HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >

