meditating a few episodes back.

                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                        I found it interesting that last night Stefan said Leah is a good chef during the QF. Also, in a Bravo interview posted on the blogs a few weeks ago after Jaime was eliminated, Stefan said he thought Jaime would be the one to beat in the finale. On the other hand, he acts like Carla doesn't exist.

                                                                                                        1. re: pisang goreng

                                                                                                          "On the other hand, he acts like Carla doesn't exist."
                                                                                                          ~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                          And THAT could be his downfall.

                                                                                                      2. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                                        Good points, and I agree with you. But unless the viewers are doing the voting - and they don't except for "season favorite" - likeability is irrelevant to the TC judges.

                                                                                                  3. re: nosh

                                                                                                    I don't know, it really seemed closer than that for Jeff. I think they'd rate him above Hosea

                                                                                                    1. re: Icantread

                                                                                                      I didn't get that they rated Jeff above Hosea. watch the videos again.

                                                                                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                        Well, I'm not going to watch it again, but Tom's blog does seem to indicate Jeff was never in contention despite some delicious food. Too bad, as I really liked him. Perhaps my like of Jeff and dislike of Hosea played into my opinion.

                                                                                                      2. re: Icantread

                                                                                                        I thought it seemed closer between Jeff and Carla when I watched it but then I realized they HAD to make it seem that way for suspense. If it was clear that Jeff's wasn't as good as Hosea or Carla, then he'd definitely be going home and then only one of Fabio or Stefan would have gone. The way they approached it, it could have been Carla or Jeff who would win and so it could have been Team Euro who went home. It's all in the editing because the show made it seem like everything Jeff did was amazing but the blogs show otherwise.

                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                          It sounds like the editors did this on the Le Bernardin challenge as well--they made it very suspenseful as to who would go home, Jamie or Leah, but when you read the blogs I think it sounded like there was no question that Jamie's dish was the worst.

                                                                                                          1. re: Nettie

                                                                                                            I think it almost plays against the judges because when they let someone go, with all that false suspense, people think the judges have made the wrong decision. It's only those of us who overanalyze the whole thing, read the blogs, etc. who figure it out. Or, who care to figure it out.

                                                                                                    2. OK, i'm *thrilled* for Carla, but so sad for Jeff! :(

                                                                                                      shit! Fabio got screwed.

                                                                                                      Carla NEEDS to win this thing.

                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                        agreed. but he did well and left on a WAY better note than before so I think it was still a win for him.

                                                                                                        1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                          I knew Stefan would make it in. Padma always looks somewhere else before she looks at the loser, and she started by looking at Stefan.

                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                            OK, Linda, I don't know what scares me more: that you noticed that. or that I'm kicking myself for not noticing it.

                                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                              LOL! I've been noticing it throughout this season....she *always* looks at someone else, and then turns her head slightly. So when she eyeballed Stefan and he gave her the raised eyebrow (yes, I know it's editing and perhaps he didn't do that right at that exact moment!) - I kinda figure it was Fabio who was the goner.

                                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                i'm kicking myself too, Phaedrus :) for 5 seasons i've been trying to figure out what Padma's "tell" is!

                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                  Woo hoo! Maybe I should head to Vegas! :-)

                                                                                                            2. re: AMFM

                                                                                                              i just wish the judges had at least told Jeff that he was their second-favorite of the night.

                                                                                                          2. OK, shoulda been watching in Vegas.

                                                                                                            1. I am really offended by Fabio being eliminated.................

                                                                                                              23 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                  I thought Stefan did much worse than him! I wonder if I was the only one who thought this.... I'm sad. I really enjoyed Fabio and thought he was a good chef. The last couple of episodes it has seemed like (through intense editing naturally) that Stefan hasn't really been into the whole thing. Too confident.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Pujielikesmacarons

                                                                                                                    I agree on his overconfidence - even Colicchio said that at JT. His comment about Hosea's gumbo was obviously completely wrong, as everyone seemed to think that Hosea nailed his gumbo with the dark roux.

                                                                                                                    But based on what the judges said, Fabio did seem to have a few things more "off" than Stefan. I'm thinking it was a close vote, as they did seem to settle on the Top 3 immediately (still (wish Jeff could have been in the Top, but I understand the way they set up the requirement that he had to win the challenge to remain in the competition), but struggled with who to go home.

                                                                                                                    While Stefan was wrong in that he had won 10 competitions between QFs and ECs (it has been 8 - 4 each), he has done better than Fabio overall. I think this probably had something to do with why they picked Stefan - although the judges will say they don't count past performance in decisions. I have to believe it sticks in their minds who's done better overall.

                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                      According to the Wikipedia tally, the scorecard is:
                                                                                                                      Stefan: 8 wins, 2 in top 3
                                                                                                                      Carla: 4 wins, 3 in top 3
                                                                                                                      Hosea: 3 wins, 2 in top 3

                                                                                                                      Although they only list the QF winner, not who was called out on top.

                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                        But Fab effed up the *Italian* dish (bland pasta) which he just couldn't restrain himself from including in this Creole cook-off.

                                                                                                                        Gotta go for that sorry.

                                                                                                                        Btw, am I the only one that loves that Stefan is a bit of a dick?

                                                                                                                        1. re: Sui_Mai

                                                                                                                          I usually find him very entertaining but based on the last two challenges I think I was overrating his chef skills.
                                                                                                                          Prior to a couple of weeks ago I thought if he lost it would be because of a self-inflicted meltdown but now I see him as very beatable. Both Hosea and Carla are capable of beating him straight up.

                                                                                                                          1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                            I do agree that he somehow has lost his mad skillz.

                                                                                                                            But I do find it interesting that that has co-incided with Carla kicking it up like a thousand notches recently. They just want an interesting finale. Something's cooking for sure.

                                                                                                                            If you think this show's not getting more and more into the hands of the producers, just ask yourself why Tony Bourdain hasn'y showed up yet.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Sui_Mai

                                                                                                                              It was strange that AB didn't show up during the NYC season. Before the season started I thought for sure there would be a challenge at Les Halles.

                                                                                                                              1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                Hmmmm. And the plot thickens.

                                                                                                                                Why is it that I KNOW I'm being manipulated by the producers/editors, but I continue to watch & tell myself that it's "reality"? I have a nephew who would be dynomite on that show, but he (and his colleagues) all agree that the show is too much in the hands of the producers to risk being made "the dumb one", or "the nasty one", or the whatever one.

                                                                                                                                1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                  but didn't ariane say she was correctly portrayed. Seems like the only time you hear that "they made me look that way" is when someone goes home and gets flack.

                                                                                                                                2. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                  Maybe he was busy/out on the road with one of his own shows. Or maybe *his* producers/network don't want him on the competition.

                                                                                                                                  I don't get why the producers would be against having Tony Bourdain on -- seems to me he's great for attracting viewers/ratings, which is bottom line what's most important to them.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                    To quote Miss Anne Elk, " This theory, which belongs to me, is as follows... This is how it goes...
                                                                                                                                    The next thing that I am about to say is my theory.
                                                                                                                                    Ready?"

                                                                                                                                    When he eliminated Dale instead of Lisa in Restaurant Wars season 4, Tom was pretty ticked off. I think we've seen the last of Anthony Bourdain on Top Chef and Toby Young was brought in to fill the witty observation void. Sadly that casting missed by a mile.

                                                                                                                                    They won't find anyone else who could come up with lobster possessing “the consistency of doll head.“

                                                                                                                                    1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                                      Well, one problem with that theory is that no one judge can eliminate a contestant. There are four judges and you have to have a majority (or at least, a plurality, if the vote split 2-1-1), so if Tom was "ticked" about the decision he'd have to be ticked at both of them. In addition, if two people both feel a contestant was the worst, it's hard to argue that their belief is completely baseless.

