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Top Chef Masters Semi-Final 3rd Round (spoilers)

Love the taste test QuickFire! Love it , love it, love it - it's probably my favorite QF they've had. It looks like they had 10 things to taste? Chiarello did very well with 7 then! But Anita didn't get hoisin sauce?

And on to the Elimination Challenge - kinda figure Keller will go with Elia - fluent French and pastry background? Chiarello was TOUGH during his 2 minute questioning! And I see Spike and Dale are being the usual jerks they have been in the past!

If Keller gets Blais and Elia, that seems like a good fit - Blais can easily take direction, as is obvious. (But didn't like hearing him say he "should have won" in his season.)

More later....

ETA - I *love* Fabio - "I'm sweating like a mountain goat at the beach..." LOL Damn, I missed those comments!

And of COURSE their venue has changed, and of COURSE they're now cooking out in the sun, and of COURSE they need to lose one of their sous chefs! Kinda figured Spike and Betty would be out of there. but surprised that Anita let Jamie go. Why? I didn't hear.

Wow - Chef Keller's dishes looked wonderful! Anything with lamb is going to win me over.

They didn't seem to look favorably on Anita's or Michael's dishes. Bayless got a bonus having Blais on his team - Bayless is like a little kid talking about the liquid nitrogen avocado ice cream! LOL

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  1. I think the ex top chef chefs are being little babies. He asked me his last name, wanted me to chop something whaaaa. A lot of disrespect for someone who has done more than most of them pulled together.

    5 Replies
    1. re: chris2269

      Yeah, I do agree with that, but Chiarello is also getting a LOT of camera time - are the Elves hinting that he's going to be the one to go because he's being pretty damn obnoxious?

      1. re: LindaWhit

        Think you might be right - think Bayless and Hubert are gonna be the top two.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Yeah, I'm thinking it's probably Anita Lo who doesn' t make the final cut based on what we saw from JT. Keep in mind that Bayless has just a half star more than Keller from the QF, so it could be very close in whoever wins. But they seemed to heap praise on Keller's entire buffet....we shall see in a moment!

            Ding, ding, ding - congrats to Keller. 5 stars from ALL of the judges (what is with the diners only giving him 3.5 stars?)

            And Anita gets 17 total stars - but Michael pulls it out.

            Interesting - the previews for the finale lead you to believe it's Keller who wins. But we all know what the Elves can do to us (see: above re: lots of camera time for Chiarello as a hint he might be going! LOL)

            Love seeing Colicchio, Padma and Gail there with the other TC winners as judges!

            So we have French, Italian, and Mexican cooking represented. Will be an interesting finale!

            1. re: LindaWhit

              Yeah Hubert. I like Bayless too, but I met Hubert while dinning at Fluer de Lys in Las Vegas, Very nice man.

    2. ok, so i was waiting until it was over to really jump in here...

      - i loved Keller's comment that the best part of the QF was kelly putting on his blindfold :)
      - did Chiarello say he's never heard of umeboshi? really?
      - and Anita misses hoisin? again i have to ask, really?
      - i did like the way they distributed the QF points. totally fair.
      - Fabio – “you can tell Chiarello is Italian the way he makes everyone run around.” funny.
      - the "Bayless meets Blais" comment was cute - as was the way they both seemed to get a kick out of working with each other.
      - interesting how Anita was "reminded" that there were things about Jamie that make having her in the kitchen difficult...
      - of course Fabio's "sweating like a mountain goat at the beach" was priceless. LMAO!! i was waiting for him to say something about monkey ass...
      - and once again, the editors played with our heads a little, making it seems as though Chiarello would be going home...alas, Anita couldn't quite recover from her downward spiral that began last week.

      58 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Ahhh, now I totally missed Anita speaking about Jamie and "difficulties"! Interesting.

        Yeah, I think Blais would have been more than comfortable working with Keller or Bayless. They're both extremely calm in their demeanor - Blais even said Chiarello was running around like a crazy man.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          ditto on the mountain goat quote. probably the best all time quote on top chef ever. that was so freaking hilarious.

          another comment...is it just me or is Chiarello a jerk? In the few episodes he's been in he has come off as an egotistical hot head- not at all like he seems on the Food Network. I dont think I like him anymore.

          1. re: CoconutMilk

            two issues:
            1) much of his FN show is scripted, and, unlike a competitive reality show, is purposely edited to make him look good.
            2) even he made a crack about how his wife would tell him to rein in his hot-headed Italian ego if she was there.

            i'm pretty sure someone commented in last week's thread that he has a reputation for being a hard-ass in the kitchen among people who have worked for him...

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Well, *he* said he was a hard-ass in the kitchen. I thought he was being incredibly rude: Dale wasn't on his team, and he had no right to be bullying him. Then he tried to blame the soggy olive oil cake on one of his sous chefs serving it wrong. And of course, he looks *really* bad next to Keller and Bayliss, who manage to be great chefs and perfect gentlemen. Bayliss has got to be the nicest guy in the world -- the way he worked with his team, the way he praised his team to the judges, and his enthusiasm for trying out the liquid nitrogen.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                I'm missing a crucial chunk of information about this incident before I can figure out who was rude at the outset. As I saw the episode, Chiarello "called" a specific refrigerator. Dale either didn't realize this or simply didn't care and proceeded to load "his" chef's food into "Chiarello's" refrigerator. The EDITORS portrayed the incident as Dale immediately going into a power struggle. Did Dale ever apologize for the mistake? Who knows? Did Chiarello insist Dale remove the food from the refrigerator regardless? Who knows? All we see is the power struggle edited for maximum drama.

                Sorry. I'm totally with Chiarello on the issue of the cake. He was specific about the four pieces that needed to be served to the judges. Chiarello realized the cake was sub-par, and he had worked out a reasonable strategy to cope with his disaster for a limited purpose: judging.

                Put another way, Chiarello's serving only good cake to the judges was a way to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. If the sous chefs don't follow directions, Chiarello is now dealing with snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

                Nevertheless, Chirarello's management style probably only works when he's the one writing the paychecks for his sous chefs.

                1. re: Indy 67

                  Chiarello was an arrogant ass. Who cares if you "called" a fridge. Seriously, Whoopie......use another one. His interview process was pathetic. Sending one Chef off to find a trash bin. Making other run around for ingredients and even going as far as making the Chef's pronounce his name as if he is some culinary God. This might be the way to treat the FNG straight from culinary school for a few laughs in the privacy of your own kitchen but it was a terrible move on TV and no way to treat others that are clearly already Chef's.
                  Dale's behavior was way out of line to say the least but Chiarillo was pushing buttons just as hard as he could. Any one who has spent any time in a professional kitchen as a manager or Chef should under stand that unless your staff respects you and buys into your ideas you are in for a rough ride.
                  No one wanted to work with him and with good reason.
                  Chiarillo gave zero leeway to his Sous-Chefs and admitted that at the JT. You can't dictatate every little move your sous-chef makes and then point fingers when you fail. His cake failed because he (Charillo) F'd up.
                  No more.
                  No less.
                  Can I also say I've grown tired of him putting cheesy inappropriate names on items like Swordfish "Prime rib". LOL
                  YUCK Not a good idea.

                  1. re: Fritter

                    From the previews, I was willing to give Chiarello the benefit of the doubt and place the dramatic blame on Dale, but when Richard Blais, who's as diplomatic as they come, dissed Chiarello in his interview, I knew there was plenty of blame to go around, no matter what edit we saw.

                    1. re: momjamin

                      "but when Richard Blais, who's as diplomatic as they come, dissed Chiarello in his interview, I knew there was plenty of blame to go around, no matter what edit we saw."
                      you make a good point, Chiarello certainly isn't going to make any friends in the kitchen with his approach...but i still believe Dale was being a disrespectful PITA by getting in his face about the fridge incident.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        To be fair, Dale wasn't getting in his face over the fridge, he was getting in his face over the patronizing way he was calling him "young man." Considering that Chiarello made a big deal over all of them knowing exactly how to pronounce his name, I found Chiarello's rudeness particularly ironic.

                      2. re: momjamin

                        I definitely think there was more to the whole Chiarello/Talde thing than what the editors decided to show us. It does seem that everybody who was there was on Dale's side. So Chiarello calls him "young man." While it's not the nicest thing to say, it shouldn't set Dale off to be so in Chiarello's face like that. I'm thinking either Chiarello followed up "young man" with a short joke, or Dale is so insecure with his height that he perceived the "young man" comment to have something to do with his stature. In Season 4, he's made several comments about himself being short, even admitting that he had a Napoleon complex.

                        1. re: Miss Needle

                          I guess I have a slightly different take. First off I was surprised that Richard Blais said anything negative about any of the chefs, especially a TCM. I was really taken aback, maybe he was tired.

                          Also when Spike refused to participate in Chiarello's interview process, Dale and a couple of others were egging/cheering him on. This left me with the feeling that they had gone into this with the intention of being an ass, and not their usual asshattery.

                          1. re: lizzy

                            Or maybe they had been standing around observing the process and not agree with it. There is editing and the sharp contraction of time when we watch it.

                            1. re: Phaedrus

                              Blais is a class act. My sense was that he was just being straight about MC's condescending behavior. Jamie said MC was scary. Alex called him a do*ch*. Spike asked "Do you want to get to know me a little better?". NO. CJ was heckled by his mates for agreeing to participate in the degredation.
                              All the cheftestants were insulted. Rightfully so.
                              Keller and Bayless were on tape recognizing the talent and experience of the cheftestants. MC was not shown doing this, whether he gave them any credit or did not. Could have been edited out.

                              1. re: monavano

                                "Blais is a class act."
                                usually....which is why i was so disappointed to hear him make that crack about how he "should have won" his season. he may very well have meant it in jest, but i personally didn't like the way it came across.

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  I think Blais knew that he took his eye off of the ball-ran out of steam at TC's end. He in as much said so during his TC finale. If he brought his A-game to the finale, perhaps he would have beat Stephanie.
                                  I don't think it was a dig-rather, a recrimination.

                              2. re: Phaedrus

                                Yes I do realize that reality shows are not in fact reality. I also realize that shows are heavily edited to create a desired response. However, deserved or undeserved, I was left with this impression.

                                If they did not agree with the process, that's fine, but to behave that way on camera well let's just say I can't imagine behaving that way myself. My fiance thought Dale just should have told MC that if he had a problem with the fridge to take it up with Dale's Executive Chef. Let me also just add, I don't think MC came out smelling like a rose either.

                            2. re: Miss Needle

                              Ruth and Miss Needle,

                              As I said in another concurrent thread on Top Chef Masters, Chiarello is well-known throughout the food industry as an abusive supervisor, who supervises with humiliation and shame. I know firsthand: I worked for him. I emerged relatively unscathed -- I had good skills and good technique -- but I heard verbally abusive, insulting language directed towards others so many times I'm cringing as I'm writing this.

