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Feb 26, 2009 11:11 AM

TC Casey's Take On Finale and Carla

"Carla was not prepared and in over her head. The show did not talk about how the first course (crab) took her half of the friggin’ cooking time that day, I was left to work the rest of HER dishes.

She also did not have a plan. The ONLY thing she had in mind was a cheese course! I would NEVER do a cheese course. And where in the hell did french come from!? She is not even classically trained! It (the show) didn’t talk about how I worked on a sauce for 2 days and Carla forgot to put it on the plate… It didn’t show how the 2nd course (fish) was MINE. It didn’t show how she took the sous vide idea and decided to GRILL it last minute causing it to be tough… And it didn’t show how she WANTED to do the souffles which she does not even know how to make! That was HER food, because it certainly was me asking her how she wanted to do this and that while she was busy picking crab the entire time and making a souffle that didn’t rise!

I am done with TC. I did not influence her. She has NO ideas of her own, oh, except a cheese course."

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    1. Interesting - I've been at that link reading the comments, and all of a sudden, you get a big "SERVICE UNAVAILABLE" without anything else.

      Do you think Carla lovers shut down their server? LOL

      ETA: And it's back up....

      51 Replies
      1. re: LindaWhit

        To be fair, last night's episode was really damaging to Casey, dissipated all the goodwill she built up in her season. Carla basically threw her under the bus by her statements on camera--although she was very clear that she didn't blame Casey in later comments. What was Casey thinking when she agreed to come back? I think they'll have a very hard time recruiting future "all-stars" to come back in the future after this, I predict.

        1. re: newhavener07

          Sorry - completely disagree that Carla threw her under the bus - how are you seeing that she did so? Carla took the blame - during the show - and more importantly, afterwards. Whereas Casey's response in that EMail to is just plain nasty.

          Casey cooked her own goose, IMO. And it was WAY overdone with that Email response.

          1. re: LindaWhit

            Carla did take the blame but made it very clear that it wasn't "my food." I'm not saying Carla was nasty about it, but the editing made it very explicit that Casey's contributions brought Carla down, and Carla seemed to acknowledge that. Of course, that could be far from what really happened...

            1. re: newhavener07

              Yikes, check out the comments on that thread. Scorching, nasty denunciations of Casey. Come on, people. Let's take a deep breath and concentrate on keeping economic armageddon at bay. It's just a TV show!

              1. re: newhavener07

                Yes, I know that. But I truly believe she was saying "I let myself be swayed by my sous chef and didn't make what I know I can make well." I most certainly do not think she was intentionally throwing Casey under the bus at all.

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  OK, maybe "throwing under the bus" was too strong. "Letting her be dragged under the bus by the weight of evidence" might be more accurate, to strain a metaphor. Horrors, I'm sounding like Toby Young! Let's all get back to some butt-rubbing.

                  1. re: newhavener07

                    ::::::SMACK!!!!!::::::::: newhavener, snap OUT of it!!!!!

                    ::::::Shaking newhavener by the shoulders::::::::::: Come back to us!

                    U there? U OK? You're not morphing into TY, are you? :-)

                2. re: newhavener07

                  I don't see it that way at all. Carla didn't have to take Casey's suggestions, but she did instead of going ahead with her plan. When talking about the second course at the dinner table, Tom commented that it didn't even look like Carla's food. Unfortunately it wasn't until after it was too late for Carla to do anything to correct her mistakes. At JT she may have used the phrase, "my food," but it was because her food was not reminiscent of her style of cooking. I in no way took it as throwing Casey under the bus. She realized her mistake, she truthfully talked about it at JT and she put all of the blame on herself.

                  As for the email, it's over the top. Not to excuse it but, I guess Casey must have been bombarded with phone calls after last night's finale. Talk about throwing someone under the bus!

                  1. re: lizzy

                    Yeah, and a friend of hers (Catherine) came to her defense. Sorry. Casey should have had better sense than to write something like this.

                    1. It's not like Email and the Internet were just invented by Al Gore.

                    2. It's not like she didn't know she was writing to an online magazine that might (definitely) publish any response.

                    3. And it's not like people aren't going to find and read that published EMail and comment about it.

                    You reap what you sow.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Why is Casey over the top? I would bet everything she said is true. Woe be the person who is seen as sabotaging a fan favorite. Carla is a nitwit. She showed it in the finale. Casey is not a nitwit, why should she take the blame for Carla's incompetence?

