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Top Chef Winner - 10 comments/Questions

Here's justa few thoughts to throw out that I am sure will be bashed to bits.

1. The right chef won based on last nights dishes.

2. The best chef in the season wasn't there....Jeff.

3. The show's choices for sous chefs was brutal. I know they were all runner-ups, but Casey isn't in the same league as Marcel & Richard (based on past seasons). Both men should have probably won their seasons, and Casey was lucky to be there.

4. Carla's choice to listen to Casey, not once but twice was not only her downfall, but a huge professional faux pas.

5. While I love squab, the dish I would have loved t have tried was Hosea's trio of sashimi, even though it was probably the least well-plated dish.

6. Richard was probably a much bigger contributor to the win than anyone will ever admit.

7. While his honesty was incredible, I thought the inclusion of Fabio in the tasting table was questionable and somewhat biased.

8. Did Rocco make any comments other than his silly foie gras comment?

9. Was Gail trying to boost ratings among male viewers? Isn't that why we have Padma?

10. Has the show jumped the shark?

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  1. 1. Disagree. I still think that Stefan should have one based on having a full 3-course meal. Fish app, fish 1st course and venison main doesn't make a complete meal for me. But that's just me.

    2. I think I agree.

    3. Agree - Casey didn't even remotely belong in the same league as Marcel or Richard. If Tiffani had been there, it would have been different (although I think Carla would have been steamrolled by her as well.) ETA: Although I do believe that Stephanie EARNED her win. Either Richard or Stephanie winning TC4 was a good thing.

    4. Agree.

    5. Disagree. Squab for me.

    6. HUGELY agree.

    7. No - they had Malarkey! there last year as well (final menu tasting) and did ask his opinion, IIRC. Not sure if it made a difference to the judges.

    8. Who cares? ;-)

    9. Pregnancy is the probable cause. Someone said a side view showed a belly bump.

    10. God I hope not. I think this was just poor casting AND poor choices by the judges as to who went home earlier. For instance, either Hosea or Leah should have gone home in place of Ariane - it was Leah's piss-poor tying up of the lamb roast that Tom commented on and then sent Ariane home. But they (the judges) don't know that - and you *know* Hosea and Leah weren't going to be honest and say "we let Ariane do the butchering, even tho I, Hosea, have better skills at it and I, Leah, tie up roasts all the time."

    5 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit

      In retrospect a little clue as to who would win was when they showed the scene where Colicchio stresses they didn't have to make a dessert.

      And you are right, Brian was at the final service. Good memory!

      1. re: LindaWhit

        1) According to the judges whose votes are the only votes that count, that is true (dagnabbit).
        2) Disagree.
        3) I wish they’d stuck to the cream of the professional crop like last year’s cast of sous chefs.
        4) Agree.
        5) None for me of either, thanks.
        6) Agree.
        7) Come on, how could they not give Fabio more camera time? He was the one true entertainment this season.
        8) No,
        9) ???
        10) No.

        To say that Top Chef jumped the shark is to imply two things: 1) That the producers acknowledge that the show is fading and that 2) The producers put forth an effort to turn the fading franchise around. I see neither of those and frankly I am peeved. How could they film in New York and only have one NYC-centric challenge? Good golly, set ‘em loose in Carnegie Deli for a sandwich challenge or have the entire cast from New York restaurants or – well – anything! Why employ the tried and tired vans? Send them off on the subway with 3 hours to shop anywhere they want (which I realize would be a logistical and permit nightmare but would at least make for some great TV). Lastly, cast for skill and not what the producers think will be entertaining.

        Edit - meant to be a response to the OP.

        1. re: MplsM ary

          You did not feel as though, just possibly, their letting one of the last three eliminated back in, but with the stipulation they had to win, was there way of saying "we do not believe the best three are in the finale?"

          1. re: jhopp217

            possibly, BUT I think most of the posters around here are reading FAR more into things than there really are. Personally, I thought it was just another twist they hadn't used before, to spice things up.

            1. re: ChefJune

              Remember this is a contest, and they can't for the most part make it up. Any twist and turn had to be planned ahead of time, to avoid the "Quiz Show" accusations of fixing something.