                                                                                                                                      I never really thought about the fact that there are four judges before, but that must be one factor in some of these long judges' tables we hear about, as I imagine there are ties fairly frequently that have to be resolved through much more discussion.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                                        When he eliminated Dale instead of Lisa in Restaurant Wars season 4, Tom was pretty ticked off.
                                                                                                                                        ~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                        And you know this how? I've never read anything about Tom being mad at AB for eliminating Dale. Disappointed, perhaps, but mad? That goes against the grain of everything that Chef Colicchio saying that viewers don't taste the food, whereas the judges do. If he (Colicchio) hadn't tasted the food that Dale prepared, how can he know whether or not he was worthy of remaining on the show?

                                                                                                                                        And as Ruth said above - no one judge can be the person to decide to eliminate a cheftestant. It's a consensus brought about by a LOT of discussion. We've read many times that JT can go on for hours...last season's finale in Puerto Rico was a perfect example - birds were chirping when a decision had been made (I think Ted Allen said they talked for FIVE HOURS to determine who was going to win).

                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                          Ok, to "ticked off" was a bit strong but I remember reading Tom's blog entry that it seemed to him as a viewer (and how he now sympathized with the viewers who disagree with the judges) that simple math dictated that Lisa should have been sent packing with two bad dishes to Dale's one. I can't find that blog entry, but I do remember he seemed at least a little miffed.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                                            But we (those who post here on CH and other viewers on blogs and other websites) have used the "simple math" method in the past (NOTE - based on what we've been ALLOWED TO SEE by the editors). And regardless of what we say, if we don't taste the food, we cannot know whether it was the right decision or not.

                                                                                                                                            I'm fine with Chef Colicchio being miffed at Dale's exit when he wasn't there to judge the food - but at least he now knows how us viewers feel when we see what the editors choose to show the audience.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                        Anthony Bourdain is no longer connected with Les Halles. That may have something to do with it. It may also have to do with his contract with another channel?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                          He was with Travel Channel in the past and judged on Top Chef. He also did a No Reservations from Les Halles around Nov. 08 so even though he doesn't work there it seems they are on very good terms.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Sui_Mai

                                                                                                                                    I wouldn't say Fabbio "effed" the pasta or that it was bland. It wasn't spicy, which is not the same as being bland. I think the problem was that the spicing wasn't Cajun/Creole enough, not that it was intrinsically bad.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                      Ruth's right. the judges didn't say it lacked flavor, just heat.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                        Padma said it was missing tang or zestiness (or something like that) and would have benefited from some tomato.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                                                          She also said it was delicious. Remember they said all the dishes were good -- they were just nitpicking flaws in order to find some way to rank the dishes from top to bottom. Fabbio's were just the weakest of a strong group.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                            i don't think his stuff was even weak, just the least fitting to the challenge

                                                                                                                            1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                              Looks like they have seriously senior chef sous help (although couldn't see who they were), and Hubert Keller and Rocco DiSpirito as guest judges?

                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                Marcel was spotted entering Commander's the day they filmed there.

                                                                                                                                1. re: edible complex

                                                                                                                                  <Marcel was spotted entering Commander's the day they filmed there.>

                                                                                                                                  heheh doesn't he have to work for a living?

                                                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                  i've rewound & replayed about 15 times to try to figure it out.

                                                                                                                                  i know, i have a problem :)

                                                                                                                                  it looks like the one on the far right is Blais! and i almost want to say Hung is in the middle. the one on the left is obscured by a plant. i guess it could be Marcel since everyone is talking about him having been spotted at the taping...

                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                    INTERESTING! And I *like* it!

                                                                                                                                    Let's see - pairing them up - I'd love to see Marcel & Stefan, Blais and Carla, and Hung and Hosea. :-)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                      On Richard Blais' home blog, there's a cryptic mention of his being away from Atlanta the dates near Mid January when the finale was being shot.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                        he also has a pic of Marcel on his blog from his travels. Marcel appears to be in the courtyard of Commander's. that "no smoking T" sign behind him could be from T (Ti Martin).

                                                                                                                                        1. re: edible complex

                                                                                                                                          Guess I should've read furthur down the column before I posted that! LOL

                                                                                                                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                      Last month or maybe longer on blais's blog he had a note that he "couldn't say where he was going on X and Y dates" but we'd be excited to find out, or something like that. And than there were pictures of Marcel on his blog from the same block of dates.

                                                                                                                                      I remembered because I found out the day he was doing a presentation, about an hour from me, and couldn't go, wanted to see if he was there the next day.

                                                                                                                                      I assumed they filmed something to do with the finale but didn't want to add to the spoiler until it was closer to the end. :)

                                                                                                                                3. Well, Carla showed them! She can cook and isn't distracted by the boy's pissing contest. The past contestant cook-off was certainly a surprise. I was rooting for Jamie or Jeff. Quite a twist for the sequester house chefs.

                                                                                                                                  Jeff seemed so much older. Not in a bad way. More focused and more aware of what he wants. This maturity should serve him well.

                                                                                                                                  I am sad to see Fabio leave. He is rather entertaining, and I suspect it was a bit of a toss up between Stefan and Fabio. When the blogs go up, we can get Tom's viewpoint. But Fabio just hasn't been delivering up to his potential.

                                                                                                                                  Loved both Padma and Gail's dresses. Classic long black works for me.

                                                                                                                                  Yea Carla!!!!

                                                                                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                    Agree on Jeff's seriousness. He definitely seemed to realize he had to focus more and not go off into so many directions. Emeril seemed thoroughly impressed with his dishes.

                                                                                                                                    And I loved both ladies' dresses as well. Padma's got a great long neck for that choker collar.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                      I will say they all looked cleaner...they were starting to look pretty rough.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                        Tom's blog is up...with insight about what kept Jeff out of 1st, and what saved Stefan over Fabio.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                          Just finished reading that..... Interesting. Why doesn't the tv show edit include this type of information?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                            thought I heard someone say "what's burning" while at NOMA.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                              If they had mentioned the sterno issue on air, the viewers would have known it was a foregone conclusion that Jeff was not going to win. By not including that information, it kept us all guessing until the end (at least it kept me guessing!).

                                                                                                                                              1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                Ever since the redesign of the Bravo site, blogs go up much more quickly.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                Interesting blog. Too bad that Jeff couldn't have pulled it out.

                                                                                                                                                And *very* interesting as to what he says about Fabio after having a conversation with him the next morning - looks like lots of good things area ahead for Fabio!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                  i'm even more bummed for Jeff now...he could very well have won if not for the damned sterno, and he would have been a hell of a lot more grateful to be there than Stefan seems to be.

                                                                                                                                                  boo.

                                                                                                                                                  but yes, i was happy to hear things are working out for Fabio!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                    In the words of Blais' recent blog -- Fabio doesn't get the egg, but he's certainly won a chicken.

                                                                                                                                              3. Can I hear a raucous cheer that Toby Young was lost in Treme or some such venue?

                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                  *** raucaus cheer ***

                                                                                                                                                  Didn't miss him for a moment.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                    Adding to the raucous cheer! Was very glad to see Gail back.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Random comments:

                                                                                                                                                    One season of Project Runway (the one with Laura Bennett, et al), had a comeback moment well into the season -- they brought back eliminated contestants who had won a challenge, then gave them the same qualifier -- they had to win to stay in. So as soon as they brought back the 3 to give them a chance to be one of the "final five", I guessed they would have to win to go forward.