                      1. re: Ericandblueboy

                        What on earth makes you think Carla is a "nitwit"????????????

                        She's tallented, intelligent, gracious, etc.....

                        Certainly, and Clearly NOT a nitwit

                        1. re: NellyNel

                          Oh she forgot to turn the temperature down....that's a nitwit move.

                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                            Casey also MAJORLY bit it during her finale! Maybe its less Carla and more Casey's bad luck lol

                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                              So the 4 weeks leading up to that when Carla expertly crafted dish after dish was also a nitwit move? I suppose making far and away the best meal in the first part of the finale was also being nitwit. Not to mention perfectly recreating Ripert's sauce on her fish. Only nitiwits do those sorts of things.

                              1. re: gastrotect

                                It isn't the success that defines a nitwit, it's the failures.

                                1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                  You mean like not being able to chop onions or choking in the Season 3 Finale?

                          2. re: Ericandblueboy

                            Sorry, but Casey IS a nitwit for taking Carla down personally. Casey could have found other ways of defending herself, rather than suggest that Carla is LYING about her training. She could have blamed Bravo completely but instead she chose to attack Carla's integrity and skills. If Bravo made Casey look bad last night, she just made it worse for herself by her own words.

                            1. re: pisang goreng

                              but instead she chose to attack Carla's integrity and skills. If Bravo made Casey look bad last night, she just made it worse for herself by her own words.
                              Bingo. Casey stepped in deep into shit of her own making, and seems to refuse to take ownership of her major gaff.

                            2. re: Ericandblueboy

                              No, I sincerely doubt that everything she said was true. Her friend has said she already regrets saying it. And it's been proven throughout this season that Carla does know what she's doing - she wouldn't have made it as far as she did without her classical training (Casey said she didn' t have any) and her own ideas (which she has shown she does have with previous dishes she's produced).

                              Casey is a nitwit for saying what she said. And if you'd bother to read anything else, you'd see that Carla has taken FULL blame for it. She never blamed Casey. So your entire post is completely invalid.

                              Oh, and Eric? I was never an early fan of Carla's. I thought several times early on that she should have gone. But others were worse than her. And over time, she was able to prove to me that she deserved to be there. So while I'm a Johnny-Come-Lately to being a fan of hers, I wasn't always so.

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                Screwing up 2 out 4 dishes in the fiinale makes her a nit wit. 50% failure rate....a big fat F.

                                1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                  No that means she let her underconfidence get the best of her and not do what got her there. Had she simply stuck to her original plan, she very well could be Top Chef right now. Or do you think Casey is also nitwit as well as Richard? (Both had similar failures.) If she were a nitwit, how did she do so well for the past 4-5 weeks, including winning several ECs and QFs?

                                  1. re: gastrotect

                                    Did anyone else absolutely bomb 50% of their dishes in the finale?

                                    1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                      I just said it. Richard did last year. Is he a nitwit? Casey did too if I'm not mistaken.

                                      1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                        *Did anyone else absolutely bomb 50% of their dishes in the finale?*

                                        You mean like Stefan with his frozen fish chips and '80s banquet dessert whose only fan was Toby Young (take that for what it's worth)?

                                        My initial reaction when watching the episode was "Casey: STFU" (though it's ultimately Carla's fault for listening to her and doing dishes that weren't her own - it was Carla that was up for Top Chef, after all, Casey already had her chance and blew it).

                                        After reading that email? "Casey: STFU". Carla's post-verdict response has been the epitome of grace. Casey - not so much.

                                        As a side note - Casey's griping about Carla grilling the sous vide steaks - among any number of things - seems particularly off-target. Most chefs who sous vide meat will still apply some direct heat immediately before serving to get some maillard reaction going, and for more appealing color. e.g. ->
                                        Indeed, Thomas Keller in "Under Pressure," which is pretty much the sous-vide reference book, does sirloin at 59.5C for 45 minutes and then before serving pan-sears it for 10 minutes.
                                        It's clear Carla had no clue about sous vide, but I have to wonder whether Casey really knew what she was doing either.

                                        By the way - does Commander's Palace really have liquid nitrogen and an immersion circulator just hanging around the kitchen???


                                        1. re: Frodnesor

                                          That is supremely informative. I would never -- and I mean never -- have thought sirloin could stand up to sous-vide and THEN 10 minutes in a pan.

                                          But then again, I'm not likely to sous-vide at home. Like deep-frying, it's something I prefer to leave to the pros with pro equipment.

                                          1. re: Elyssa

                                            I never said Casey isn't a nitwit. This season isn't about Casey.

                                      2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                        Wow do you have a personal stake in hating Carla, I see you are from DC.

                                        1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                          50% success rate - a hall of fame baseball player

                                          1. re: thew

                                            Wow, that's a terrible analogy. What about a player that only fields 50%?

                                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                              its no more terrible than your big fat f analogy - because both are meaningless w/out context.

                                              it is hard to hit a basevball. so hard that doing it 3 time out of 10 is great and 4 times is nearly undoable.

                                              i think cooking on top chef is also difficult.
                                              i stand by my anaolgy

                                      3. re: Ericandblueboy

                                        You'd lose that bet -- one thing she said definitely isn't true, that Carla has no classical training, when in fact, Carla went to a French cooking school.

                                        It's Casey who has no formal training, which makes me think this whole blog post is Casey projecting her own frustration and disappointment with how *she* did in the Top Chef finale. Hell, Casey had a sous chef who was a real top chef helping her, and she still crashed and burned!

                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                          "Carla went to a French cooking school."
                                          Um....sort of.
                                          The school's name was L'Academie de Cuisine. It's located in Gaithersburg Maryland. It offers over 1000 courses and does have a professional program. There's a second L'Acad. in another city in Maryland.

                                          1. re: shallots

                                            I knew that -- I guess I should have phrased it, a "school of French cooking." Regardless, of the two, Carla has the most formal training.

                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                              Just to prove that training doesn't mean squat when you're a nitwit and can't think on your feet or perform under pressure.

                                              1. re: Fritter

                                                Agree with that Fritter.

                                                Just because Carla didn't win the finale doesn't mean she can't perform under pressure. The entire show is a pressure cooker. She got as far as 3rd in the competition. Better than how many others?

                                                1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                  You clearly have something against Carla personally. Why have you refused to recognize that Carla is not the only contestant to struggle in the finale on Top Chef?

                                                  Here is a straight forward question: Do you think Richard Blaise is a nitwit?


                                              2. re: shallots

                                                Lacademie has two campuses. the original bethesda campus now houses the recreational school (a huge variety of classes for home cooks) and the professional program which is based in gaithersburg (and some rec classes are out there too). They are only 15 minutes away from each other tops.

                                                The professional program is french and very classical. for what its worth- I've seen a ranking that put it in the top 10 culinary programs nation wide.

                                    2. re: newhavener07

                                      casey was not in competition, and thus could not be thrown under the bus. she didn;t have bus tickets to begin with.

                                      carla made a bad decision. however casey acted is really irrelevant. she was not a contestant. carla should not have given an inch on what might have been the single most important meal she has ever cooked.

                                      1. re: thew

                                        I agree that Carla should have stood up for herself, but this is the way she works, slowly, nonlinearly, and in a scattershot way. BUT, Casey, out of a sense of whatever, ego, hurt feelings, whatever, pushed her own agenda. Casey should have had the sense that this isn't about her. If Carla is going to crash and burn, it has to be from her own ideas not Casey's.

                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                          From Tom Colicchio:

                                          "Although it would be easy to blame Casey for Carla’s loss, I’m afraid the blame lies squarely with Carla, for abdicating the decision-making and control. She may have wanted to be collaborative with Casey and respectful of her input, but at the end of the day, Carla needed to assert her vision, and the two times that she didn’t proved calamitous and put her out of the running for the title. Casey was right to make suggestions, particularly when Carla was as vague as she was (“I want to make meat and potatoes.” Um …yeah … could you be more specific? No? OK, I’ll start riffing, then). "

                                          Carla had no plan and can't make decisions, so she did crash and burn on her own. If Casey didn't step in, I think Carla would've only produce 1 out of 4 dishes.