                              So when Dale gets in Chiarello's face, the argument is not about a refrigerator at all -- it's about Chiarello's sense of entitlement, ego-driven false superiority (calling Dale "young man"), lack of flexibility (my way or the highway), and lack of respect for the sous chefs' abilities, most notably not asking those on his own team for input.

                              I sense that most of Chiarello's abusive behavior of the sous chefs (and not just his own) was edited out, and that what we saw with Dale was the straw that broke the camel's back -- a normal response to a chronic jerk.

                              Chiarello's personality was certainly shown in the Chef interviews of sous chefs, in the sequence in which Chiarello insists everyone know how to pronounce his name, and in his lack of receiving input from his team. I'm convinced all the sous chefs were aware of his abusive treatment of those who work for him, and said "no thanks" to being on his team.

                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                i used to like chiarello's napa style cooking show, but then learned here on chowhound that he was a jerk in real life. someone said to look at his eyes as he is talking to the camera, or others. i did so, and realized they were "cold." it was weird to realize that the eyes are indeed a "window to the soul."

                                now, i look a lot more at peoples' eyes. you'll *see* much more! ;-)).

                                ps, i've worked for people like maestro chiarello. law firms are full of these jerks.

                          2. re: Fritter

                            I believe Keller put some tape on the fridge he was claiming as his, but the remaining chefs simply identified the one each would be using. In fact, I believe that "calling" a station or oven or fridge has been the system the chefs have used throughout the competition. Weeks into the competition, I truly can see why Chiarello was surprised to find that the chef's workable system had been ignored in the new location.

                            Downthread, Linda Whit has provided a link to Chiarello's blog explaining why he used the term "young man." Given what we know of Dale from his season on Top Chef, it's not surprising that he reacted as he did.

                            I'm confused by your comments about Chiarello's failed olive oil cake. We totally agree that the cake was a failure. All I'm saying is that Chiarello gave his sous chefs a strategy for dealing with that failure for the judges only. Unfortunately, they failed to execute. If Chiarello has to own the failure, why can't he also own the coping strategy?

                            1. re: Indy 67

                              Thanks, Indy, for your last paragraph - you couched it in much better terms than I did re: the olive oil cake and ownership of problem / coping mechanism.

                              1. re: Indy 67

                                "All I'm saying is that Chiarello gave his sous chefs a strategy for dealing with that failure for the judges only."

                                What we don't know is if they did or did not follow those orders. MC didn't bother complaining about this until after the JT where he realized he was in deep kim chee so it just came off as whining. He was constantly holding every ones hand telling them exactly what to do. The cake really could have been just THAT bad especially considering the quality of his other food. Were the SC's responsible for that nightmare of a swordfish "prime rib" as well? I don't think it was the cake that sank his ship.
                                Either way if his cake was that under cooked MC should have been the one to cut those four little pieces of cake.
                                Sorry but the bit about "calling" fridges is kiddy stuff. Pick a fridge use it. If it's being used pick another. They are all SxS so it's not like the next fridge is down two flights of stairs.

                                1. re: Fritter

                                  what i don't understand is how the critique of his food was reflected in the score he received fom the judges. 2 judges gave him 4 stars??

                                  1. re: liveloveat34

                                    I have to wonder if the scores didn't in part reflect the judges' sense that he was ready to go another round, whereas Anita appeared tired and even discouraged.

                                    1. re: liveloveat34

                                      I was surprised at how high his scores were but I think it was in the editing to make his dishes seem not as good so there would be some suspense. If everyone received glowing reviews, except Anita's, they couldn't draw out JT. Maybe most of his dishes were good, but they only showed ones that didn't work. It's happened often in the past w/ TC where results were made to look much closer than it was, eg. Richard, Stephanie and Lisa--they made it seem like Lisa did better than Richard when she didn't.

                                      1. re: liveloveat34

                                        I was surprised that none of the judges took into account how disruptive Chiarello was in the kitchen with not only his own sous chefs, but with the staff of other TCM contestants. If that's how he was in this environment, what do you suppose he's like to work for?

                                        1. re: chicgail

                                          The judges don't know what goes on in the kitchen until the episode airs. Unless someone brings it up at the critics' table.

                                          1. re: momjamin

                                            I can't think of a specific instance, but it's been my impression the judges have some knowledge of what went on during the regular TC season.

                                            1. re: chicgail

                                              Really? I think I've read several judges' blogs that say they didn't know until they saw it what was going on. It's been rare that they've had any inkling, and if venom has leaked at JT, they've been taken aback.

                                              1. re: momjamin

                                                Exactly what I recall both Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons saying - they *only* see what they're involved in - JT and any time food is being served to them by the cheftestants, or if they're involved in the QF in some way. All of the stuff that happens when they're out of the room or back at the house where the regular TCers live happens without their knowledge, unless it shows up during judging.

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  I think TCM is different from TC and Tom was in the back kitchen whereas these judges aren't. But, it didn't seem to affect their decision--hence, Spike remained, although he purposely chose proteins that he didn't really want just so the other cheftestants couldn't have them.

                                  2. re: Fritter

                                    Chiarello's interview style didn't bother me in the least. Seems to me if you are going to have to rely on someone to do stuff for you under presure, you want to see how they react. So telling someone to grab a carrot and cut it in whatever dice while they have a conversation with you is, to me a quick way to tell 1} can they pick good produce w/o me supervising? 2} how are their basic skills [remember the shots of the constestant massacuring the butchering of the chicken during that one mise en place?} and 3} how are they under pressure.

                                    As for calling Dale---who is a complete arrogant.....---young man, seems better than "hey you" Of course they the younger chefs should remember his name--he has already made and they are still working their way to the top. Or maybe I'm just used to being in a profession with a clear cut hieracrchy?

                                    1. re: jenn

                                      "" Of course they the younger chefs should remember his name--he has already made and they are still working their way to the top"

                                      Really, besides the fact MC has a media presence why should we know he is? What restaurant has he run that is so great that we need to genuflect at the throne of of Chiarello?

                                      1. re: KTinNYC

                                        they should show the respect of sous chef for chef.

                                        it's how kitchens run

                                        1. re: thew

                                          When he was doing his interview he acted like an egotistical jerk at that point he was no ones chef and no one appeared to want to work for him. When you interview people they are interviewing you as well. All good managers know this. You want people that want to work for you not people that need to work for you.

                                          When Chiarello decided to bark at Dale he wasn't Dale's chef he was acting like an egotistical jerk. I don't know if it was done in post but in the sequence of events Dale and Jamie are loading up a refrigerator and you hear Dale say, "let's lock down this side as ours. Chiarello then asks, "What's going on with the refrigerators here?" Bayless replies, "This is our refrigerator here." Dale says, "This is our fridge here" that's when Chiarello comes out with, "That's where I called my fridge right before that." This is when he speaks to Dale in a condescending manner. I understand that this is not uncommon in kitchens, but let me say this once again, he was not Dale's chef. I guess maybe if Chiarello was a better manager and less of a dick he could have put his name on his refrigerator instead of "calling it."

                                          1. re: KTinNYC

                                            I agree. They very clearly showed the other chefs putting their names on the fridges with masking tape, which presumably is standard procedure for a shared kitchen situation like that. The other chefs treated their assistants as people who had something to contribute. I think it was Bayliss who pointed out that the former cheftestants had a much more strategic approach to claiming the resources they wanted. If Chiarello had treated them like valued team members instead of bossing them around maybe they would have helped him with stuff like staking out a fridge. The problem with micromanaging people the way he did is that they stop wanting to do anything beyond what they're explicitly told to do. In other words, the more you micromanage, the more you have to micromanage.

                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                              Bayliss, "These former top chef contestants are all about strategy."

                                              Keller, "Those young chefs, have a totally different approach then top chef masters. It's like what ever works to knock them out then knock them out, c'mon."

                                              Both Keller and Bayliss had been informed by there sous how the game works. I wonder why no one on team Chiarello did the same for him?

                                              1. re: KTinNYC

                                                I guessing it was because he made it clear he didn't need or want their input.

                                                1. re: KTinNYC

                                                  I took Keller and Bayless that they did not necessarily approve of the young chef's approach to the challenge.

                                                    1. re: KTinNYC

                                                      That's the way I read it as well. The atmosphere at TCM is much more collegial and less competitive that in TC, because there's much less at stake. Sure, they'd all love to win. They have their pride and desire to help their charity. But it isn't a career make-or-break for them the way it is for the regular cheftestants. In addition, the format is different: in TCM, at least in the early rounds, they moved ahead only if they were the best, not if they weren't the worst, so there wasn't nearly as much advantage to trying to make sure someone else does poorly.

                                                      Bayless certainly didn't think there was anything wrong with the suggestion that they try to get first crack at the fish counter, only that he wouldn't have thought of it himself because he hasn't been through challenges where he had to think strategically (except the box challenge, where they apparently all decided to play nice).

                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                        The smiles on both Bayless' and Keller's face tell me they were both amused by their young sous chef's tactics. I was very impressed by Alex's idea of getting to the fish counter first, btw. It makes so much sense when you think of it.

                                                        1. re: KTinNYC

                                                          They also would not have thought of it because they get their fish from their fish purveryors, not from Whole Foods.

                                          2. re: KTinNYC

                                            Funny that when we were shown Chiarello asking the other chefs what his name was, Dale seemed to be the only one that pronounced his last name correctly.

                                            1. re: liveloveat34

                                              I noticed that watching the re-run. That whole "What's my name? Michael. What do you call me? Chef" sequence was really obnoxious -- it was just another example of how he was treating these people as if they were some students from the local culinary school who'd never worked in a professional kitchen before.

                                          3. re: jenn

                                            I have no problems with him wanting to find things out. But he only had two minutes! There is no way he could have gotten a clear picture of all of that in two minutes. He spent 30 seconds just explaining to them what he wanted.

                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                              i agree with Phaedrus - i just kept thinking that it was a really inefficient use of an *extremely* limited window...particularly when you really just end up sending the sous chefs running around the kitchen the entire time searching for the carrots you want them to chop.

                                      2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                        I loved that about Bayless, and also loved similar traits in Keller. At both judges table and in the post decision discussion Keller praised his sous chefs and mentioned how well the team worked together. A gentleman with confidence, as Phaedra also notes.

                                        I have been trying to figure out a place to go to dinner in San Francisco for my anniversary that is special and new (to me). After this show, my first thought was: 'that's it, I am going to book at Fleur de Lys.' Indeed, I think I will book this week, before he wins the whole thing (tough choice between rooting for him and rooting for Bayless, but I put my money on Keller).

                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                          Another way to reflect upon the "refrigerator situation" is to look at how all the TCM chefs have behaved. The only one that has had any semblance of rudeness and overdeveloped ego was Ludo, and that spoke more to his youth than anything else.

                                          In this case, the dynamics between MC and the TC contestants should be one of at least professional courtesy. In looking at the interaction between the other TC Masters, there was a larger degree of respect form the TC contestants towards the Masters mainly because the Masters afforded the TC contestants a measure of regard which would qualify as mutual recognition and regard. The "young man" moniker and the tone in which it was given definitely did not show a mere inkling of regard. I understand MC being annoyed by Dale taking his fridge, but he needed to take it up with Anita. And I am sure he would not have spoken to Anita in that same way.

                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                            Isn't it possible he was chosen and agreed to be the bad guy, as is a requirement in reality shows? At least he's convincing! Anybody see Real Wives Atlanta?

                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                              if there was a real human instead of Dale reacting to MC, there would be no drama in the episode and Bravo would pick a fight somewhere else.

                                              if there was no Dale around to create drama, we would not be talking about MC's behaviour.

                                              1. re: marblebag

                                                I don't care if the MC/Dale refrigerator incident never took place I'd still be talking about the "What's my name?", What do you call me?", and "How do you pronounce my name?" idiocy.

                                          2. re: CoconutMilk

                                            Ummm...It's funny, but I don't get the goat joke. Is it a mountain vs beach thing? My uncle has goats.....

                                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                                              He confused idioms, probably because he is not a native of the US. Perhaps he was trying to say "sweating like a pig". It was funny/cute.

                                              1. re: monavano

                                                I don't think so. Aren't mountain goats a lot hairier than domestic goats? I think it was "sweating like a goat that's adapted to living in the cool mountains who finds itself on a hot sunny beach."

                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                  i interpreted it the same way Ruth did. in fact, i immediately got a mental picture of a very woolly goat standing on a sunny beach drenched in sweat, complaining about wanting to take off its coat.

                                                  don't ask. i have a vivid and bizarre imagination ;)

                                          3. I, too, love the taste test QF...I was shocked at what the chefs got wrong, though. Peanut butter? Really, Anita, I'm disappointed...or is Thai not considered to be part of Asian cuisine?
                                            I was thrilled to see Fabio again...he may well be my all-time favorite contestant.

                                            Anita made a comment basically saying she forgot how detail-oriented and slow Jamie could be...I think that's why she got the ax.

                                            Just saw the preview for next week...looks like they're bringing back the past winners as judges. I'm super-excited.

                                            BTW, was anyone else a little grossed-out by how yellow and dingy some of the previous cheftestants' jackets looked?

                                            31 Replies
                                            1. re: theferlyone

                                              Thanks for the clarification on Anita's comment re: Jamie. Makes sense why she got axed. And Bayless saying he was going to have Betty "make their table look pretty" - kinda pretty much says what he thought of her. ;-)

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                Anita axed Jamie for being slow. She was supposed to shuck the oysters and do something else but she never finished it. Dale was over the top...no need to say "what you gonna do about it"? You gonna have a throw down Dale? I think Dale is a good chef but boy was that unnecessary.

                                              2. re: theferlyone

                                                "Peanut butter? Really, Anita, I'm disappointed...or is Thai not considered to be part of Asian cuisine? "
                                                i gave her a pass on that one. judging from her comment about how her strategy to taste a big mouthful of each ingredient was backfiring, i figured the hoisin had coated her mouth and altered the flavor of the PB.

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  I guess I was just taken aback because it seemed like such a simple ingredient by comparison, and one I would assume she'd be familiar with. That, and peanut butter by the spoonful makes a delicious snack...tahini does not. :)

                                                  1. re: theferlyone

                                                    And THAT is what surprised me as well. Unless it was a full-on natural peanut butter, there's no way I'd mistake it for tahini. Tahini has a very flat taste, whereas most peanut butter is much fuller in the mouth. At least I'd like to think I wouldn't mistake the two! LOL

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      actually, now that you mention it, the PB looked relatively runny & loose, like natural PB. it was much more viscous than i recall Skippy, Jif, et al being.

                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                        OK, that's what I thought as well....it definitely seemed more runny than I might get out of a Skippy or Jif jar. So perhaps the texture and the slight graininess caused Anita to think tahini.

                                                    2. re: theferlyone

                                                      "peanut butter by the spoonful makes a delicious snack...tahini does not. :)"
                                                      it does if you drizzle on a little agave nectar (or honey). i blame fellow Cher amyzan for teaching me that last week in another thread. i'm hooked!

                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                        Great...that's just what I needed, one more thing to eat by the spoonful... :)

                                                  2. re: theferlyone

                                                    "Peanut butter? Really, Anita, I'm disappointed...or is Thai not considered to be part of Asian cuisine? "

                                                    A Chinese chef is expected to know ingredients from all of Asia? I don't really think so. There are scores of countries in Asia and 100's of cuisines. Should a French chef know all about Icelandic cooking?

                                                    1. re: KTinNYC

                                                      She should have known the hoisin sauce. That is very Chinese.

                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                        I'm Chinese, grew up with my mom cooking Chinese food every night. She never used Hoisin sauce. It's certainly a Chinese ingredient, no doubt about it but that isn't my problem with theferlone's post. I'm just saying that Asia is a pretty big place and Asian cuisine is pretty expansive. No one talks about European Cuisine on these boards but somehow Asia is always lumped together.

                                                        1. re: KTinNYC

                                                          i am Chinese too, and my mom cooked Chinese every night too. I don't have hoisin sauce all the time, but I certainly know what it tastes like. Now, switch me to a Vietnamese or Thai condiment, I would have a problem.

                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                            The funny thing is the only time I have Hoisin is when I use it as a dipping sauce...when eating Pho!

                                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                                              Best usage for me: saucing the scallions and Peking duck skin in the pancakes. The most ironic thing is that it is supposed to a seafood sauce, but I rarely use it that way.

                                                              1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                I've only seen hoisin sauce as a condiment to pho at restaurants! We never eat that "ketchup" at home or at my parents' friends when they cook it.

                                                          2. re: Phaedrus

                                                            blindfolded and under pressure isn't the same as sitting at a table having a taste.
                                                            she said she knew what it was, but coudn't get the name in her head.

                                                            we've all had such experiences, i'm sure.

                                                            1. re: thew

                                                              I am certain everyone, regardless of palate, would be surprised at how many familiar ingredients they'd miss in that situation -- especially things in liquid/gel/paste form.

                                                          3. re: KTinNYC

                                                            Well, she isn't really just a chef who does Chinese food. In fact, at Rickshaw Dumpling she's got a chicken and Thai basil dumpling served with peanut sauce. But I wasn't surprised that Anita got peanut butter wrong because of her Asian heritage. She's American (born in Michigan; second generation). Unless you're allergic, I will bet that you've eaten a PB&J sandwich at some point. I agree with GHG that she probably got PB wrong because her mouth was still coated with hoisin. But I'm still a bit surprised that she got hoisin wrong. Maybe it is a lot more difficult than it looks.

                                                            I do have to say that I think the master chefs got easier ingredients than the chefs from Season 1. Nobody was subjected to umeboshi plums or natto or durian.

                                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                                              Harold Dieterle said the same thing re: the difficulty between the taste tests for his season vs. what everyone else (and the Masters) got.

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                Oh he did? I didn't recall that.

                                                                I do think the Masters had it a bit easier than the regular TC contestants. In addition to the lack of sleep and booze, TC contestants often had to deal with a smaller budget -- ie. Supermarket Aisle Challenge: Regular TC contestants had $10; Masters had $20. Huge difference.

                                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                  I think it's an unspoken -- or perhaps even explicit -- deal they have with the Masters that they won't make them look bad. Thus, the challenges are modified so as not to make them too tough.

                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                    You're probably right. I'm sure they will probably want to have a Top Chef Masters Season 2 (well, if the numbers are good). I can imagine how difficult it would be for them to recruit master contestants if the chefs from Season 1 were made to look bad.

                                                                  2. re: Miss Needle

                                                                    Harold said it in his blog about the last two episodes.

                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                      I see. I haven't checked his blog yet.

                                                                    2. re: Miss Needle

                                                                      Possibly they make the regular Top Chef challenges more challenging because they have more at stake. These masters are established in their careers and doing this show for fun and charity; I can't imagine they'd be all that interested in the cut throat, crazy regular season stuff.

                                                                      1. re: Foodie in Friedberg

                                                                        Its like being in the military. There is a reason they like the 18 year olds, because 18 year olds don't ask questions and are more easily intimidated. If they put the TCM bunch under the same pressure as they'd put the TC contestants, the TCM contestants will just go bye-bye.

                                                                  3. re: Miss Needle

                                                                    "I do have to say that I think the master chefs got easier ingredients than the chefs from Season 1. Nobody was subjected to umeboshi plums or natto or durian."
                                                                    they didn't have anything quite as "pungent" as those you mentioned, but the ingredients as a whole weren't necessarily "easier." i don't think anyone got chervil, and poppadom is a tricky one too.

                                                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                      However, the easiest taste test was season 3, when they did it spelling bee style -- you might get bell pepper, or fish sauce.

                                                                  4. re: theferlyone

                                                                    i don't think you should assume a chinese chef knows anything about Thai food. It's a different country with completely different culture and food. Asia is big.

                                                                    1. re: theferlyone

                                                                      I liked the taste test too. Given I assume they are way better than me, I assume ;part of the problem could be that hoisin seems to vary a lot from brand to brand. Maybe she's used to the good stuff, and this wasn't. I'm guessing Anita specializes in Thai given a comment I read here. I don't think of Hoisin as Thai, even though both are Asian.

                                                                    2. i just had a funny though...can you *imagine* the clash of egos if Stefan Richter from last season had been one of Chiarello's sous chefs??

                                                                      also, i had forgotten how much i like Malarkey: "Chiarello is the chef and it's his ass on the line. i'll do whatever he wants, because that's what a good sous chef does." he has a good attitude.

                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                        Most of the past top Chefers have done nothing but opened burger joints (yes a few exeptions ) I do not think Chiarello was rude at all,a little hard assed maybe, it's his butt on the line not some pst contestants. I think a lot of them came in with a chip on thier shoulder like they were equals - which they are not.

                                                                        1. re: chris2269

                                                                          I agree. I had no problem with Chiarello's approach. It was different from the others, but he is a "master chef" and his butt was on the line. And we've seen plenty of times in the past TC seasons where a chef in the role of "leader" has gotten walked all over by his/her sous chefs (and lost b/c of it).

                                                                          I'd be curious to see how the former cheftestants woulda dealt with Gordon Ramsay had he been on the show :-)

                                                                          1. re: papa

                                                                            Yes agree . Yeh Gordon would of been awsome, most only know him from the American version of Hells Kitchen if you watch the BBC version of Hells Kitchen or Kitchen Nightmares It shows his passion and brilliance. The most effective people in my life have been the ones who pushed me. and at the time I thought they sucked, but in retrosect they were right. For the record I am a litle "under the influence" so I appolagize for any spelling ....LOL

                                                                            1. re: chris2269

                                                                              Also if you can find it "cough torrent cough" watch boiling point the BBC documentry about Gordon Ramsey trying for his first Michellan Star and Beyond Boiling Point about his quest for his second or third, can't remember. Again much different perspective than what I think those who have only seen the American version of Hell's Kitchen. Back to top chef masters I do not think Chiarello's approach was out of line ...please what has Dale done really.

                                                                          2. re: chris2269

                                                                            I was a little surprised that a couple of the sous chefs seemed insulted that Chiarello asked them to find and dice carrots to various specifications as part of the "interview." It made total sense to me that he'd want to be sure his team had the line cook skills to execute properly and quickly in a timed competition. With, as you state, his butt on the line.

                                                                            The importance of that became clear a few minutes later, when Anita Lo complained about how slowly Jamie was shucking the oysters.

                                                                            1. re: Old Spice

                                                                              Yeah, Spike turning him down and just saying "Hey, I've *got* the line skills, man" was just rude. Seriously, "man" - get OVER yourself. (I really detest Spike.)

                                                                              1. re: Old Spice

                                                                                The thing is, he had two minutes to interview each one. Unless he made everyone do the same thing, he would still have incomplete information.

                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                  Perhaps he wanted to see how well they followed directions? That seemed to be the case with Spike when he attempted to interview him, and Spike dissed him.

                                                                                2. re: Old Spice

                                                                                  So if you have knife skills you can shuck oysters? That's a bit of a stretch and I think it's more than fair to believe that all of the former TC's can cut brunoise out of a carrot. That's very basic cooking. This is a test I would give a line cook not a Sous Chef.

                                                                                  1. re: Fritter

                                                                                    "I think it's more than fair to believe that all of the former TC's can cut brunoise out of a carrot. "
                                                                                    assuming they sharpened their knives first, of course. remember Casey & the onions? ;)

                                                                            2. I couldn't find this and am just curious, how old is Keller?

                                                                              1. I was glad that Keller and Bayless made the top two. I think they showed a lot of class in listening to their apprentices. Michael C. really annoys me. I was surprised that his score was so high considering that the judges didn't seem to like his food at all. And some of the former top chefs were pretty arrogant considering that they have the opportunity to impress these master chefs. Would any chef watching tonight's show want to hire Dale? I wouldn't.

                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                1. re: toonie

                                                                                  "Would any chef watching tonight's show want to hire Dale? "

                                                                                  NO! and we could add a few others to the list like Spike.
                                                                                  OTOH some of them really looked like they have grown a lot since their respective seasons.

                                                                                  1. re: Fritter

                                                                                    Ilan seemed to just keep his mouth shut. And you know it's a bad day (talkin' to you, Spike) when Betty and Ilan are chosen before you in the dodge-ball team-picking lineup.

                                                                                    On another note -- curious that Ilan was in this episode, when it looks like all the winners are back next week. Maybe he's got more time on his hands than some of the others?

                                                                                    1. re: momjamin

                                                                                      Depends on when this was taped....he's supposedly opening that restaurant named Gorbals in L.A. in August, I thought. Have to say I was pleased we didn't hear anything from Ilan. Maybe he has more of a "speaking role" <g> next week.

                                                                                  2. re: toonie

                                                                                    Would any chef want to hire Dale or Spike?

                                                                                    At the same time who would want to work for Chiarello?

                                                                                    It's a pretty public forum for making a pompous ass of ones self.

                                                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                                                      What the tv audience doesn't realize is that Chiarello's behaviour is par for course in professional kitchens. Plenty of professional chefs maintain a military like regiment in the kitchen, it's a world very much removed from working in offices. One that you won't understand unless you've worked in a kitchen.

                                                                                      Does that mean there aren't exceptions like Bayless or Keller, of course not. It's just that more often than not you'll find Chiarello's approach to be the rule.

                                                                                      Being referred to as "chef" isn't a power trip, they earned the title. It is a form of respect, pretty standardized at that.

                                                                                      Personally, I would hire Dale, he can deliver the goods, even if a bit hot tempered. Spike on the other hand, he's hilarious, but I wouldn't want to hire him.

                                                                                      1. re: aser

                                                                                        Chiarello acted like a douche bag not like a chef when he asked everyone what his name was and how to pronounce it. He is hardly a household name so why the hell would he expect anyone know how to pronounce his name properly. Great the guy is on TV but come on, get a hold of your ego.

                                                                                  3. Was it 10 items in the QuickFire? It wasn't clear to me that it was 10, and I thought I heard them say that it was 20 in the original TC version of that challenge. I'm wondering if there might have been some creative editing done to shield the Masters from embarrassment.

                                                                                    15 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Chimayo Joe

                                                                                      Good point - they never did say how many items were being taste-tested. If it was 20, getting 7, 6 and 5 would be a tad embarrassing. But I think the TC cheftestants have only had about 12 in the past...I don't recall 20.

                                                                                      OK - Episode 5 in TC4, they tried 15 - BUT it was a quality test - they'd taste 2 of the same thing and had to figure out which was the better quality. Antonia won with 11/15 correct.

                                                                                      1. re: Chimayo Joe

                                                                                        It was definitely 20 ingredients. Shocking how few they got right!

                                                                                        1. re: sibeats

                                                                                          How do you know "definitely 20 ingredients"? Has it been mentioned in a blog?

                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            Pretty sure they said on the show that it was 20 ingredients.

                                                                                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                              Interesting. Will have to rewatch next week.

                                                                                              I'd like to try a taste-test like that to see how I do. Hmmm....a dinner club with a group of friends is coming up - maybe I can convince them all to try it!

                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                you know, i'd like to think i have a very good palate - i've had several sommeliers (and a chocolatier) mistake me for one of their colleagues :) so every time i see something like this on TC or HK, i'm always shocked at how many simple ingredients they miss, and convinced i could do it better. but after seeing how many ingredients even these masters missed, i'm not so sure anymore! i'd love to do it for kicks, though.

                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                  Exactly. Many have commented that the visual is important in conjunction with the taste, and when you take away the visual, it makes it much harder to discern what the actual taste is supposed to be. I would like to try this as well, just to see how embarrassing it would be! LOL

                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                    IIRC, Keller made that exact point (importance of sense of sight) last night, before the taste challenge.

                                                                                                1. re: dmjordan

                                                                                                  i heard 20 too - and was shocked when michael said "i can't believe how well i did" because 7 out of 20 didn't seem very well to me. i thought they all did dreadfully! surprising!

                                                                                                  and i still love rick and hubert. thought michael was an ass in this episode.

                                                                                                  1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                    Arrgggh. I've got to clean out my ears then. Never heard the 20. :-)

                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                  It was said at the beginning of the show.

                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                    It's 20 according to Kelly's blog.

                                                                                                    1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                      Yup - I got it, it got it. Kelly blog wasn't up last night or earlier this morning.

                                                                                                      ETA: It also looks like, from Kelly's blog, that the taste-test QF was a TIMED QF.....so they very well may not have tasted all 20 ingredients, although she does mention "the highest score out of 20 ingredients was 7." But no indication that all TCMs tasted all 20 ingredients in the cups.

                                                                                              2. I missed what Fabio said about being chosen for Chiarello's Team. He seemed a bit disappointed...whose team did he want to be on?

                                                                                                Chiarello didn't seem like that much of an @ss to me. However, I come from a long line of bossy Italians...sounded like home. =)

                                                                                                Also...how funny was Jay? He just cracks me up! Any word on whether or not we are going to see him in Top Chef - Vegas?

                                                                                                14 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Mushroom

                                                                                                  "whose team did he want to be on?"

                                                                                                  Hubert Keller

                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                      really? i thought blais wanted bayless. interesting.

                                                                                                      1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                        I could have sworn Blais said he knew nothing about French cooking but would love to learn, but now that I think about it, it probably was Bayless and Mexican cooking. Either way - they "fit well" together. Bayless's joy at learning something new was fun to see.

                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                          in next week's preview, Ilan says Keller's dishes make him want to learn more about French cooking. maybe that's what you're thinking of...?

                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                It was indeed Harold who said that. Because of that comment, my bet is on Bayless to win. Chiarello hasn't been portrayed too favorably in this episode. And I think Harold's comment was meant to mislead. Am I overthinking this? Probably.

                                                                                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                  No, you're not overthinking. This is exactly the conclusion that the editors
                                                                                                                  want to convey. And I agree with you that Bayless will most likely win.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                    a-ha, i had my back turned to the TV. apologies to Harold for misidentifying him as Ilan...he deserves better than that ;)

                                                                                                                    and no, you're not over-thinking it. the elves may very well be trying to mislead us with that clip.

                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                            Blais told Bayless that he wanted to work for him

                                                                                                            1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                              that is my recollection as well, that it was Mexican cuisine he knew nothing about, but that he wanted to learn.

                                                                                                              1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                Yes, and I thought it spoke volumes about Blais. I would love to try his food one day. I heard he's trying to bring Flip to NYC (where I live). Hopefully that will happen.

                                                                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                              I think it's probably fair to say that most wanted to work with Hubert Keller or Rick Bayless. I know they would have been my pick.
                                                                                                              I also think either of them would have been very pleased to have Richard on their team. I know I'd hire Richard in a heart beat and be thrilled about working with him. I think he brings a lot of fresh ideas to the table.

                                                                                                        2. Interesting question/answer with Dale Talde on Bravo's blogs:


                                                                                                          "Looking back, I can not see myself handling it in a different way. When confronted by this “Master” chef, I took his comments and tone to be insulting. Had this situation taken place with, for example Joel Robuchon, Charlie Trotter, Thomas Keller, Alain Ducasse, I know I would react differently, as I have had nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for these great chefs. "

                                                                                                          So he's saying flat out he has no respect for Michael Chiarello. Interesting comments in response to Dale's Q&A as well...essentially putting the blame on Dale.

                                                                                                          And Michael Chiarello's Q&A re: Dale (but doesn't say a lot).


                                                                                                          So Dale still has that enormous boulder on his shoulder.

                                                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                            <"Looking back, I can not see myself handling it in a different way. When confronted by this “Master” chef, I took his comments and tone to be insulting. Had this situation taken place with, for example Joel Robuchon, Charlie Trotter, Thomas Keller, Alain Ducasse, I know I would react differently, as I have had nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for these great chefs. ">

                                                                                                            My guess is if he ever had a chance to work with one of those chefs he named before he blew it with that comment. Not only did he diss Chiarello big time, he did it on camera. I don't know too many chefs who would take a chance on that kind of attitude.

                                                                                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                              Yes, this is what I thought when just seeing the promos last week. I don't understand why he would act that way, not only on camera, but also in front of Keller, Bayless and Lo. My fiance and I joked last night that when Dale kept repeating "What are you going to do?" Chiarello should have turned around and said, "Make sure you never work again."

                                                                                                              1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                "Chiarello should have turned around and said, "Make sure you never work again.""
                                                                                                                now THAT would have been priceless.

                                                                                                                1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                  mmm, I don't think he had to say it. Dale did it to himself. All those other people were watching Dale's act. And whatever you think of Chiarello, it was clear by how they have treated each other all along that the three of them as professionals would never tolarate someone like that in their kitchen.

                                                                                                                2. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                  it's a really douche-y behaviour when Dale pre-judges a chef and then choose the way he reacts to him based on his little universe's scale.

                                                                                                                  Is the only way for him to behave like a human to just get muzzled at work ?

                                                                                                                  1. re: marblebag

                                                                                                                    I don't believe he pre-judged him.

                                                                                                                    But both parties were at fault. Dale reacted. But Chiarello does treat people horribly, and I'm sure Dale had been full-witness to that before the blowup.

                                                                                                                3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                  Let's not also forget that Dale almost sabotaged Stephanie in P.R. when he left the pork belly under the counter. Aside from his on-camera temper, his attitude will most likely keep him jumping from job to job over his career. I seem to recall he was eliminated in the episode when Bourdain was taking Tom's place at JT. I know Tony is always big on the head chef assuming responsibility, yet Tom thought Lisa should have been sent home. Oh well...

                                                                                                                  I thought the past contestants also were a bit excessive regarding Chiarello. Half of it is probably encouraged by the producers (this is TV after all) and the other half is sour grapes.

                                                                                                                  Haven't we seen enough of Spike already? Did anybody see the episode from last week when Bayless was as diplomatic as possible regarding Spike?

                                                                                                                  Also, I thought Chiarello's comment about Dale was priceless, yet I can only imagine what Gordon R. would have said to him. Sort of reminds me of the SNL skit with Sinatra's comment to Billy Idol (played by Sting).

                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                    another gem from Dale's blog:

                                                                                                                    "Do I think how I reacted was appropriate? No, but inappropriate is part of the chef's life. That’s who we are — a degenerate, compulsive, irrational, egotistical and passionate breed that knows how to cook."

                                                                                                                    oh yeah, real classy.

                                                                                                                    he's an idiot.

                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                      I guess we couldn't expect anything more from the crotch-grabber. He's always been classy!

                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                        you should read bourdain's kitchen confidential....then dale might not seem all that unusual for people who work in the industry

                                                                                                                        1. re: peppermonkey

                                                                                                                          i've read it.

                                                                                                                          i didn't say he's unusual...just an ass. whether or not that is the "standard" for behavior in the industry (and having worked in restaurants myself i don't feel that it necessarily is), making that type of blanket statement about one's colleagues and using it as a way to excuse/justify one's childish behavior is in poor taste, not to mention cowardly. if you're going to act like a putz, own it. don't try to write it off as "par for the course," because it isn't.

                                                                                                                    2. Organization and self confidence.

                                                                                                                      That was the difference. The first thing that struck me was the different approaches each chef took to pick their assistants and what they did with them. Keller and Bayless, after the initial chaos of trying to figure out what information they needed to choose their assistants, kind of just said: "it is what it is" and they moved on. The way both of them are confident enough to let their helpers help and then step in where the assistants were flailing spoke volumes. I think that speaks volumes about the kind of people they are and about their self-confidence as chefs, and about how comfortable they are being where they are.

                                                                                                                      Chiarello and Anita took different paths but ended up in the same boat. Chiarello seemed threatened with all these TC contestants, not that he had any reason to be. His process of selecting assistant was more about himself and how he has a chip on his shoulders. The regime he put them through was incomplete, ineffective, and inefficient. He was not able to put them all under the same situations and watch them work in the 2 minutes alloted. He was never comfortable enough with them to just give them instructions and let them go do their thing. And he was not self confident enough of his leadership ability to understand that he would need to fix things anyways, no matter how much instructions he gave the assistants. I also think he was lacking in the instruction department. Worst of all, he did not take responsibility for the perceived failures. But, its not like we haven't seen that on TC before.

                                                                                                                      Bayless and Keller knew that maybe the assistants probably couldn't do all that they wanted and they they could do better themselves, but they also knew that for the team to be effective, they had to rely on the assistants, and happy assistants are productive assistants. They also know that in a pinch, they have the ability to correct things.

                                                                                                                      Anita's lack of self confidence manifested itself in not being able to roll with the punches and improvise. She was also very inwardly focused with the menu decision and her assistants. She said that she recalled Jamie's pickiness and slowness but she didn't do anything about it to help the situation.

                                                                                                                      i think the episode was very revealing about who these chefs are: Keller and Bayless are what you see and they are supremely confident in their abilities as chef s and as leaders. Chiarello and Lo are probably supremely confident in their culinary skills and vision, not as much in their leadership ability, and it manifests itwself through their personalities,one was outwardly focused, coming off as loud, obnoxious and a bully , the other as inwardly and withdrawn, coming off as weak and indecisive.

                                                                                                                      I would have liked to have seen an interview with all the TC contestants who werte involved with this show, see a little more of an analysis of their experience. Did anyone else notice that the assistants were given plenty of chances to talk about the work experience and the selection process but none of them were shown discussing the post-mortem and the concept of the buffet? Interesting.

                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                        Great summarization, Phaedrus! I also wish we had been able to see a post-mortem with the TC sous-cheftestants - their insight into how things ran in the Masters' kitchens would be telling.

                                                                                                                        I do have to say that I appreciate Malarkey! more for saying what he said: "I'm here as sous chef - to do whatever he tells me to do." Good for him.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                          Anita seemed to suffer from that same competition fatigue that struck Radhika last season.
                                                                                                                          I will be disappointed if MC wins this, Hubert and Rick have been consistently on top from the beginning.
                                                                                                                          I had enough of Fabio last season but I'm glad you all enjoyed his presence.
                                                                                                                          I too was stunned that Anita couldn't identify hoisin and peanut butter. I'm going to have to try a blind taste test. Maybe it's harder than it seems.
                                                                                                                          As much as I like Blais I was disappointed with the "I should have won" comment. In my opinion the best chef won that season. He may have more tricks up his sleeve but based on what I've seen, I would rather eat Stephanie's cooking.

                                                                                                                          1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                            I think he is still kicking himself over the fact that he choked. I don't think he was saying that he should have won because he was wronged, but that he should won if he had not figuratively crawled into a fetal position and let it all happen to him.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                              Agree that he wasn't presenting himself as being wronged. My point is that even if he had his A game going he might have lost. It wasn't in the bag for him, Stephanie won because she was a worthy winner not because Blais choked.

                                                                                                                              1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                Well, after you mess up, you do a : shoulda, coulda, woulda. Which is what I think he is still going through. I don't think he was being disrespectful of Stephanie either. I think he is still beating himself up. And I agree, the outcome wasn't a sure thing if he had his A game.

                                                                                                                            2. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                              I think he was saying "I should have won " meaning he did not perform his best, not he was robbed of the win. I think if he cooked to his potential he would of taken the season, not taking anything away from Stephanie.

                                                                                                                          2. I think Anita was probably glad to go home.

                                                                                                                            She looked like she was very disenchanted by the "game" last week and even more so this week.

                                                                                                                            1. Great episode (and comments from scrolling around a bit on this thread!). A few comments:

                                                                                                                              - Fabio: LOVE.
                                                                                                                              - Anyone else surprised Jamie didn't do JUST scallops? hee.

                                                                                                                              - Just based on looks, does ANYONE else think that:

                                                                                                                              Hubert Keller = George Carlin

                                                                                                                              Rick Bayless = Ned Flanders (Simpsons)

                                                                                                                              Or is it just my friends and I??

                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: gyozagirl

                                                                                                                                Carlin is a stretch, but Flanders? Dead on!

                                                                                                                                1. re: gyozagirl

                                                                                                                                  I don't know, I can see Keller as Carlin when his hair is back in a ponytail. Bayless as Flanders, however, is spot on!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: gyozagirl

                                                                                                                                    Carlin, Keller -- not such a stretch.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                      Haha, thanks for posting the photos- there's almost a yin/yang sense of the 2 photos that you chose :-)

                                                                                                                                  2. And then there's Chiarello's decision to spend more of the "interview" time asking each one "What's my name?".

                                                                                                                                    Did it really matter if they knew that it's pronounced "kee"? And when you ask for your name, they tell you "Michael" or "Chiarello" and only then do you say "What's my name in the kitchen?", just what are you setting them up for?

                                                                                                                                    Perhaps part of Michael's problem in this episode was that most of these former contestants really weren't familiar with him, and that may have bruised his ego.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: cmvan

                                                                                                                                      Okay, I just read Chiarello's Q&A on the Bravo site and here's what he says about the name thing:

                                                                                                                                      "Bravotv.com: Why did you ask the chefs if they knew who you were? How to pronounce your name?"
                                                                                                                                      "If you really want to work with someone you would know those two interviewing basics. If they knew who I was I felt they had a better chance of knowing my style of cooking … which would be a huge benefit."

                                                                                                                                      But was that the way to do that with just 2 minutes per person?

                                                                                                                                    2. I was dissappointed in Michael Chiarello, to say the least. Not just in his formulaic buffet and its execution, but in his borish behavior. OK, so we don't exactly know what went down between him and Dale. Needless to say "calling" something is something I stopped doing ever since the days of recess on the playgroung. It's immature, and hey, so what? Roll with the punches and use another fridge. Problem solved.
                                                                                                                                      Chiarello calling Dale "young man" was a passive aggressive poke meant to convey his being irked and his perceived superiority. In other words, Dale's a minion-and Dale did not let that one slide by.
                                                                                                                                      Now, bowing up like a rabid chipmunk wasn't exactly professional behavior. I mean, really, did he expect to throw it down in the kitchen? With Chiarello? Neither one of them was worth the trouble, and at least, at least, Chiarello saw the fruitlessness of the whole testosterone-driven debacle, and let Dale look like da man.
                                                                                                                                      Insomuch as I enjoy Chiarello's cooking, and his show-his management style is among the very worst. He operates on Theory X-the minions can't think for themselves and are just little worker bees. He wanted no input, no lip, no feedback-just do as I say.
                                                                                                                                      Just because his sous chefs are younger and less experienced, it doesn't mean they have little or nothing to offer. C'mon-cutting carrots? I would expect him to ask *me* to show some semblance of knife skills, but professional chefs with years of experience between them? No. Trust them, and they will make you shine.
                                                                                                                                      How about instead of all the chest-puffing, what's my name-Michael? Chiarello? How about Chef???? What if he asked about their experience, their inspirations and their culinary point of view?
                                                                                                                                      Keller's ladies made him shine, Bayless's Blais offered a brilliant twist on on of the Chef's favorites (avocado ice cream).
                                                                                                                                      TCM is so wonderful to watch because of chefs like Keller and Bayless. They are brilliant yet humble, always eager to never stop learning, and they respect those who support them and make them look so good.
                                                                                                                                      No man is an island.


                                                                                                                                      25 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: vinhotinto75

                                                                                                                                          will edit-I just re-watched it. It was Bayless who let Betty go because he wanted to concentrate on the flavors. She was supposed to make the tables look good. Still-ouch.
                                                                                                                                          Huber got rid of Spike.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                            Hubert Keller also had a funny aside interview in being "stuck" with Spike. So these Masters definitely knew who was good and who wasn't.

                                                                                                                                            Anyone remember who Ilan worked with? I don't even recall him being picked, but he obviously was. Was he on Chiarello's or Lo's team?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                              I caught that "stuck" comment, too! But, I did root for Spike when he refused to chop carrots for MC.
                                                                                                                                              ps...I also thought Anita turned on Jamie rather quickly...."ah, yes, now I remember..she's too detailed oriented and slow". Or something like that.
                                                                                                                                              Another ouch, albeit a delicious one.
                                                                                                                                              No wonder I'm glued to this show!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                I'm pretty sure Ilan was on Anita's team, I have a vague recollection of him at the table next to Dale when they had 30 mins to plan the menu

                                                                                                                                                1. re: gyozagirl

                                                                                                                                                  Thanks, gyozagirl. How very strange that Ilan doesn't "stick out" to many of us, when he was a touchpoint of contention during his season! LOL

                                                                                                                                            2. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                              "Chiarello calling Dale "young man" was a passive aggressive poke meant to convey his being irked and his perceived superiority. In other words, Dale's a minion-and Dale did not let that one slide by."
                                                                                                                                              Chiarello said in the Q&A blog that he didn't know Dale's name - which is why he was called young man. Dale perceived it as a slight. Calling him "young man" is certainly better than pointing and saying "hey you!"

                                                                                                                                              To Chiarello's credit, he did say at JT (in reference to Bayless and Keller) that they were "better men" (or something like that) in that they allowed their sous to run with one of the items on their buffet tables. So he was recognizing the difference in people management styles and, perhaps, saying publicly that he knew he didn't manage his sous chefs well.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                You never know what people are going to perceive as a slight. I'd have just plain said "I'm sorry, I forgot your name-what is it?" "Dale". OK. It shows respect that you take a moment of time and effort to recognize someone as an individual.
                                                                                                                                                It's like calling a bartender "Chief" or something. Someone is going to take it the wrong way. I'll go and read the Q&A.
                                                                                                                                                Thanks for the link!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                  "Calling him "young man" is certainly better than pointing and saying "hey you!""

                                                                                                                                                  MC's remark and intonation was clearly condescending. Make no mistake about it he was talking down to Dale and letting him know that in his eyes he was just a pup. Lets not forget his off hand remark about eating three Dales before B'fast.
                                                                                                                                                  MC could just as easily have addressed Dale as Chef but he didn't really need to "call" him any thing to have a productive conversation.
                                                                                                                                                  By judges table I think MC realized how poorly he might come off looking not to mention his food did not turn out well.
                                                                                                                                                  For me his star really sank when he was setting with the other Master Chefs after JT and started whining about how they didn't cut the cake exactly as he had told them. If the cake had been properly cooked that would not have been an issue. Not to mention that was a mild issue compared to carving a roasted swordfish loin on a buffet.
                                                                                                                                                  Still there was no excuse for Dales out burst and I'd say Dale's career dissipation light was flashing pretty bright on that episode.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Fritter

                                                                                                                                                    I guess I can see it both ways (re: Chiarello's comment). As for the cake - I thikn he said it needed 15-20 minutes additional in the oven. However, keep in mind that they had to pack up and MOVE their entire kitchen to the new venue. Perhaps that was part of the time that he had slotted for the cake to be baking.

                                                                                                                                                    Regardless, he gave his sous direction to give the judges cake from the well-baked corners...and they didn't. As an EC, he should expect that they do as asked. So yes - the cake wasn't baked fully, but the sous chef cutting/serving the cake also didn't do as he had asked.

                                                                                                                                                    Again, goes both ways.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                      Jeez -- how long would it have taken to cut four pieces himself, if it was that important?

                                                                                                                                                      I think the reason the sous chefs didn't have as much respect for him as for the others was that he's mostly known for cooking on TV, and not for running a restaurant. The reviews of his new place in Yountville have been fair-to-poor, and a well-respected regular on the SF board commented that she can't stand Chiarello, "but maybe that's because I actually know him."

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                        Ruth - you know as well as I do we have no idea what else is going on - we see what the editors want us to see.

                                                                                                                                                        Chiarello said in his Q&A that he was making risotto to order at the buffet station - so perhaps when he lost Malarkey!, he chose to do the risotto himself....thereby being unable to cut the cake when the judges walked up.

                                                                                                                                                        Again - without access to all of the taped footage, we don't know. But it's been said here before - as a sous chef, you are to do what the EC asks of you...and he didn't get that.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                          Yeah, but he whined about it to the other chefs in the "stew room" and didn't take any responsibility for the fact that apparently a large portion of the cake was soggy. "I ruined the cake but it was his fault for serving it wrong" is not an admirable position to take, and apparently it didn't matter if the bad cake was being served to the guests, just the judges.

                                                                                                                                                          Time after time we've seen cheftestants called on the carpet for blaming their failures on their team members and not taking responsibility, and I hold Chiarello to the same standard.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                              I'd have a hard time coming up with two TV food guys I dislike more than Chiarello and Dale (unless Marcel Vigneron and Ilan got in the mix there somewhere). And I haven't really been watching the show religiously -- partly because Chiarello makes my blood boil, and always has.

                                                                                                                                                              I did see his whining at judges' table about the cake, and thought my eyes were going to roll back in my head 180 degrees. If he knew those four pieces were the only ones that would have been good (I doubt that, BTW), it was absolutely, 100% incumbent upon him to have overseen the plating personally.

                                                                                                                                                              I developed my distaste for that dude years ago after seeing his show about La Tomatina, when he stripped down to an Ibiza muscle tank top and smashed tomatoes on his kitchen set. So disgusting (and preeningly narcissistic to boot) to watch a grown man show off his armpit hair in the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                          "the sous chef cutting/serving the cake also didn't do as he had asked"

                                                                                                                                                          You could of course be right but we don't know that for a fact. I think it's pretty far out there to assume that MC's sous Chefs did the exact opposite of what they were told and just cut the centers out leaving the properly done edges.
                                                                                                                                                          I think it's FAR more likely that the judges just happened to get a piece cut from the center or that the edges were not done nearly as well as MC thought. If the Sous Chef's only used edges do you think they would have had enough cake for 200 people?
                                                                                                                                                          Should the judges really get food that is different from the rest of the guests?
                                                                                                                                                          As far as moving goes that applied to all of the Chef's. The point is that things change on the fly. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have arrived at work to find a party has changed at the last minute. Menu planning, organization and staff management are critical for an event like this. That was part of the challange.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Fritter

                                                                                                                                                            I understand that, and I do understand Ruth holding Chiarello to the standard of taking responsibility for something gone wrong.

                                                                                                                                                            But I'm going with what I saw. What actually happened? Without being there taping it, we don't know, other than what has been said by the participants.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                            The big issue for me isnt that he whined when his sous messed up, but the fact that they gave him a pass on serving sub-par cake to the guests but picking better product for the judges.

                                                                                                                                                            I totally understand that he would want the judges to get the best possible, but i was really expecting someone to call him on what seemed like his belief that if they had 4 decent servings it makes up for a botched job on the rest of it.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                              I guess Chiarello's sous chefs found a way to sabotage him. Doesn't say much about them, but it also doesn't say much about him that they would do something like that. Unlikely that either Bayless or Keller's staffs would have gone that way.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Fritter

                                                                                                                                                              I think Chiarello could smell Dale's attitude from across the room. Maybe he didn't mean it consciously as a dig, but I'm sure as his mind searched for a way to address Dale, it passed over most of the least condescending ones!

                                                                                                                                                              But Dale....he had a golden opportunity to show the world he was the bigger man...and did a bang-up job in making himself look the bigger A-hole. Imagine if he had turned to Chiarello and said "Chef, my name is Dale and I would appreciate if you didn't refer to me as 'Young Man."

                                                                                                                                                              Instead....Chiarello (and all of the viewers), who already assumed Dale was a jerk, was given irrefutable proof that he was right. And just in case anyone was on the fence, Dale made sure we all knew by spending the next 2 minutes "getting up in Chiarello's grill" as if Dale actually had the guts to take a swing at another chef in the ktichen with the cameras rolling.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jzerocsk

                                                                                                                                                                I think if Dale had said that Chiarello would have gone off on him. He was clearly *looking* for someone to vent on. That appears to be his way of dealing with a stressful situation.

                                                                                                                                                                They were both jerks -- who was the bigger jerk is debatable. However, I have higher standards for someone who is considered a "master" so relative to my expectations of how a professional should behave in a professional situation, I have to say it reflects more poorly on Chiarello. Bayliss and Keller -- who were in the exact same situation -- both proved you don't have to be a jerk to be a great chef.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Fritter

                                                                                                                                                                It was clear in the video that when MC saw the judges arrive, he specifically told his sous-chef how to cut the cake. There's no conspiracy!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: marblebag

                                                                                                                                                                  Maybe, since he didn't actually cut it himself, the edges weren't quite as perfect as he thought they were.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: marblebag

                                                                                                                                                                    As an on-the-record Chiarello non-fan, I'd also point out he has a looooong history of Googling himself and writing defensive notes and message board posts to items about himself. That's absolutely shocking behavior from a mass-media celebrity like that. Dude has way too thin a skin to be on TV.

                                                                                                                                                            3. I enjoyed this episode, and I have also been enjoying the series. TCM has been a breath of fresh air. My favorite part of this episode was easily Rick Bayless. His enthusiasm for his team's involvement into the menu and his willingness to learn just shows what a class act he really is. I would have loved to be on his team.

                                                                                                                                                              I was disappointed to learn that the whole Dale/Chiarello dust up was over a fridge. Seriously?

                                                                                                                                                              One thing I did miss, and hope someone can fill in the blank. When the chefs were sitting around the table while the judges were deliberating, Chiarello asked Keller how the thought up putting nutmeg on beets. What was Keller's response?