              That being said, they did make an accomodation when the freezer broke, getting replacement food, and in the end, not eliminating anyone. I think they made a fair call there..

      2. 9. Worked for me!

        Every time I try to think of Padma in that oh so special way I get visions of Salman Rushdie being intimate with her. Yep she used to be Lady Rushdie after he was knighted.


        1. by any chance did anybody notice Casey's knife skills? she was way quick and way precise in the brief snapshots they showed of her. I don't know, it caught my attention, because I never really saw knives flashing this year in a remarkable way.

          1. 1. Disagree, Stefan is the better chef and I would have liked to see Carla do a better job so she could have been a serious contender. I think Hosea is at the bottom of those 3 chefs.

            2. Possibly, if we had the Jeff who showed up to NOLA then yes, if we had the Jeff who couldn't edit himself on the plate then no.

            3. Yes Casey was the weakest link, and I agree with Linda that Tiffani is a stronger choice. Even though I would have been just as happy if Richard had won season 4, Stephanie also deserved her win....I don't think he "should" have won.

            4. Totally agree.

            5. I would have liked to try either Stefan's squab or Carla's first course before I would have liked to try anything Hosea made, but if I had to pick it would have been the venison.

            6. The more I think about this the more I agree.

            7. They have brought back contestants before for the tasting, and when asked Fabio picked Hosea.

            8. If he did the editors were wise enough not to show them.

            9. All I can think of is Seinfeld, "They're real and they're spectacular."

            10 No, I think it call all be redeemed with a better quality of cheftestants.

            1 Reply
            1. re: lizzy

              Re: your #5 - yes, I agree - Hosea's venison was the only thing he made that interested me. *Maybe* his appetizer, but I know I'd rather have tried Carla's and Stefan's apps first before his "blackened redfish".

            2. 1. I agree

              2. Disagree. This would depend on what you like to eat I guess, but I think the best were Stephan, Carla, and Eugene. For Eugene to show what he did with no formal training was outstanding.

              3. Can't comment, I started watching at season 4, during which I really liked Richard.

              4. Totally agree, that sous chef had terrible judgement and Carla too for listening to her. Lesson learned.

              5. Disagree, while the sashimi looked good, how difficult is it to prepare sashimi? It isn't that difficult preparation=good, or that I wouldn't want to eat it, but in the final round I think you need to do more than find a good piece of fish and slice it and make the plate look pretty. I would have tried the venison, personally.

              6. Agree.

              7. Agree- what is he doing there? However, producers control everything and Fabio boosts ratings.

              8. I don't think so.

              9. Could be, but no questions asked from me.

              10. I think yes, but it can recover. For me, there is way too much sponsor influence (Quaker Oats Quickfire??) and way too much producer influence on who stays and who goes. Too much focus on the drama and interpersonal relationships and not enough on the food and the actual preparation of it. Also, and it almost made me stop watching, was the idiotic, token inclusion of a wisecracking British judge. He is not funny, very annoying, and seems to know even less about food than how to deliver a rehearsed wittily derogatory remark

              4 Replies
              1. re: stewy

                Perhaps Fabio didn't need to be there, but for god's sake, they'd already flown him down to NOLA.. can't you just let the guy eat dinner and be there at the end? What are you going to do - give him $100 and tell him to get sloshed on hurricane's at Pat O'Briens? Its not like they made him a judge at judge's table..

                1. re: grant.cook

                  Speaking of Fabio - i wonder if anyone caught him on "Ellen"?
                  I'd have liked to have seen it

                  1. re: NellyNel

                    Oh now *that* would have been fun to see. Are her shows on Hulu? Wait - they're on her site: http://ellen.warnerbros.com/videos/ Click the "Next" button a couple of times - it's in the lower right. Cute. :-)

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Thanks Linda!

                      I'll have to watch it at home later...no sound on work computer.


              2. 1. They should have held the money over until next season and chosen better cheftestants, to whom they could have offered $200,000 courtesy of the Glad Family of Products to make their culinary dreams come true!! Sadly, I don't think the world needs Hosea's culinary dreams.