                                                                                                                                                    Great contribution to the JT conversation from both Emeril and Gail. I didn't catch a single bam or kick it up a notch ;-)

                                                                                                                                                    Did I see Hubert Keller and Rocco for next week? What about the John Besh rumors? Will he show up?

                                                                                                                                                    I hope Jeff can cut short his anticipated decade-long pout with such glowing praise from Emeril and the rest of JT!

                                                                                                                                                    1. Stefan or Carla wins it. Hosea is such a douchebag I can't stand the guy.

                                                                                                                                                      12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Evilbanana11

                                                                                                                                                        you know - and i am prepped for the slams here - it's just an IDEA :) but i'm wondering if hosea will have a dale season 3 (i think) moment. where he was underperforming and distracted for personal reasons and then got focused and came back and was great in the finals. i mean hosea has annoyed me too but we've always known he had potential. i wouldn't put it past any of them at this point.
                                                                                                                                                        i'm always afraid carla's going to choke but i was SO happy she didn't here.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                          whether or not Hosea cooks his ass off next week, his personality has killed his appeal for me. between all the whining about Stefan, and the nonsense with Leah (did anyone else catch that he actually commented on her presence being a distraction today?!!), i'm over him.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                            oh - i would agree it wouldn't make me LIKE him! :) but i think he might have it in him.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                              We don't know any of their "personalities," only what the editors have chosen to show us.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                              Well, remember this was taped after he'd gone home, confessed all to his girlfriend, and they'd broken up. So seeing Leah again could definitely evoke some strong emotions or bad/distirbing memories.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                It's becoming harder and harder to watch Hosea because all he does (or all the editors show him doing) is bitch about Stefan. Stefan knows Hosea is threatened by him and purposely gets under his skin. I'm embarrassed for Hosea because his obssession with Stefan makes him look weak and insecure. (I was glad that the judges made it clear at JT that Hosea's gumbo was better than Stefan's though. HA.)

                                                                                                                                                                I hope Carla wins, but Gail's interview about the finale on the Bravo blogs gives me the feeling she doesn't. Then again, who knows?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pisang goreng

                                                                                                                                                                  I hope Carla wins, but Gail's interview about the finale on the Bravo blogs gives me the feeling she doesn't. Then again, who knows?
                                                                                                                                                                  ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                  I just watched one of the bonus clips of Emeril Lagasse at Bravo's site, and he says at the end of "Emeril's Top Chef Experience": "If I could give a little tease, I think the folks at home are going to be very, very surprised with the outcome. Because it's *not* (emphasis Emeril's) who you think. It's not who you think. That's all I can say."

                                                                                                                                                                  So - is he leading us to believe that Stefan does NOT win and it's either Carla or Hosea? Or is he suggesting that it's not Carla?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                    Hard to say...but just about every commetary I've seen (including most opinions expressed here) has felt Stefan is going into the finale the one to beat, despite last week's overcooked salmon (and Stefan certainly seemed to concur!). So, though Emeril came in only at the finale, he may be aware of that perception and is addressing that - or, on the other hand, as you suggest, he could be suggesting the opposite, given we just saw Stefan in the bottom two of the final five.

                                                                                                                                                                    (Typing "the final five" leads to flight of fancy of cheftestants as cylons...but that's off topic.)

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                      Saying it's not who we think DEFINITELY means it's not Stefan. Whether that means it's not Carla too is up for debate. But if it were Stefan, nobody would have said that, as have both Emeril and Gail.

                                                                                                                                                                      I'm rootin' for the hoot!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                                                                                                        dmd: I think you have coined the refrain of the week ROOT for the HOOT!

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Evilbanana11

                                                                                                                                                                agree, why is hosea still on? He is a show killer

                                                                                                                                                              3. i thought , in an mostly unexciting season, this was an excellent episode. all the dishes were tight and well made. no one screwed the pooch.

                                                                                                                                                                why fabio, over stefan? because the food is more important than the attitude. mostly because, i think, fabio's food wasn't as mardi-gras to the judges.

                                                                                                                                                                1. Does anyone have the exact wording of how Emeril is the typical Creole chef?

                                                                                                                                                                  I can think, Tom, of at least ten chefs who are both photogenic and are more authentic NOLA than Emeril.
                                                                                                                                                                  I like Emeril and some of his cookbooks, but a Portuguese from New England is neither Cajun nor Creole.

                                                                                                                                                                  23 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                                    what? He was head chef at Commanders. You are way off base

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Chowfather

                                                                                                                                                                      i miss watching emeril every day. i think they (the contestants) should have shown him more respect

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sugarsnapp

                                                                                                                                                                        *How* in heaven's name did they show him disrespect? I thought they were completely respectful!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                          I saw no disrespect. The chefs thanked him for dinner, almost all of them said how "honored" they were to cook for him in interviews, and compared notes about the seasonings used in their dinners.

                                                                                                                                                                          This Emeril is the one I remember from the old Julia Child's TV show. Gracious, soft spoken and a bit shy.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                            Exactly what I saw. I was very glad to see Emeril was his "old self". I thought the cheftestants were pleased to have been cooking for him. No one made any disparaging remarks.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                              Glad to see Emeril lose that Food Network schtick too.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                In real life, Emeril is more than "a bit" shy! The Emeril you saw on Top Chef is the real deal. The "Bam" guy was created for FNTV.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                  Everything I have heard indicates the same. However, he's down in Miami for the Food & Wine and MCed a cookoff between two radio personalities this morning. he was surprisingly engaging, with a sarcastic sense of humor. This was a very loose Emeril, digging on the contestants without being mean. Gail was there, too. I think they were both having a blast. I wonder if their appearance together had anything to do with a friendship fostered at the TC final, or if that's a longstanding relationship.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: sugarsnapp

                                                                                                                                                                              I saw no disrespect toward Emeril at all. I thought the contestants were extremely respectful of Emeril. In fact, I thought it was ironic that Jamie seemed more in awe of Emeril than she was of Eric Ripert and his food. It seemed at every exchange the chefs had with Emeril they accorded him great respect. Jeff even called him "Sir" at one point. And the other judges seemed to look to his opinion on the flavor profiles of the food.

                                                                                                                                                                              I enjoyed seeing Emeril as a judge. He in turn was very respectful and gracious toward the contestants, and made thoughtful comments (unlike Toby Young in the past -- btw, is he gone for good??). And even though Jeff was eliminated he said he was grateful for Emeril's compliments.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pisang goreng

                                                                                                                                                                                I have never been a fan of Emeril's, but enjoyed him in this episode, because he was low key and seemed to be taking it so seriously.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                                                                                                  Like I said previously, I think this is the Emeril that is real to his employees and his colleagues. He finally threw out the Food Network caricature now that they aren't handing him the big bucks to be the bigger than life chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                    There was a short video last year on Wine Spectator where they pitted Emeril, Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali and Charlie Trotter to create a dish and pair it with a wine of their choice.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Emeril won. I disliked him for some time due to oversaturation and underwhelming restaurants in Miami and Orlando, but he seems a good guy and a heck of a chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                                                                                                    I was never an Emeril fan either, but I did get to see his show live at Chelsea Market a few years ago. I was incredibly impressed with the guy. During commercial breaks he engaged the audience and had a low key and very humble demeanor.
                                                                                                                                                                                    At one point he invited all the childen up to grab a treat out of the fridge, and he took the time to speak with every single child, and it was genuine. (The friend I was with had also been to a Martha Stewart taping - and said she was the exact opposite - hiding out of the way during commercial breaks, and never made any attempt and being friendly to the audience)

                                                                                                                                                                                    I did not notice any disrespect toward him, but did anyone else think that the chefs were NOT impressed with the food at his restaurant??