                                                                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                I just watched Chiarello asking Keller about the beets and I couldn't for anything understand what he said. Something like "I smoked last night"...huh?
                                                                                                                                                                Anyone able to discern Keller's response at the table?
                                                                                                                                                                The judges certainly recognized Keller's brilliance in allowing his sous chefs to give input and even take over a dish completely.
                                                                                                                                                                The beet dressing sounds delicious-I would not have thought nutmeg!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                  I think Keller said that it was Antonia's idea for the beet salad, so it was probably her nutmeg too.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                    Keller said he "had a smoke last night" - per my hearing, at least.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: elfcook

                                                                                                                                                                      That's what I thought I heard, but what that had to do with the beet dish-I don't know. Unless it had something to do with what he was smoking ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you all! Something along the lines of "went home and had a smoke" is what I heard, but I took it as "went home and had a "smoke" I just had to make sure my ears weren't deceiving me.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                          That's what I thought too. He implied that it took some wacky tobaccy to make up that dish and then laughed at himself, I took it that he was just kidding around, although you never know.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: saeyedoc

                                                                                                                                                                            I did think he was kidding, and I also had a good laugh!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                              sorry that anita couldn't hold it together. she seemed to be losing interest since her last win. maybe she was tired or just lacked the creative edge. chiarello's cooking has always seemed uninspired to me and he is clearly outclassed by the others. i am from chicago and was never impressed with bayless but after watching him on t.c.m. i have come to respect his total professionalism and finesse. although he should be fined for over use of guacamole. i found him annoyingly whining on the burger quickfire last week when no one gave him kudos for 3 types of guacamole. but he deserves to be in the top two. i don't think he will win because he is limited. keller is the master and it is a pleasure to watch him. it would have been interesting to see him recreate a bayless dish.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                                he is from san francisco....so it wouldn't be a stretch

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Does anyone have a link to Richard Blais's blog post on Bravo?

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                          Don't think he had one for recent episodes, including this one.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. I just want Hubert Keller to win.

                                                                                                                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: melly

                                                                                                                                                                            me too...Rick Bayless is tard. What does a gringo know about Mexican food?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: peppermonkey

                                                                                                                                                                              Wow - that was completely uncalled for. Considering he's the pre-eminent American chef who has extensive background in Mexican foods and cooking, he probably knows a lot more than you're giving him credit for.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                It was a play on his comment about ludo and quesadillas. In any event, I'd rather go to any of the dozens of great Mexican places here in LA run by Mexicans who understand the food in ways he never could than his restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: peppermonkey

                                                                                                                                                                                    Have you been to one of his restaurants? I haven't, but until you've been there, your "understand the food" comment just doesn't cut it. He spent a LOT of time with local Mexicans learning how to cook their food. Just because he's not a native Mexican doesn't mean he doesn't know their food.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm sure he knows a lot "about" the food and the history...but only someone who grew up eating it everyday could understand the food in a more initmate way...i.e. there's ton's of non Koreans who know more about Korean food, it's origins, history than me. But they will never have the soul satisfying experience that I have when I eat some great korean soups or different kimchi's, etc. Where the food speaks to memories and feelings, and reaches beyond just taste. I think only someone who grew up eating the food every day could understand that and it would translate in his food. He said it himself, "What does a French chef know about a quesadilla?"

                                                                                                                                                                                      Also Bayless' food is not really innovative. It's pretty much straight up Mexican food. Now this might be "new and exciting" for people like the judges who live in NY or england and have no access to authentic mexican food, but for me there's so much great authentic Mexican food in LA, that his food looks boring. If he was using fusing Mexican food with French technique or creating something unique, I'd be all over it. But he's not.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: peppermonkey

                                                                                                                                                                                        Why can't it be soul-satisfying for someone who is not of the ethnicity to which the food is ascribed? That just doesn't make sense. He's been making Mexican food for a very long time - long enough to have established memories, feelings, etc. about how he learned to make a particular dish, and what makes that dish special.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Again, until you've eaten at his restaurant, I don't know how you can assume it's "straight-up Mexican food". The menus for Frontera Grill and Topolobampo certainly don't read like "straight-up Mexican food".

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                          Also he has probably spent more time studying the food of Mexico, in Mexico, than the vast majority of chefs/cooks working in American restaurants, be they from Mexico or not.
                                                                                                                                                                                          Mario Batali is from Seattle, Ming is from Ohio, Carlos of Les Halles is from Mexico. I'll eat their Italian, Chinese and French cooking any day, along with Rick's Mexican.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: peppermonkey

                                                                                                                                                                                          "He said it himself, "What does a French chef know about a quesadilla?" "

                                                                                                                                                                                          I have to imagine that in this case "French chef" refers to a guy who specializes in French cuisine, not a guy who is from France.

                                                                                                                                                                                          On the one hand, he doesn't have the memories of mom's Mexican cooking. On the other hand he's not hamstrung by "This is how mom always did it, so that's how I will always do it."

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: peppermonkey

                                                                                                                                                                                            That's pretty reductive.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Have you eaten his food? Boring? At Topolobampo?
                                                                                                                                                                                            And what on earth is "straight up Mexican food"? The cooking of Mexico varies in wonderfully distinctive ways from region to region. No one has done more to teach Americans that Mexican food is far more nuanced than Tex-Mex (or Cal-Mex) than Rick Bayless, imho. His respect for and understanding of the food and the culture is evident in every bite.
                                                                                                                                                                                            I like Hubert Keller, too, but Rick Bayless is every bit as much a master.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: peppermonkey

                                                                                                                                                                                          You have to be kidding. Bayless is a star. He's spent his life mastering Mexican cuisine and single-handedly brought it to this country. His food is superb and he has an extraordinary reputation as a great guy.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Enjoy the Mexican food in LA. I promise you it doesn't even stand up next to Bayless' offerings.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. If no one's posted it. Here's the link for Rick Baylesses comments about last night. http://root4rick.com/

                                                                                                                                                                                    I am without TV and missed it :-(

                                                                                                                                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                      ROFLMAO!!! OK, I just broke out laughing at Rick Bayless's comment re: picking their sous chefs:

                                                                                                                                                                                      "This may sound like heresy, but none of us had watched all of the past seasons of Top Chef, so we didn’t know all of the players, their strengths and weaknesses. ......... There was one thing we all agreed on, though: none of us wanted Spike. He just seemed so cocky, not a team player."


                                                                                                                                                                                      And interesting that there was yet another wrench that Kelly Choi threw at the TCMs - they were to create a canape for 100 out of the ingredients they already had - and it proved so easy for all 4 they cut all reference to it in the final show.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Smart of Blais to choose an out of the way kitchen spot after the big move so they stayed out of the way - and Bayless really lets you know how having the right team to back him up helped him immensely.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                        Actually, I thoguht the bigger wrench was having to serve highly perishable food in blazing hot sun which is pretty much a health and safety hazard. Do the producers of this show have no clue as to food handling and public health safety. They could have made a lot of people very sick. Rick certainly alluded to it and talked at length about having to ice everything and keep it cold. He was thinking not only like a chef but also like a business owner who knows he needs to avoid a sure-fire liability.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                          I would say it was highly probable that the producers had already decided to throw that wrench as part of this episode before they were aware of the food that the Masters had chosen for the buffet. Does that still make them liable should anyone have become sick? Probably. UNLESS anyone eating there had to sign a waiver of liability (which is almost certain).

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                            I would wager that anyone appearing on a TV reality show has to sign a waiver that includes a non-liability clause. Why do you think none of the fights end up in court?

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                              Linda, I would assume there were lots of liability forms to go around :-).

                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm less certain that the producers deliberately threw that monkey wrench into the works. This was filmed back in February. It's not unusual for SoCal to have a heat wave in January or February, but it's not something you can count on like clockwork every year.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                DD, the producers would have arranged for the new venue well in advance, meaning they will have booked it several months or a year in advance to ensure availability, right? The idea of moving the banquet/buffet was easily scripted before filming had even begun. I'd say it was a deliberate throw of that wrench.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I think the initial issue was to have been that they'd be cooking (partially) and serving outdoors. The heat wave became a secondary issue. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ah, so true. I forgot how far in advance they actually work on shows like this. You're probably right.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                          That was cool. Thanks for posting it. Even though he professed stress and panic, I still think he knew where he was headed.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                            I also enjoyed the feature below his entry, 25 Things You Don't Know About Rick. Some amusing answers, including:

                                                                                                                                                                                            "19- What is your favorite ride at Disneyland? The funnel cake stand"

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                              Yeah, I thought several of his answers were pretty funny. I actaully laughed out loud at the Disneyland comment.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                              Great comments from Rick. I have to say though that my eyeballs nearly popped out of my head when Rick dropped and F-bomb right in the middle of it. Not that I offended by the word but I just never would have expected it from Rick. He even acknowledges in the very next sentence that the word is not one he uses often. (For those who don't want to read the link, though you should, he was referring to his, and presumably the other TCM's reaction to finding out they would be serving in the hot sun.)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kmcarr

                                                                                                                                                                                                I was pretty surprised too. I've actually had the opportunity to spend a week cooking with Rick in Oaxaca a few years ago and it's certainly out of character.

                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Just a heads up for next week's show. I was concerned that I would miss the final because Bravo is promoting the new season of Top Chef for next Wednesday, and I wondered if the YCM was going to run on a different day, maybe Sunday or something.

                                                                                                                                                                                              You all probably know this, but just in case someone is a little confused as I was.

                                                                                                                                                                                              The new Top Chef, Sin City. is on from (my time zone) 9 p.m. until 10:15 p.m. Then Top Chef Master is on from 10:15 p.m. until 11:15 p.m. So if you're recording any or all of these shows, don't miss the end because it's not precisely by the hour.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. While everyone's bashing Chiarello, note that two of the judges gave him very good scores. The editing emphasized his failures but his marks were not close to elimination.