                2. There was no best chef, only less mediocre ones.

                3. Casey is weaker than Richard and Marcel.

                4. Yes.

                5. Not if it was as underseasoned as the judges indicate. The tipping point for sashimi, "new style" sashimi,crudo, etc... is not the high quality fish, which must be a given, but what is used to highlight the ingredient(s). No one seemed to actually enjoy eating Hosea's sashimi.

                6. Given Hosea's mediocrity, this must be true

                7. He's hot and funny. C'mon, the straight guys get Padma and Gail.....

                8. Nope. I wish Hubert Keller had followed his lead and SHUT UP--embarassing!!!

                9. It's TV, so yes.

                10. Pretty darn close. So many talented chefs and sous chefs (and caterers, yes, I said it) out there and this was the group? Wow. The casting staff should be fired. Also,m can we gfet Tom C. some Prozac before next season so he's happy again?

                4 Replies
                1. re: cabking

                  cabking, it's interesting you said that. I believe Tom has been going through a divorce and there have been rumor after rumor about a possible relationship with Padma. While I don't know, and really don't care who he dates, it did seem to me that he was not as enthusiastic this season and the show suffered for it.

                  1. re: jhopp217

                    OK, so I am really confused. I've been reading all season about how Tom is a gay icon, so I somehow got it into my head that he is gay. Now he's getting a divorce and dating Padma? I guess he's straight, but where did I go astray???!!!

                    1. re: roxlet

                      Tom is a "specialty cut" for a certain group of gay men, those attracted to so-called bears, or burly hairy men. This group of men seem quite enamored of him. However, while Tom has been quoted as finding this attraction amusing, he's straight by his own admission.

                      Fabio's straight, too, but that doesn't me I can't look--that's what TV is for!

                      1. re: cabking

                        I completely get it -- Fabio is married too!!

                2. 1) Disagree-Stefan should have won
                  2)It would have been more interesting if Jeff, Jamie, & maybe even Leah, had been there
                  3) The method for picking the sous chefs was brutal & random-while I would not presume to judge that Casey is of the same caliber as Marcel & Richard, but I think perhaps w/ another cheftestant, she might have been more effective.
                  5)The dish I would have liked to try was Stefan's squab & cabbage-yum!
                  7)Ehh? who cares-Malarkey was there earlier, it's not like he was a real judge
                  8) Again, not a concern-but Rocco doesn't bother me, I respect his opinions, he's a real chef
                  9) I thought Gail looked lovely, although I didn't agree w/ her opinions.
                  10)Probably, but will I watch the next season?-probably

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: thistle5

                    Re: your #2 - Leah would have been the same waste of space that Hosea ended up being. I would have liked to have seen Jamie, Jeff, Stefan and Carla all in the final 4. Although I still think that Jeff would have overthought things yet AGAIN and wouldn't have made it to Final 3.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Although I was not fond of Leah personally (hey, she's young, so I'll give her a bit of a pass), I eventually was convinced that she was a better chef than I wanted to think she was. I don't know if it's instinct, or training, but I do believe that some people have more culinary skills than most of us want to give them credit for...however, I didn't really feel that way about Josea, from the beginning,I thought he was a solid, middle of the road chef-&that's not a negative-he was in my pick from the beginning to go all the way to the end, but he was never my pick for this season's Top Chef.

                      Although my love for Carla grew along w/ the season, I was never sure that she could be Top Chef, either...

                      The person I was most wrong about was Eugene, I thought he would go further than he did, but I was wrong...

                  2. It was the most boring and lackluster Top Chef ever....that's all I have to say.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: melly

                      melly, that's a good topic. I loved loved loved Carla, but I freely acknowledge her errors (as she does herself).

                      Loved the first season. Loved Harold. Loved a lot of the personalities.

                      I found season two much more annoying, though I guess you can't call physical assaults "boring," though two supremely unlikeable, annoying technicians getting to the finals qualify for that moniker to me. That was without question the least qualified finale ever.