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                      other than carla saying one thing was delicious there was NO glowing, raving, etc. and i actually did notice it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: pisang goreng

                                                                                                                                                                                    Years ago, long before he'd made it to TV, but after the initial success of Emeril's, he was one of several NOLA chefs who cooked at a fundraiser that the company I worked at put on. He was so incredibly nice, humble, gracious -- absolutely everything and more than you could ask from someone who was already rather famous. Agreed -- that larger-than-life persona is a character. Gotta be.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Unfortunately for me (fool!), I was vegetarian at the time and didn't taste a bite of the stuff he was making that evening. It was a hit with the party-goers, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                                                                                                                      had the pleasure of sitting at a table for 8 in the kitchen w/Emeril cooking at a fundraiser 10 yrs ago. I can still taste it:

                                                                                                                                                                                      Truffle Stuffed New Potato w/Truffle Emulsion
                                                                                                                                                                                      Prosciutto Wrapped Gulf Shrimp w/Roasted Garlic Aioli
                                                                                                                                                                                      BBQ Chicken & Andouiile Sausage Strudel w/Onion Marmalade & Green Onion Coulis

                                                                                                                                                                                      Truffle Potato Soup W/Crabmeat Timbale, Braised Leeks & Fresh Chervil

                                                                                                                                                                                      Nocello Glazed Duck w/Foie Gras Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding, Spiced Fall Squashes, Watercress & Cider Reduction Sauce

                                                                                                                                                                                      now that's Top Chef!

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                                                think it has more to do with his being more recognizable (famous) than other local chefs.
                                                                                                                                                                                the whole Martha deal put him into another stratosphere...wham BAM thank you ma'am!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                                                  I've never been to NOLA, so I am not familiar with who the big names are down there, but I took the comments to mean that Emeril knows Louisiana cooking, not that he was ethnically Cajun or Creole.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                                                    The man may have had a long stint of being obnoxious and his restaurants may not be the cream of the crop anymore, but to pretend that he isn't NOLA or doesn't know Creole is ridiculous. As someone else said, he was the head chef at Commanders! How in the world could he have been that and not know Creole? Or are you implying that he isn't Creole himself? That's true, but also totally irrelevant. Besides all that, he is most well-known for his NOLA days. He came here, fell in love with the city and became famous while here. It's easy to associate him with the city. And his being from Mass. originally is also irrelevant as NOLA is probably more made up of transplants than locals at this point.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                                      << And his being from Mass. originally is also irrelevant as NOLA is probably more made up of transplants than locals at this point.>>

                                                                                                                                                                                      Except for Emeril's recipes using salt cod which are fabulous.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                        Very true. I was more pointing out that not being born in New Orleans does not really have anything to do with his knowledge of the city or its cuisine.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                                                      That's kind of a wow.

                                                                                                                                                                                      He's also big enough to turn his back on the city when it got nailed by Katrine.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Emeril was run over by FoodNetwork and his empire of products and restaurants, a mixed blessing. The truth is he has a good heart and it belongs in New Orleans and the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Very nice to see Jeff back... bummed he didn't make it.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Carla won! Wow! She's doing really well. The love is showin in her dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Can she win it all with Hosea and Stefan butting heads next week?

                                                                                                                                                                                      Also, where's Lee Anne's blog? Ever since the redesign, her blog has dropped off.

                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bostonbelle

                                                                                                                                                                                          She hasn't had it up there for awhile. I miss it. I liked having the "background" filled in by Lee Anne.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                            Lee Anne's blog is actually the best of all of them in some ways. I suspect she has been busy, but I do wish she would start writing again.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                              I concur. Reading Lee Anne's Blog is always the highlight of the blogs. Knowing the behind-the-scenes events in the kitchen are always interesting and give us a truer understanding of how the food is created.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Can Carla win it all? I am over Stefan, pretty much the same way I was over Hung, and he still won it all. But Carla has really stepped up to the plate, hasn't she? I think the judges want Stefan to win, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                        19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                                                                                          I loved the judges' comment that Carla's food was sophisticated and thoughtful. She does seem very calm and focused in the kitchen. I would love to see her win this thing. I thought that the preview of the final with Hosea and Stefan going at each other makes Carla's calm seem even more crucial to success in the final. If she can just stay above the fray...

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                            Anyone else notice the tease on Bravo, showing Carla critiquing her oyster stew? In the actual JT segment, she started in and I think it was Tom or Emeril jumped in and corrected her, saying it was perfect. A glorious moment in my book.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                              I LOVED that moment! I officially adore Carla.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                Emeril didn't even start talking, just made an involuntary contradictory noise -- a great moment indeed ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                I hadn't noticed that Carla hadn't been drinking with everyone else, but her abstinence probably helps her be an adult in the midst of the chaos. (Well, plus her relative age and general centered personality, of course.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                  My husband was convinced that her spritzer was going to be her ticket home, but I know how much I appreciate a well thought out alcoholic alternative when I am out. I was hoping it would put her over the top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TampaAurora

                                                                                                                                                                                                    As a non-drinker, I was a little annoyed that they added a mandatory cocktail to the competition--I don't think that you have to be a mixologist to be a top chef. I didn't know that Carla didn't drink, and it was so cool that she just seemed to take the challenge of making a cocktail in stride, and turn it to her advantage instead of getting freaked out about it. And I totally agree with her--it's so disappointing to go to a nice food event, and all that there is to drink is soft drinks, which don't go well with food, or water.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Nettie

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Nettie, I'm seriously with you. I thought her decision on the cocktail was an extremely good one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm a drinker, and like nothing better than a good belt at an event like that -- except for those times when I'm the designated driver, and find myself relegated to soda, seltzer or some nasty non-alcoholic beer. I'd love something more interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      And since the judges keep telling the cheftestants to put themselves in their food, Carla did exactly that. How in the world could anyone ding her for that?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                                                                                                                                        it made me think of an earlier episode, where she'd wanted to make a vegetarian dish and then second-guessed herself. Here, she had more confidence, and the judges wound up appreciating it more than they would have, had she tried to do what she thought that they wanted her to do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't think Carla is completely a teetotaler - I have noticed her toasting a few times with champagne !

                                                                                                                                                                                                    " (Well, plus her relative age and general centered personality, of course.)"
                                                                                                                                                                                                    I absolutely agree!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Toasting and drinking aren't the same thing though :)

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                                                                                                I think it's her game to lose. Maybe that's just because I think she's awesome and I want to be her best friend. But seriously, she's cooked some amazing looking food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I thought she was toast when she was having problems with the oysters. I was also worried when the judges visited her next to last. I do think that her calm demeanor can come in handy when faced with a stressful situation. A lot of people would have caved under having to serve food to 100 people in formal wear with big appetites (after an oyster problem). Being congenial during a frenzy is a tremendous skill to have.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I also liked her non-alcoholic cocktail. I'm not a non-drinker by any means, but there are times when I don't want or can't have alcohol, but am not thrilled by the idea of water or soda either. I like that she provided an option.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rweater