                                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                            But that is up to Carla, not up to Casey. Like I said, if she is to crash and burn, she should be allowed to crash and burn on her own without any help from the sous chef. if she made only one out of four, so be it.

                                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                              Carla had a plan. She changed it upon listening to Casey, which was her downfall. Regardless, as Phaedrus said - it was Carla's decision to make. She did, she owned it, she lost. She's fully aware of it. She's still not a nitwit, as you seem to always want to call her.

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                Not only is she not a nitwit, she most certainly showed the greatest self-knowledge of any chef I have ever seen on that show. As much as I liked Jeff, I thought his attitude about his loss approached the merely perplexed and humiliated -- whereas Carla is crystal clear about what led to her flubs. That's inner strength.

                                              2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                You're seriously claiming that Carla would have produced one dish only without Casey's direction? It's not as if she has a track record of putting nothing in front of the judges throughout the competition. She began Top Chef by putting indifferent food in front of the judges -- food she knew to be flawed -- but she didn't send out empty plates.

                                                I think Carla was terrified and, in her, panic, seized on the guidance that Casey offered. Unfortunately, Casey's suggestions took Carla into areas in which she had no expertise, intensifying the panic. Carla made the wrong decision to accept Casey's suggestions. She owns that decision and its consequences. Still, Casey's suggestions were poor.

                                                One of the Top Chef blogs discussed the difference between Marcel and Casey in the finale. The writer pointed out that Marcel is used to the sous chef role whereas Casey is used to the executive chef role. I think that accounts for Casey's poor suggestions; she is used to directing others to execute her vision rather than identifying Carla's strengths and enhancing those.

                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                          And between 4:30 and 5pm, I've been unable to access the site - "Database Error" or "Service Unavailable" or "Network Timeout: The server at is taking too long to respond."

                                          I've got to believe that their server has gone down. Talk about a s**tstorm! LOL

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            A phenomenon referred to by net geeks as having been "Slashdotted".

                                            1. re: kmcarr

                                              Hadn't heard of that - but it looks like at 6pm it's back to being available....

                                        3. FYI, L'Academie in Gaithersburg Maryland proudly proclaims Carla a Graduate.


                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: shallots

                                            Can anyone tell me of L'Academie is a reputable school. I looked at their alumni page and really don't see anyone of note having graduating from there. TIA.

                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                              There are several local DC chefs of note who are graduates of L'Academie. Jonathan Krinn is the only one coming to mind at the moment. He created 2941 and, then, opened his own place, Inox. The old 2941 web site used to have a detailed bio of Krinn. The new web site seems quite limited, so I wonder if the web site -- like the restaurant itself -- is still in the soft opening phase.

                                              I'm a family friend of a relatively recent grad of the professional program who was hired by Eric Rippert for his Washington, DC restaurant. She describes the program as very rigorous and very classical.

                                              ETA: I went to the L'Academie web site. Other than the chef of PS7 (a restaurant with excellent food) and Carla, I didn't recognize the name of a single chef included in the alumni pages.

                                              I wonder if the L'Academie alumni themselves send in updates and puff pieces, sort of like the class notes in an alumni magazine. Neither my husband nor I has ever sent in an announcement to our collegiate alma mater even though we've received some notable awards on a national level. It simply hasn't been important to us to write to the alumni magazine. Since I know Krinn is a L'Academie grad and since I don't see his name on their web page, I wonder if he -- and other illustrious grads -- simply haven't seen the need to write to L'Academie.

                                              At any rate, L'Academie is well-regarded in the DC area, although I don't imagine folks from out of the area would travel here to attend school in the way others might travel to enroll in the CIA or Johnson and Wales, or equivalent schools.

                                              1. re: Indy 67

                                                Thanks Indy, there are just so many schools out there these days I was just wondering what L'academie was all about.

                                          2. I would guess that Casey had been getting a LOT of flack from people who think she torpedoed Carla's chances and made the cardinal mistake of emailing angry. One email does not an (expletive deleted) make.

                                            1. Wow, Casey, bitter, defensive and guilty much??