                      Season three had a cooking-school robot against a nice but outclassed dude and an untalented and soul-devouring gargoyle with an expensive dye job. I didn't hate Hung, but he certainly wasn't a top chef by any stretch of the imagination.

                      Four, I liked Stephanie a lot. She doesn't thrill me, but I have no objections to her. Blais is visually inspired. His ideas are very seven years ago -- and will be meaningless in another three. And anyone who puts star anise in my creamed spinach is getting a finger in the eye.

                      Carla is my favorite reality show contestant ever. She'd be my first choice without deliberation to cater any event. I want to go to a water park with her. And I'm sure she cooks amazing food day in and day out, and wants people TO HAVE A GOOD TIME.

                      And that's a top chef to me.

                      I don't hate Hosea. But I don't like him either. I think Stefan has a case of inferiority, which masks his fundamentally nice and caring side. But sorry, I don't want to have a beer with him, because he's the kind of person who will "joke around" with you by mentioning your bad skin or the fact that your head is a little too big for your body.

                      1. re: melly

                        Agreed, worst season ever.. I can't believe Hosea is the "Top Chef"...

                        1. re: duckdown

                          I have no problem with Hosea, he's just young and time cures that. I'm still bent about Ilan as TC!

                          1. re: KenWritez

                            I don't really consider him young. Hosea is actually in his mid thirties (but I remember before the contestants were announced, eater described him as a bald guy in his 40s from a pic-- ouch!) I think a lot of people are having problems with Hosea as the winner because he didn't really win a lot of challenges on his own.

                            Yeah, I still haven't gotten over the Ilan fiasco!

                            1. re: Miss Needle

                              "Yeah, I still haven't gotten over the Ilan fiasco!"

                              Me either!

                              Anyone know what he's doing these day's?

                      2. 1. Probably, although the measure still irks. Stefan made the meal that everyone seems to agree was the best thing all night (out of all the dishes they tasted), That should count for something as should what he did with the alligator.

                        2. Disagree. In fact, I don't even understand this Jeff love. I'm sure he's good, but no, not the best chef.

                        3. Did not watch Casey's season, but I'm inclined to disagree with you. She's a different chef than the other two (who dabble in molecular gastronomy) but I'm sure she's excellent (if nasty for that unnecessary email).

                        4. A bad decision indeed. A professional faux pas? Here I'd quibble with your language choice. I think it was a bad decision and one that continued to reveal a capacity for self-doubt that Carla needs to remove.

                        5. No. The squab sounded amazing. The trio of Sashimi was described as tasteless, but I would have happily tried that venison.

                        6. Richard was probably a much bigger contributor to the win than anyone will ever admit.

                        7. No. The inclusion of Fabio was a nice move,. He was clearly capable of making comments without bias, and please, everyone has observed all season how he makes good television. He was at the tasting table, but he was not a final judge, so no issue of bias.

                        8. I don't remember. I don't particularly care. I'm actually not a huge foie gras fan and think it should be used sparingly on my plate-- I recognise it's my personal preference, though. I suspect Rocco is responding to the way it has become the go-to luxury item.

                        9. No. And this was an unnecessary and rude comment/question. I think you might be grumpy because you can't drool over Jeff like you want.

                        10. No. The show has not pulled any stunt beyond the standard that has made the show what it is to date. There have been no ridiculous out of character demonstrations that desperately try to get back the dwindling audiences. (And for those who suggest that bring back Jeff was a statement of a lack of faith-- erm, no. This is an annoying gesture, but in keeping with the game show format that this and Project runway have used in the past.)

                        The phrase 'jumped the shark' has become so tired I'm sick of it. It was a brilliant phrase when it emerged. And for those of you who don't know its etymology, it came out of the last series of Happy Days, in which Fonzie is in Hawaii (a familiar death knell for many sitcoms along with adopting children with the bowl cut and bringing in Ted McGinley) and waterskis over a shark. A pointless ratings grabbing gesture that is much a frantic wave of the hand of a drowning show.

                        Appointing a person as Top Chef based on a single challenge seems to be the programme''s thing.

                        For a show to jump the shark, it has to pull out the tired and desperate gimmicks in the last throes of life in order to bring some ratings in. Top Chef is not doing that. Although I would love for them to bring Ted McGinley into the judges table for a gesture to the sad refrain coming from Top chef's clearly active fan base. (I mean, how many people are posting Internet wide? This is an American cable show.)

                        Stay tuned for my next post in which I beg you all to stop talking about that &%$£ing bus!

                        15 Replies
                        1. re: Lizard

                          I don't think the show has jumped yet, but hindsite is 20\20. The emphasis on Leah and Hosea's relationship was akin to Fonzi putting on one ski, if this trend of focusing on these romances continues.
                          And "Jump the Shark" is still a perfect term, tired or not, most people now know exactly what it means.

                          1. re: TroyTempest

                            I must be the only TC fan who wasn't "that" bothered by the fact that they chose to highlight the "romance".
                            I find it to be a "human interest" part of what went down...

                            I found the whole head shaving incident of season 2 -allot more nauseating - but it still didn't bother me that they choose to show it.

                            "And "Jump the Shark" is still a perfect term, tired or not, most people now know exactly what it means."
                            It IS the perfect term but I never heard it until this post!
                            Luckily someone explained what it means! I think it's hilarious! So it's not tired to me!!


                            1. re: NellyNel

                              You never heard of jumping the shark until this post? Wow. I must admit I'm a bit surprised. I kind of assumed everyone knew about it by now. But you know what they say about assuming...

                              1. re: gastrotect

                                Yes, there's even a book called Jumping the Shark that a friend of mine gave me about 4 or so years ago.

                                1. re: roxlet

                                  And there's the site for shows, too. I haven't been there for years but it was a guaranteed way to waste time.

                                  1. re: chowser

                                    Nope I never heard of it!
                                    How long has it been around? I did live out of the country for 6 years so maybe that's why...I was out of the loop0 for a while!
                                    DH never heard it either!

                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                      The Happy Days episode was from the 1970s:


                                      But the phrase began to be used in the late 1990s with a website. According to the site's owner, the phrase was coined by his college roommate back in 1985.

                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                        I can't find the site anymore but it's been a long time since I've been there. I thought it was jumptheshark.com but can't remember anymore. I think LindaWhit has it about the late 90's or maybe early 2000's.

                                        1. re: chowser

                                          Yep - I just googeld it and Jumptheshark.com came up...

                                          I remember Fonzi doing a motorcycle jump over cars....but I don't remember any shark episode though......

                                          1. re: chowser

                                            According to wikipedia, TVGuide bought out jumptheshark.com, and stripped it of all of it's really snarky content. It's a pale imitation of what it once was.

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              Yeah - it wasn't at all what I thought it was going to be - it's basically just a run of the mill tv/media web site...

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                Too bad. It was a funny site, esp the snarky comments and disagreements.

                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                    TWP rules--it's got enough snark for two websites!

                                2. re: Lizard

                                  So you're saying the expression "jump the shark has jumped the shark?;-)

                                3. I have one question and one comment.

                                  Where the heck was Stephanie, last season's winner...? Did she make any appearances in this series?

                                  The only thing that kept the series from donning Fonzie's leather jacket and waterskiing, was Fabio and Carla, in my humble opinion.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                    Stephanie only showed up in the Dr. Pepper commercials...or Cool Whip commercials - or whatever else is desiring product placement.

                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      Oh yeah I caught one of Stephanies ad's - and it was PAINFUL to watch!
                                      She has clearly been forced to do these ads and is humiliated - it shows all over her uncomfortable face!
                                      Betty seemed to over compensate for Stephanie's lackluster performance by trying to be as "upbeat" as she could!
                                      ugh so utterly embarrasing!

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        Thanks Linda.

                                        I wonder why she wasn't part of this season.

                                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                          I would have liked to have seen her as well, Trish...but I do recall she's been busy getting her restaurant ready to open, so perhaps a trip to NYC or NOLA wasn't possible?