                                                                                                                                                                                                  In the end, her difficulty with the oysters may have made it a better dish. Gail (I think) commented on how plump and perfect the oysters were and that was probably because they cooked at the very last minute in the stew. If she had steamed them to get them open, they might have ended up over-cooked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I never drop my oysters into any stew or dish I'm making until the last minute so they don't have shrinkage. Carla showed them the love.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Eat Oysters, Love Longer!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Actually, one of the blogs said she was poaching them to order and adding them on top of the stew (presumably there were some other oyster flavors in the stew as well -- have they posted the recipes?). I agree that knowing that, steaming them wouldn't have worked as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I just found the recipe for the oyster stew: http://recipes.mt.bravotv.com/top_che...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        It calls for poaching the oysters in a fish fumet, then straining the fumet and adding it to the stew, which would be where the stew gets the oyster flavor. But in the show she very clearly was poaching the oysters on-site to order, and wouldn't have been able to add the poaching liquid to the stew then finish cooking it. Plus it sounded like she only had 100 oysters (one for each guest) some of which were not shucked when they went to the event space, so she didn't have other oysters that she used to add to the base...very mysterious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Nettie

                                                                                                                                                                                                          As is obvious in this case, the recipes they publish on line are not exactly what was prepared on the show. I noticed in the side bar it says you can use clam juice instead of fish fumet -- maybe she used some oyster juice. It's also not clear that she only has 100 oysters -- she said she had to shuck 100 oysters, but that doesn't mean she didn't have other oysters that she prepared differently to make stock from. Since Jeff also used oysters, clearly there were many oysters in the kitchen!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The fact that she said she only shucked oysters for the first time a week and a half prior makes me think this was a dish she had developed in advance for use in the finale. They knew they were going to New Orleans, and from past shows they knew there was a strong probability they would be asked to cook "New Orleans" dishes for at least one challenge. Besides, this dish was too complex to have been perfected "on the fly." I think what threw her was that she was having to shuck oysters for 100 instead of just enough for judges' table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Good points, all. There was a scene where Jeff took out a big box of oysters and mentioned something about "if anyone else wants oysters, there's no way I'm using all of these" and Carla responded that she definitely needed them. Obviously there were plenty of oysters to go around.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I was quite worried about her oyster shucking and whether she'd be able to get them done--I was wishing that she could have brought back Brian Malarkey from season 3 to help her out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                              <I noticed in the side bar it says you can use clam juice instead of fish fumet> and if you elect this method, know that your "Oyster" Stew will taste decidedly of clams!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Interesting - survey at Bravo's TC website asks who viewers will think will win. So far, the results are:

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Who do you think will win Top Chef?
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Carla - 57%
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hosea - 8%
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Stefan - 35%

                                                                                                                                                                                                    20 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I am officially a Carla fan because:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1) I can see eating in her restaurant & having her pull a chair up at my table & having her say: "so, what did y'all think?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2) I can see having her over for dinner & not feeling intimidated by her at all. As a matter of fact, she'd probably help with some of the cooking & probably offer to help with the dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3) She is SO not full of herself; she is gracefully confident, with just enough of a touch of insecurity to make her attentive to detail in ways that the others are not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      4) She came back with a very cool new 'do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      5) She is by far one of the most "normal" people I have ever seen on TC, and I would be honored to have her as a friend. Even if she weren't cooking, she is still be one very cool lady.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      6) She never seems to feel compelled to "blow her own horn" or puff herself up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      7) She is FUNNY!!!! Not over-the-top funny, or funny at someone else's expense, she is just funny.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      8) She seems to be more mature than most of the others. I'm not talking about her youthful quirkiness, I'm talking about her maturity in the face of pressure, and her ability to approach her work in a mature way. Is that because of her prior life experiences? I don't know, but it's noticable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      9) She seems to focus more on the people who will be eating her food than the others do. She wants them to have a good experience and "feel the love" in her food -- the others seem more focused on making themselves look good, and if the person eating the food doesn't "get it", then it's that person's fault, not theirs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      10) I like the fact that she THINKS about her audience. It was a stroke of genius to do a non-alcoholic drink. All those people in costumes, in a crowd, sampling all kinds of food? You'd better believe I'd want something I could just chug down & quench my thirst with instead of another drink to get me wasted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      And lastly, she is the only cheftestant whose restaurant I would go out of my way to visit. I'd make a special trip. I might watch Fabio on TV, but I'd go SEE Carla and pay to eat her food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Very well put, Patti! I didn't like Carla at the beginning. Could be because of editing. She just seemed out there in la-la land...further than anyone I had seen before. :-) But she has just settled into a good space, and I do like her much more now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                          So what did the ladies think of Fabio's jacket at the dinner at Emeril's? I thought maybe he was auditioning for Team Rainbow.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was happy for Carla but wish Jeff had won so all of Team Euro would have been sent packing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Go Hootie!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sometimes I think these shows try to perpetuate the misconception that you have to be some sort of a-hole to be a "real" chef. I ain't buyin' it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Well, Stephanie in TC4 certainly proved that wrong, as did Harold in TC1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm in firm belief they keep some of the less than pleasant chefs (although talented) around a wee bit longer than needed just to keep the tension up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Totally agree on the editing of Carla. She's more personality and those great facial expressions, less talk of her "spirit guides". I thought she was just going to be a wacko at the beginning, but now I am rooting for her because she really is bringing it now!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              And my wife and I are totally doing the "hootie hoo" thing when we're looking for each other..

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: harrison

                                                                                                                                                                                                                LOL! at the hootie-hoo call! People across the country will be doing hootie-hoos now!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Did you see the people at her table doing the Hootie call last night? Priceless.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I love Carla's cool in the kitchen, and how she tells it like it is. I love that she's not over-confident at any moment, but confident enough to express in her interviews that she's relied a lot on her french training to get her thru this (appreciating her roots). I like how excited she gets with her successes - she's just a great person, and I agree, I'll definitely eat at her restaurant, and be her best friend if she'll have me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                You put this very well, PattiCakes, but we're going to have to fight over her as our BFF! I noted that several episodes ago, and my admiration for her ability and temperament has grown week by week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                For all of the posters who claimed that Stefan wasn't as arrogant as he seemed, I wonder what they made of Tom's comments about Stefan's attitude. I think that his sense of entitlement and arrogance were in full bloom in last night's episode, and given Tom's comment, no one can claim that what they were seeing was strictly a function of editing!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A friend of a friend knows Carla and says she is self-depricating and extremely polite. (Well, she's from the South!) I became a fan a couple of episodes ago, and really liked the way she was so impressed by Jacques Pepin. I'm definitely TEAM CARLA!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "For all of the posters who claimed that Stefan wasn't as arrogant as he seemed, I wonder what they made of Tom's comments about Stefan's attitude. I think that his sense of entitlement and arrogance were in full bloom in last night's episode"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have been defending Stefan allot, but I have NEVER said said wasn't arrogant. He is definitely arrogant, but he is not a bad guy. There is a huge difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I find it funny that most people are annoyed by Hosea's obsession with Stefan - but yet are all believing his hype.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When you re-watch the episodes, look for Stefans warm side - and you will see it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have read many posts about him being sexist - I have NEVER seen him say anything derogatory about women so where is that coming from???
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In fact I loved the bit when the eliminated chefts were doing the QF and Stefan was talking about what a good chef Leah is...it was lovely...and don't forget - he is the one who helped Carla with her oysters.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Arrogant - yes (and in fact WAY TOO arrogant in the last 2 challenges) but he is not a bad guy!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I was watching for how the greetings outside of the airport went and Stefan and Hosea definitely had a big hug. Not a 'man' hug, but a genuine, happy to see you hug.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't doubt that some of Hosea's supposed obsession comes from the producers. I have read interviews with reality show contestants and in the one on one interviews, the producers ask leading questions and ask and ask until they get the desired reaction and their sound bite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I liked when they greeted each other and Stefan asked Hosea, "Have you learned out to cook yet?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Right. Viewers should always remember that the sound bites aren't being heard in context -- in addition to the fact that you never hear the question that prompted the remark, sound bites can be moved so that they appear to be in response to something completely unrelated to the situation they were made about, they can be repeated to create the impression that someone is obsessed/harping on something, and they can even be manipulated so that they aren't actually what the person said (not in a direct interview, but in a voice-over comment).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          NellyNel: I couldn't agree with you more. Stefan is a decent, often warm and supportive, colleague and I don't find his arrogance offensive. And, aside from the occasional control issue with Jamie and Hosea's pseudo-erotic obssession, everyone appears to like him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Hurner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks Hurner!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I feel like a broken record on the TC boards - Constantly having to defend the poor guy..
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Last week I re-watched some episodes and paid very close attention, and all I saw was Stefans warmth! (and a little bit of cockiness)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've got your back, NellyNel. I like him, Sure he's cocky and he seems to enjoy taking the piss out of people, including himself, it would seem. I don't think that's deeply unpleasant, nor does it suggest 'entitlement'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If he were nasty, or a bully, I wouldn't defend him. But that's not what I'm seeing in his playful cockiness. As some others have noted, there seems to be a warmth and affection on display. He may not be easy, but no one there hates him-- and we've seen contestants hate each other on this show in the past.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I can jump in there and defend Stefan too. The general impression from this thread is... Fabio we like, Stefan is overconfident.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I see it exactly the other way around. I interpret "overconfident" as being more confident than the skills you really have. Stefan is confident but, at least from what we can see, he can really cook. Fabio is overconfident, thinking, it would appear, that he can cook much better than he actually can. Maybe it was just the pressures of the competition. Of course his personality, humor, and drive to succeed will take him very far. But aside from some cool olives in the beginning and a perfect roast chicken at the end, his cooking never raised to the level of his repeated claims about it. Maybe he will surprise us in the future. I actually don't think it's a good thing that he might be getting his own show. Our media is saturated with great "tv personalities" who aren't really bringing the cooking chops. Maybe he will be different, we'll see.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. i think this season's cast is a really enjoyable to watch (minus the leah and hosea thing) but seriously how cute is it that stefan visited fabio when they were on break- and when fabio left his departing words to stefan. they treat eachother with respect and help eachother out in the kitchen. interested to see what happens in the kitchen between stefan and hosea next week. definitely bummed fabio was sent home!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: liveloveat34