                                                                                                                                                                                                As for the olive oil cake, etc., my guess is that his chefs did concentrate on serving the judges the best parts and that was reflected in the grades, with the fans giving him 3 stars and two judges giving him 4's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I want Keller to win. Won't mind if Bayless does. Will commit suicide if MC wins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Evilbanana11

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Don't do it EB11! Maybe HK and RB will have bad days. I mean Ilan won so who knows what can happen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. For finale, you know that they'll twist it so that Keller has to cook Mexican, Bayliss Italian and Chiarello French or some such variation, 3 courses for 100, in an hour, using no knives or fat!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I just watched the episode and my worse indictment of anyone is that Keller and Bayless were true chefs, they oversaw their sous and trusted them to do what they needed to do to win. Chiarello acted like a cook. His food was ok but his crew hated him and they didn't produce for him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Just for fun if you had to choose any 3 ex- Top Chef contestants featured in this episode for your team who would they be?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I would personally choose Richard, Elia and Fabio. Love their personalities/skills and think they will mesh well together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Evilbanana11

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Antonia, Richard, and Stephanie. All professional.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Was Stephanie in this episode? Maybe I missed her. If its all time contestants I would Choose Stephanie, Harold and Elia/Richard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Evilbanana11

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Um, I think I fouled up. Stephanie was not on this episode I meant Elia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. My goodness! Lot's of action on this thread! I am not going to read everyone else's comments before I make my own because you guys always make me change my mind. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chiarello went into alpha dog mode which is quite common for chefs. I have worked in kitchens where the chef would not even speak to me because it was beneath him to do so (in his mind.) and I have worked in kitchens where the chefs allow their generous nature to shine and take their role as "chief" quite seriously but also know they are in a position to teach as well. Guess which chefs always got the best out of me? That point was well illustrated in this example of how Keller and Bayless treated their crew and how Chiarello treated his.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I would never in a thousand years want Dale in any kitchen I work in. No matter that Chiarello was getting on his nerves, Chiarello didn't get all in his face and try to actually physically box with him. I am a girl and I can unequivocally say that I would kick Dale's ass because I would be so furious to have any of that nonsense in a professional kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Swordfish Prime Rib is just silly. . .Chiarello simply wasn't on his game but he should never blame his crew. . if he wanted to be captain of that ship the way he did it then he should take responsibility for it all. And he shouldn't have served an olive oil cake that wasn't all perfect - not just the edges because that meant it failed, period.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I really like Anita Lo but she weakened as the competition escalated and it was hard to watch. All the stress and pressure affected her creative energy to where she just became completely overwhelmed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Keller and Bayless are both class acts and I will fully admit that I did not like Bayless much before this show. . .I think I still haven't forgiven him for the Burger King commercial but as the competition goes along, I am finding much to respect about him. Keller is a kind man with a lot of passion - he clearly loves cooking and the creativeness that goes into it. I will be happy if either of them win. I won't be very happy if Chiarello wins as I think he represents a lot of what's wrong with TV insta-chefs. . . all show and swagger, no true depth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pastryqueen

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm not a big fan if Chiarello either, but everyone here thinks he is just a TV chef. He graduated from the CIA and has been an highlly acclaimed executive chef for years, openining Tra Vigne in Napa Valley, a top rated restaurant. This may not exuse his behavior, but do remember he is more than a TV chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: caseys

                                                                                                                                                                                                              That begs the question -- what exactly makes someone a "master chef"? I mean, several of the other regular "cheftestants" have also graduated from prestigious schools and opened successful restaurants. People were acting as if Ariane was just some Jersey housewife when she was also a CIA grad who opened her own restaurant. There must be hundreds of chefs around the country who meet the qualification of "CIA grad who opened a restaurant." So there must be something else that qualifies one as a "master chef."

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                None of the chefs on TCM are Master Chefs in the strictest sense. A Master Chef has passed a series of rigorous tests administered by the American Culinary Federation, which none of them has done. Notice that the name of the show does not refer to them as "Master Chefs," even if it alludes to that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                For many chefs who are not involved in ACF, a Master Chef is one who has successfully mentored other chefs who then go on to success in their own right. In that case, several of the TCM contestants would qualify, tho not all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                FWIW, Ludo Lefebvre IS French, not just a chef who cooks in the French style.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                And, although Rick Bayless is a wonderful teacher of Mexican food, and Frontera and Topolobampo are rightly top rated restaurants, he did not "bring Mexican food to the US." Mexican immigrants did that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  totally agree...its pretty insulting and ignorant to think that Rick Bayless brought mexican food to the states

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: peppermonkey

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh come on. I would hazard a guess that most people (if not all) don't believe that Bayless "brought" Mexican cooking to the U.S. considering the number of Mexicans who have legally and illegally crossed the border way before he was born. He just elevated it to a higher perception as something more than tacos and enchiladas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think Bayless himself would scoff at the idea that he brought Mexican food to the US.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't think the perception is that Bayless brought Mexican food to the US. That's even silly. I think the perception is -- and it's pretty accurate -- that he brought Mexican cuisine to the average American's consciousness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: caseys

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I wish they'd had Batali as the Italian guy instead of Chiarello. I'd be willing to bet he could have identified mascarpone in the QF.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: caseys

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have met many a hack to come from the hallowed halls of the CIA. . .and I have known many people who worked for him at Tra Vigne. . .he was a kitchen bully and routinely found pleasure in making people (women!) cry on the line. When I say he is a TV chef - I think I mean that he puts on a good show but where is the substance? He only knows Italian cuisine and seems okay with that. . .most great chefs never stop learning and realize that the pursuit of greatness or even perfection is a never ending one. I think it just boils my blood that he portends to be the end all and be all of Italian cuisine. . .and he wants us to truly believe that. . Prime Rib of Swordfish . .I keep thinking about that. . there is such a cut but it's not the hunk of fish that he ruined on TV. I just have a serious problem with a chef who is not generous in sharing knowledge and even in sharing space in a kitchen which he so obviously did not want to do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pastryqueen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Does he really portray himself as the be-all and end-all for Italian cooking? I'd think that Marcella Hazan has that pretty much locked up, don't you think? With Batali a close second?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ah, it doesn't matter of Batali and Hazan are more highly regarded in that realm. Sounds like he is master in his own mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It does that. Which is rather surprising, but that's for him to deal with down the road, I guess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mario has shown a curiosity the last few years, especially with Spanish and Vietnamese cuisines, so he is indeed growing as a chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I thought that Mario spent some time in Spain growing up, so the interest in Spanish food at least would be more a matter of going back to the food from his youth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What interest in Vietnamese cuisine? I'm curious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Evilbanana11

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  About a year before he emnbarked on the adventures in Spain, I read that he'd gone on a tour of southeast Asia and got totally smitten with the foods of Vietnam. I also think he was grooving on Thai but can't recall specifically, I'll need to do some digging to find the source of what I'd read. Given some of what other chefs think about the foods of Vietnam and southeast Asia, I wouldn't doubt that he was enamored also.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I heard the same thing about Mario Batali. After eating in Vietnam he became extremely enamored by the food and you can actually see the influence once or twice on Iron Chef America.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: pastryqueen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i was wondering how he couldn't be embarassed by that hunk of swordfish, prime rib of swordfish, indeed! it looks like it had been whacked by MS-13 and their machetes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Anita Lo's commentary on the taste test, why she let go of Jamie as sous-chef and Chiarello.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            So the editor elves were hard at work, yet again. No surprise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Curious that she's quoted talking about Dale and Richard when she had Dale and Ilan? Richard was memorably on Rick's team.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was wondering about that too - I have to assume the person who wrote the piece made a mistake. (?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Jamie told her that during the pre-picking interview session. Richard was presumably not available when the time came to pick. Interesting that Jamie suggested Dale -- apparently she thinks more highly of him than the posters here do!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think that Jamie suggested Dale because Dale works a lot with Asian ingredients and is probably very familiar with Lo's flavor profiles. And he is really skilled technically -- he won the vegetable technical skills quickfire. I probably would have picked Dale in Lo's situation as well even though it seems that he can be a hothead at times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. When I was young I used to fancy rock stars...Now it seems I easily get crushes on chefs!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I now have a crush on Bayless...Is he getting cuter or what? Absolutely adorable!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i'm with you on that, Nelly! though i still wouldn't kick Lenny Kravitz out of bed ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Claudette

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Good. That means I have Eric Ripert all to myself. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Eric Ripert is the sexiest chef! Not only is he handsome but so talented. .. I never paid much mind to him until the No Reservations when Bourdain goes back on the line. . .Bourdain is DYING and then Ripert steps on the line to show solidarity and is having a blast. . he is smiling and laughing and just so adorable. .now when I see him, I just SWOON!!!! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pastryqueen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Eric Ripert was on Letterman last night. I only caught the tail end of the segment but he was very well composed all through Dave's antics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'll have to check that out online.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i happened upon it near the end of the segment, and i thought Letterman was acting like an ass, as usual. there was a huge, beautiful, whole fresh fish on the table (according to web sources it was farm-raised bluefin), and Letterman was calling it "kitty" and using his hands to move its mouth while he made meowing sounds. he then grabbed a slice of cooked tuna from the cutting board and dunked it into the unfinished sauce in the pan while Ripert was still cooking. i got the feeling Ripert was trying not to let his irritation get the best of him...Letterman's juvenile behavior could easily have been interpreted as disrespect for the ingredients and an affront to Ripert's Buddhist sensibilities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              fortunately Paul Shaffer swooped in and said to Ripert: "I've had five great meals in my life. Five. And they were all at your restaurant." class act.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i used to think Ripert was a bit of a cold fish (pardon the pun), but he's grown on me over the past couple of years...and i actually have Top Chef to thank for that. Letterman, however, will always be an idiot in my book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hey, if being an idiot is what pays the bills....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  they were running out of time, clearly, and letterman wanted to taste it before they went to commercial

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  also - when letterman was playing w/ the fish ripert commented that letterman shares his attitude towards food. he was not offended in the least. ripert, and most chefs, (and most buddhists) cultivate a sense of play towards food (and life)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    it's highly possible that my inherent distaste for Letterman influenced my perception of his behavior and the impact it may (or may not) have had. i just couldn't help thinking about Ripert's recent W magazine interview and how strongly he stressed his respect for ingredients and animals...something about Letterman's antics made me want to slap his hand and tell him to leave the poor fish alone! but i confess it did make me smile when he backed off and noticed that, in the process, he had soiled his shirt sleeve with fish oil and grime ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i saw rick bayless in whole foods a couple of weeks ago. he is cute in person. no crush on any of the chefs but jay rayner is kind of ugly sexy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Absolutely, I totally have a crush on Rick Bayless. Anyone else follow him on Twitter? He updates all the time and posts photos of food, his garden, the market, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Here is what Richard Blais said on his blog.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Very ethereal and poetic actually.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Most revealing sentence: "Editing is a powerful tool but its (sic) not a mirror."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Very well written blog.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              gotta love the irony...he commits a grammatical error while making a statement about editing!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ahhh, but I'll cut him a bit of slack for that - he *was* speaking about film editing, after all. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              awesome blog. forgot how much i like him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Can anyone tell me what Jay said to Rick Bayless at Judges' Table about his going with the "other guy's idea'" [Blais's] on the avocado ice cream, just before the show cut to Hubert Keller and the judges? I played and replayed, but never could understand it, something like "so you're just a ______________."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Close. I think he said "so you adjusted ________" I think it was part of a longer discussion about how the chefs has to adapt their menu to the changed location. Remember Bayliss pointed out that if he hadn't taken Blais' idea to make the avocado ice cream on the spot with the liquid nitrogen they would have been screwed: if they'd made it in advance it would have melted during service.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  he said "cohones is the word that comes to mind."