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            2. I think Radhika was the best and it still bugs me that she was sent packing for not being a good hostess.
                                            3. I think Marcel is closer to Casey than to Richard. Toby made some comments about Marcel being a problem.
                                            6. Without a doubt, Hosea's main dish had Richard written all over it.
                                            10. I don't think it's jumped but I think in the future they should clarify the judging and make sure the contestants (and the audience) knows what the judges are looking for. This season in particular the judges seemed to keep the contestants in a state of constant confusion.
                                            Telling them to think outside the box and then rewarding tomato slices on watermelon while displaying hostility towards Jeff's dishes sent mixed messages.

                                            1. re: tofuburrito

                                              Re: your last paragraph - Jeff most definitely lost that one because of the biddies on GMA. Especially the Big-Mouthed One Who Shall Not Be Named But Shouldn't Be on Television Anymore. I do recall Tom saying Jeff's dish was one of the best he'd tasted.

                                    2. Once the chef's stop getting immunity, I think their performance should become a factor in choose the top three and the winner. If the top three cheftestants in Season 5 got credit for past performance the winner would have been different. There should be a safe-guard against a middle-of-the-pack contestant having a "good day" and beating someone that was at the top of their game for most of the elimination challenges.

                                      2 Replies
                                        1. No. 6 is the most disregarded part of the finale. They didn't show what Richard did but with Hosea's win, it was obvious he had a big hand in it. They barely showed that Richard was there at all. And, if Richard had been in this finale, he would have won, no question.

                                          And, Carla lost it. It WAS her decision to listen to Casey (who I think looks a lot like Jennifer Anniston) despite knowing what she was like as a chef. You listen to Richard, you don't listen to Casey.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: chowser

                                            Actually chowser - I noticed a bit when I re-watched it -
                                            Hosea tastes something that is in a pan on the stove and says:
                                            "Oh that is soo good"
                                            and in the background you can hear Richard say "oh good"

                                            So whatever it was - Richard clearly made it.

                                            That and who knows what else - he also suggested plating in the walk in , and I'm sure he plated everything to his standard...
                                            Ughh I get annoyed whenever I think about it!!

                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                              If you look at the Rate the Plate on the Bravo web site it's really hard to imagine Hosea putting together the Seared Scallop with Foie Gras on Pain Perou, Apple Preserves and Foie Gras Foam. That has Richard written all over it.

                                          2. I think debate over the relative contributions of Casey and Richard are missing the fact that their success depended on leadership. Carla didn't know what she wanted to do, didn't have clear ideas, and so she grabbed Casey's ideas. Hosea seemed to have a clear plan, and Richard helped execute it. The sous chefs were all capable in the kitchen and any of them could have helped Hosea (and Stephan) execute their ideas. I agree that Richard was probably the best chef of the three, but I'm not sure that fact elevated Hosea's dishes.

                                            I wanted to try the venison dish myself.

                                            Regarding Fabio, I was glad they included him. He admitted that he was biased to root for Stefan, but he also admitted Hose had the better overall execution. (I was hoping they showed more of Branford's comments).
                                            I think Fabio was great on camera, and he has a nice side career ahead of him as a judge on TC, Iron Chef, and any other program he wants to do!

                                            Is Gail the "Paula" of Top Chef? :-) I'm not sure what that means, but I'm happy to take the British dude over Gail. And if they want to do something for us "male viewers", bring back Katie Joel. Just don't have her speak much :-)

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Bryan Gros

                                              Bryan - I think the point you are missing is that Richard had the ideas and did allot of the execution. It wasn't merely that he did what Hosea asked of him. Tofuburrito pointed out that the scallop dish - was clearly Richard and not Hosea.
                                              This is what we are all so miffed about.
                                              " I agree that Richard was probably the best chef of the three, but I'm not sure that fact elevated Hosea's dishes."
                                              If you watched the show closely - you WOULD be sure!

                                            2. 1. If the rules are that the judging is solely on the final night's dishes, than Hosea should have won. However, I do not think the rules are always applied in that way. If they were, Fabio would have been gone in the Super Bowl challenge.