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        livelong - Yes, I agree - I love this years cast ...the only one who gets on my nerves a bit is Hosea...but he not tooo bad...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I too, loved the comradery of Stefan and Fabio - it is very sweet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Okay, here's Fabio's quote of the week, this time from his exit interview (he's speaking of Stefan): "Sometimes when you're overconfident, you get your ass kicked with your own shoes." Great quote, and very apropos!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A book could be written with all of Fabio's quotes!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fabio has been extremely entertaining to watch. His gift for gab, his hand gestures, his smile have all been a pleasure to see. I loved the pink scarf yesterday, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And of course, he can cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: brendastarlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That reminds me - when do you think they filmed the finale? Just last month? They all looked SO cold while outside during the QF!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It was November. The party is called the Revelation and is held in early November as part of the fall social season. (I have cousins in Nola.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: brendastarlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  there are two krewes of Orpheus: NOLA and Mandeville
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  the NOLA krewe has the 139' Leviathan, as seen at MGWorld in last night's episode.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Jan 15th. and yes, NOLA was having a bit of a cold spell early this year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It wasn't super cold at that time, but definitely a bit colder than their outfits suggested. And probably colder than you would think New Orleans would be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Plantation where the Quickfire was filmed is next to the Mississippi River with only a levee and bature in between. In January, the water coming down the river is COLD, it's coming from the snow bound midwestern and central USA.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Any slight breeze puts a windchill on the air that can be really miserable.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There's thermometer cold and then there's what it feels like cold.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My husband was there last week and he said that it was freezing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I’ve been in NOLA in January when it was 30 degrees with a 20 mile an hour wind off the Mississippi. As a New Englander, I can tell you it is both damp and cold!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I felt sorry for the four finalists who appeared to have to sit outside in the cold watching Jame, Leah, and Jeff cook--the Padma appeared to walk out what was presumably a somewhat warmer house with Emeril.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Nettie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I am sure some of that stew room libation was made available to them, perhaps in lesser quantities. Wouldn't want the finalists to be cold and bored.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hey, this is Top Chef, not Top Kitty!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Nettie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Right. During the quickfire there was a shot of Emeril standing on the balcony watching them, but presumably Padma was nice and toasty inside. Of course, the cheftestants were bundled up in coasts, hats and scarves, and Padma wasn't wearing a wrap at all, IIRC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That's true. I wasn't thinking about where the Houmas House is located. That would add some more chill for sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: brendastarlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          for some reason Fabio reminds me of cesar milan the dog whisperer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I thought the twist in the QF challenge would be that the winner would be able to pick the cheftestant he/she would work with, until I realized the numbers didn't add up. I think that would have been interesting, rather than the cheftestants picking their helpers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm glad Jeff was back, would have loved to see him win yesterday and thought he was very gracious and seemed appreciative rather than bitter. I am happy Carla won but, if Jeff winning meant Stefan would have been sent home, I'd rather Jeff had won. I like Fabio but the Team Euro thing was getting old, just like the Team Rainbow thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I never get to watch the show on Wed. nights, so I'm always late on the board, but here are my thoughts :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was a bit annoyed that they bought out the eliminated chefs for the QF. I was really looking forward to seeing the top four go at it. I think the top 4 are the chefs that should have been highlighted. IMO

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was REALLY glad though that Jeff did win the QF ...I'm so done with Leah and Jamie...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        At that point though I was still rooting for Stefan to win the EC, but as the episode went on, I really was surprised at his frivolous attitude...but then again it could have been edited to make it seem like he was a bit more lax then he really was.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But what I was really surprised at - was that he only made TWO things - and neither of them were spot on.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I am sure Carla deserved the win, but not so sure if Fabio deserved to go home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have read through all these posts and no one has mentioned the preveiw clip we saw of Hosea seemingly doing something to screw Stefan - and then showing Hosea saying gleefuly :"Screw Youn Stefan!" and giving the double middle fingers!! WHOA!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I believe in karma - and if he has done something not entirely nice - I think it will only bite him in the ass!! And I hope it does!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        26 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm in the same boat--I can't watch it until Thursday at the earliest, so until then I have to hold myself back from looking at this board or at the Bravo site. Then this thread usually has 200+ postings before I get to it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Nettie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yup - me too!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            and I am a receptionist and am allowed to surf the net to keep me occupied during the day...so it kills me not to peek on Thursdays!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'd go crazy if I couldn't read this thread immediately...which is why I force myself to stay up until 11:15 to watch the entire show! LOL And then, of course, stay up until 11:45 or so that night posting on each show's thread!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Linda - You can't even wait till the show is over!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You are typing while watching!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In Progress LOL!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Next week I'm going to have to bite the bullet and stay up!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                At least the board will keep me going on Thursday!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I know, Nelly! I wait for Phaedrus or AMFM or goodhealthgourmet to start the thread (although I did start one earlier this season) and LOVE to run over to the computer and see what someone else has posted. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i just can't help it. my husband won't watch with me so i have to "talk" to someone while i watch! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      AMFM - my hubby usually won't watch it either -
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Except last week - and he got really into it!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      First thing this morning he asked who got the boot ...he was gutted to find out it was Fabio! His favorite!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And thanks Mselectra - there are a few of us here who do see Stefans warm side!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm right there with you - the cats won't talk to me when I watch it either. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You have no idea how hard it is to get through Thursdays, pumped about the night before, checking the board for responses and also falling asleep at work! Wednesday night is a night I plan around. I think I need a 12 step program. Linda, ghg, AMFM, wanna join me? After the finale, of course. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          yeah, and i give up swimming in the ocean - every winter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A 12-step program? Is that like a chef's tasting menu? I'm SO there!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              agreed. but the sad thing is i usually replace with whatever other bravo show replaces it. which is fine when it's project runway (if it's on at a different time this time since it's changing networks - aaaahh!) because it's fab too. but there's nothing like the embarrassment of realizing you're sucked into the supermodel show. :) at least i don't want to eat through that one. the biggest problem with top chef is that at 10:40 i'm suddenly ravenous! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Right there behind you. I blame my weight gain on the midnight noshing after TC. That's my story and I'm sticking with it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i've heard a lot of people say they get uncontrollable snack urges while watching the Biggest Loser too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i have the solution - tune into an episode of Hell's Kitchen for a few minutes...it's an extremely effective appetite suppressant ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  " at least i don't want to eat through that one."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  funny - i have the opposite response

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'll sub with Project Runway, but I usually have the willpower to go beyond that (or are just too damn tired to watch anything that late!). I'm rabid about a few shows, and Wednesday night have two of them - Lost and Top Chef. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But Project Runway's new season is held up by a P___ing contest between NBC and the production company.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/21/art...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That is *still* going on? Ugh. Could potentially lose their audience if it's not shown soon. I guess we'll see.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        So now maybe I'll just get some more sleep after TC's reunion show airs. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            One of the things I really miss about switching from a dish to cable is not being able to watch Top Chef at 7:00 (or the repeat at 8:00). Then my friend from Pennsylvania could call and chat about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Bravo HD Channel runs on Eastern time. I live in CA and watch at the new one at 7:00 on Wednesday nights.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for the tip! I'll see if I can find that on my system.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Nettie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Nelly and Nettie -- me too, can't stay up that late on Wednesday -- I just lurk on the thread then, it's so long by the time I get to it. But Nelly, I agree with you about Stefan, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mselectra

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            At least next Thursday while I'm sitting at work dying to know what happened on top chef, I'll know that I'm not alone!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Nettie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              haha! I'm with you. It irks me full episodes aren't on hulu or somewhere (or I haven't found them if they are), because I could actually watch Thursday late morning. I don't think they're even on i-tunes any more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mselectra

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mselectra, it is available on iTunes. I got this week's episode there for $1.99.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: dmjordan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks! I thought for a while i-tunes and nbc were feuding. I kind of hate to pay extra (beyond my cable bill), but good to know it's an option if I just can't wait. I don't have tivo....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. All I gotta say is that Carla (Karla?) cooked the best-looking food since Season 1. I had to mop up the drool. Jeff's food was almost as good-looking, but the judges were absolutely right this time. Except I would have booted Stefan, who just mailed it in. Fabio may have screwed up, but he came up with pretty good food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        23 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pete Oldtown

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i think the look on tom's face as he's raving about it agrees with you. he seems genuinely blown away (and surprised).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Right. The way he said "if you like the begneit, you'll love the oyster stew" was one of the most enthusiastic comments I've ever heard him make.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              agreed. when she started to critique herself at judges table and he said "there was NOTHING wrong with that dish". i'm not sure i've ever heard him say that. it's their job to pick things apart.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              it's funny a foodie on another board has totally been slamming her as "equivalent to a NJ hausfrau" who can only make simple southern food and it kills me. it's not that she had no bad days - she did. and i bet she HAS been helped by the number of catering challenges. but her food has seriously impressed wylie dufresne(only a little simple), scot conant(not simple), dan barber (pastry), emeril, eric ripert(not simple), and jaques pepin. what more of a recommendation do you need really? :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There is NO WAY that Carla can be thought of as a "NJ hausfrau" - or even one from FL, Kansas, or Montana. The fact that she nailed the dish (down to knowing details about the sauce) she had to make at Le Bernardin proves that very easily.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's sort of the way Bravo has chosen to portray her, though: the flaky caterer. I had no idea that she had the kind of training and experience she has until I read her bio, and if someone is claiming that, they haven't read her bio, either. It's pretty clear that they've deliberately set her up as an underdog by downplaying her qualifications as much as possible, especially early on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    it's an impressive bio once you read it! and such classic training. don't worry i set him straight. well - at least i responded harshly enough that he didn't respond back! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've decided that the people insisting that Carla's simply gotten lucky and can only do simple, and doesn't put much thought into her dishes either aren't paying attention or are blinded by dislike of her personality. Of her highest showing, two (the squab and the first dessert) were simple but perfectly executed, something that can earn a win (cf. Ariane). The rest, from the oatmeal QF to this week's EC, were not. Also, only a minority of what she's cooked can be classed as southern (she's spoken with some frequency about her southern origins and fondness for the food, though).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If Carla has benefited from the number of catering challenges, then probably so has Stefan (also a caterer).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There are always a lot of catering challenges -- this series was unusual in that it didn't have any catering challenges where they were also working with extreme food restrictions (low cal, cheap, "healthy", "what you find in the neighborhood kitchens" etc.).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm aware of that. AMFM said above, "and i bet she HAS been helped by the number of catering challenges." My point was that there is another caterer who has made it to the finals, and if her experience with what works in catering settings helped her get there, then perhaps his did, too (I'm not contending that this was a deciding factor in either case). That obviously wasn't clear.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        On the flip side, though over the seasons many restaurant-based contestants have derided the caterers, they've been bitten in the ass by not understanding what works in catering challenges (e.g., which preparations hold up to storage and transportation, cooking ahead, etc.).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          are all these chefs classicaly trained?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I want carla to win but stefan cooks some good food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: wustof