                                              2. No. Jeff was not the best chef in the season.

                                              3. Agreed that the sous chefs were poor, but the main competitors should have been strong enough to win with a weak sous chef.

                                              4. Completely agree. Carla's fatal downfall.

                                              5. Agree about squab v. sashimi.

                                              6. Absolutely wrt Richard.

                                              7. I don't think the real judges based their decision much, if at all, on what Fabio said.

                                              8. I have a Rocco filter installed so no idea.

                                              9. Huh? You can't have two female judges?

                                              10. Based on ratings and internet interest, no. The problem this season was in casting. Some people simply were way out of their league (Leah for example).

                                              1. 1. The right chef won based on last nights dishes.

                                                Agree: Chef Tom made it clear the judging was based on the TASTE of the plates, nothing else. If Hosea had the best-tasting food that night, he had the best-tasting food--period.

                                                2. The best chef in the season wasn't there....Jeff.

                                                Disagree. Jeff kept tripping himself in needlessly complicated dishes. "Best chef" is a subjective value decision. A chef as arrogant and prickly as Stefan acted would be divisive and a poor addition to a commercial kitchen. IMHO he'd alienate too many staff.

                                                3. The show's choices for sous chefs was brutal....Both men should have probably won their seasons, and Casey was lucky to be there.

                                                Agree about Richard, disagree about Marcel, agree about Casey. IMHO she didn't have the moxie required of a true top chef. She'd work well as sous chef, I think. Marcel had lots of knowledge, but couldn't play well with others. Another Stefan. Richard rocks when you take his toys away.

                                                4. Carla's choice to listen to Casey, not once but twice was not only her downfall, but a huge professional faux pas.

                                                Agree about the downfall, but I'm not sure why listening to Casey was a faux pas. Casey had nothing invested in the contest, and Carla taking her advice contradicted Carla's own words at the show's beginning: "I need to cook my food, the food that got me here."

                                                5. No opinion on this one.

                                                6. I don't have enough info to have an opinion. I saw the show only once.

                                                7. While his honesty was incredible, I thought the inclusion of Fabio in the tasting table was questionable and somewhat biased.

                                                I disagree about biased, but agree about "questionable." I thought it was in poor taste at worst, at best it was bizarre. I was shocked when I saw him at table. Why include him but none of the others?

                                                8. Did Rocco make any comments other than his silly foie gras comment?

                                                None that were aired.

                                                9. Was Gail trying to boost ratings among male viewers? Isn't that why we have Padma?

                                                While I admired Gail's breastage, it was too distracting. My wife says women know exactly what they're doing when they dress like that, so I can only assume she chose the low-cut dress deliberately. ("I want to be the sexual fantasy of millions of lonely teenage boys!") This reminded me of Giada Syndrome: "My breasts and I will cook for you!"

                                                10. Has the show jumped the shark?

                                                No, not yet IMHO, but it's a constant temptation for ratings-hungry producers and network suits and the show veered close to it.

                                                1. 10. Yes.

                                                  The problem is the talent pool. With copycat programming on other networks, there are only so many young, talented but unheralded chefs to go around. The herd is really being thinned, based on this year's cast. It is only going to get worse.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                    Bob - I don't agree.
                                                    Viewers of TC have been complaining about the caliber of the chefs since season two.

                                                    I'm not sure what some viewers are looking for, and why they feel the show has jumped the shark. I see no desperate gimmicks being pulled to grab a broader audience in.

                                                    The chefs all have talent. We nit-pit at their expertise, but we haven't been in their shoes.
                                                    I'm sure it's allot more difficult than we imagine.

                                                    We have seen very creative chefs like Jeff get critized for being so; obviously the food trend these days is "keep it simple".
                                                    So maybe that's why everyone feels like the chefs have not been "all that"

                                                    I don't know - but it hasn't jumped the shark yet!

                                                    1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                      Disagree. Their ratings aren't really hurting and they haven't done anything wild or crazy to grab attention. It might not have been a great season, but it didn't jump the shark.

                                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                                        Hootey HOOOO!!!! That's just great!

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          I keep opening it up to get another chuckle out of it!