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Stefan & Carla are both classically trained, Hosea isn't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It depends on how you define "classically trained." Carla went to cooking school, where she was trained in classical French techniques; Stefan was trained by the classical apprenticeship methods of working in restaurants since his teens, presumably being given on the job training in traditional European cooking techniques.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                thanks, Ruth - i should have clarified that. different situations since they were trained on different continents :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                if anyone's interested, you can see the details of Stefan's training in his bio on his company's website. just click "about us" on the left, and then "the chef" at the top of the page...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.stefanscatering.com/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Actually, Stefan's resume and credentials are pretty damn impressive -- no wonder he's so confident!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i know! i thought the same thing when reading it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    for a second i wondered why the heck someone with that caliber of training & experience would even bother with TC...then i remembered the prize money :) plus, the exposure he's getting is invaluable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Stefan has rubbed me wrong from the very first smirk. I certainly don't hate him and I'm sure he does his repertoire nicely. I just don't think he's the kind of person I want to win this show. But then again, I've really only been wholly on board with Harold and, somewhat begrudgingly, Stephanie. I don't likes me the arrogance in my reality show contestants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Stefan's worst sin by far, though, is that OBNOXIOUS music on his Web site. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    His resume is quite admirable -- the result of the best Europe has to offer in training people for the real world. Their respect of trades like cooking, ironwork, and the other metiers that makes this world go 'round is one of the things I love most about their attitude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    However, he also represents a smug superiority that I simply can't get over. And I recently discovered that a friend of mine knows one of the key people involved in casting the show -- and he says Stefan's edits are not deceptive at all. He can be nice and supportive, but according to this dude, he's also a pompous terd.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    <It depends on how you define "classically trained." Carla went to cooking school, where she was trained in classical French techniques; Stefan was trained by the classical apprenticeship methods of working in restaurants since his teens, presumably being given on the job training in traditional European cooking techniques.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Both methods qualify as "classically trained." fwiw.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    and it shows - he couldn't properly filet a fish (and he works in seafood). I bet Ramsey would've had fun teasing him on that one!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          oh and i must confess that i just reread the post i was talking about and he compared her to "THE NJ hausfrau" not "a" - i'm guessing saying she was on level with ariane not with jamie, jeff, stefan, etc. still frankly a bit insulting to them both but maybe less insulting to NJ and to hausfraus in general so i thought when i caught it i'd explain.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i still disagree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Even if he was comparing her to Ariane, Ariane is a CIA grad who runs her own reportedly successful restaurant with her husband, who is a pastry chef. I don't see how that makes her less qualified than Jamie! What that attitude is, actually, is a reflection on the fact that our culture doesn't take mature women seriously, especially if they're married. Jamie is a single twenty-something who lives in a big city, and thus is seen as "serious" about her career, while a woman who is married and lives outside a city is automatically dismissed as a dilettante who is running a business (probably financed by her husband) as a "hobby." And of course whether a man is married or not doesn't reflect at all on how serious he is about his career!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ruth, very astute. Once women hit that magic 40-ish number, they disappear to much of the world. This is true for all women, regardless of accomplishment. You can cling to "noticeability" for a little longer if you remain trim and attractive, but eventually you become a "non-person." I remember my Mom telling me this, and of course, I thought she was imagining it. Twenty years later, I am living it. Thank goodness I don't get my self-value from strangers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                <This is true for all women, regardless of accomplishment.> except for Julia Child, of course, who didn't appear on tv the first time until she was past 50.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ariane and Michael Duarte are both CIA grads, and Culinariane is a very successful restaurant in Montclair. Just try to get a reservation! Even before she was on Top Chef, it was a difficult reservation to get. The food is fabulous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And now they are looking to enlarge. Even in this economic climate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i hate to defend him. i hated the comment. but i still misinterpreted it. i think both yours and smtucker's comments are right on. but i think HE (not me) was saying that in his opinion their food was not to the level of the other contestants because of it's simplicity. personally i think it needs to TASTE good but if you are an only grant achatz can be top chef kind of person...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                the thing that frustrated me was twofold: one, i just think he's wrong about the simplicity of carla's food. and two, it's not like any of these other chefs are showing themselves to be grant achatz!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Did anyone notice that Carla got the best prizes this season? Super Bowl tickets AND a car! Can't complain about that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I can't wait to see if Stefan is actually going cook to his potential as opposed to working on cruise control. And if he makes another panna cotta....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lawgirl3278

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't know, that Le Bernadin prize was pretty great! And Carla wasn't even interested in football -- she was going to give the tickets to her husband and step-son.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah, but I bet that won her big points. The cheftestants are away from their families for a long time -- over a month -- it would be really nice to come back with a reward for their patience/sacrifices/support. Carla being the kind of person she is, I bet she was more happy to have a prize she could give her husband and stepson (did you see the pictures of him on her site? he looks just like her, it's amazing they're not related!) than she would have been to have a prize for herself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That said, the Le Bernadin prize was a great prize for the kind of chef who would have really appreciated it (not Jamie!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            They both won big. In addition to the LB prize, Stefan also won the suite of appliances. I'd say the superbowl tix and LB weeks are the most valuable, though, in different ways; experiences, not things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Carla talked about the fate of her Super Bowl tickets on the Burning Questions blog last month: http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/blogs...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The actual quote is:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bravotv.com: Are you going to the Super Bowl this weekend? Or did you give the tickets to the men in your life?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Carla: I am going to send the men in my life. The joy was watching Matthew's face once he realized HE was going to the Super Bowl. Priceless!!! Noah is OVER THE MOON!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Nettie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I would love to see such a gracious woman win.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. So...what happened to Tom's super-delicate stomach? I thought he couldn't handle even the slightest spice? Regardless, is someone with this handicap really in a position to judge Cajun cooking?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Regarding Jeff, I was incredibly disappointed that he won instead of Jamie. That said, Emeril seemed really impressed with Jeff's cooking. Tom was a big Jeff booster, too. So obviously Mr. Dildo is doing something right...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't think Carla will win, but I'm so incredibly psyched that she won that challenge. She is so totally my vote for fan favorite. I can't wait for the Carla cooking show...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't know why everyone is so hot on Jamie -- she really wasn't all that, IMHO. She did well in some challenges, but she also ended up in the bottom several times, in both quickfires and elimination challenges. I don't remember any time I was really impressed with her; I think she was a lot more impressed with herself than anyone else was. Actually, I think in a quieter way she was just as cocky and attitudinal as Stefan, without the chops to back it up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh wait. I thought she did a good job running the kitchen during restaurant wars, when Radhika completely washed her hands of all responsibility. But still, I thought generally she was mediocre.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The strongest thing I saw in Jamie's appearance was that Stefan admired her cooking.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The food this season seems to have taken a back burner, maybe we can blame Toby.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, for what it's worth, he also admired Leah's cooking. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wow! I wish I had a television set as good as yours. It won't let me taste anything!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was never thrilled with Jamies food either...funny because she said a few times about other chefs having "wierd" flavor combo's - but I thought some of her dishes sounded a bit wierd!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I found her whole "FINALLY I won a challenge" bit really annoying and I know I got allot of slack about this - but the more I watch the "Le Bernadine" episode the more of a brat (to me) she sounds like when she say's "to be honest I"m BORED with this kind of food"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                she has a real arrogant tone in her voice when she says it...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was thrilled that Jeff won that QF!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, and I've heard from people who know Jamie that it isn't the editing -- she's apparently snarky like that in real life. I guess I really like her style of cooking -- simple and driven by what's available locally and seasonally. Plus, I really admired her guts coming back with that second scallop dish. If you look at her track record on the show (available on wiki) she was as good as anyone in the competition -- and she would have looked even better if she'd gotten one or two of those wins that I'm not sure Ariane deserved. Jamie and Stefan both annoyed me at first, and each had their flaws, but I felt like both demonstrated some real skills. Neither was truly outstanding like, say, Hung. But I felt like both were the cream of a strong but weaker crop than past years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This may be unfair, but I couldn't help thinking Jeff got some accolades because he's good looking and charismatic. I would be curious to see more blind tastings on the show -- I felt like he and Leah benefited from their good looks. Most importantly, I just never warmed to his style of cooking, which by his own admission, was consistently overthought.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    At the end of the day, editing can only do so much. You've never heard a snarky or arrogant thing out of Carla and the most likely reason is that she doesn't say things like that. You can't put attitude or words into someone's mouth to influence a perception; you can only choose to include or exclude certain things. Just looking at Carla at one JT when she was clearly screwed by her teammates (I don't remember the episode), and you can see the genuinely nice person who would never throw someone under the bus. IMO Leah came off snarky and Sefan came off arrogant, though I am sure both of them had kind, caring moments. You cannot manufacture a personality trait but you can choose to highlight it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I wouldn't say she did as well as anyone -- she was high and low about as much as the other top contenders in elimination challenges, but was the only one of the top nine who never won a quickfire.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As for her cooking style, maybe I've lived in the Bay Area for too long. "Driven by local/seasonal" is pretty much what everyone does. If you want to be outstanding, you have to do more than that. When a chef says that in a tone that suggests there's something unique about their approach, I want to gag. It's a great approach, I support it, but don't make it sound like it makes you special, because really, it just makes you one of many following the current trend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I guess what I'm trying to say is that anyone -- including home cooks like me shopping at their local farmers market and especially if like Jamie you live in the Bay Area -- can cook local/seasonally driven food; I'm more interested in what you do with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You know when you go to university and you get this whole new radical outlook on life and see everything through that lens?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        She's like that with the local/seasonal food movement. Probably her gender politics too.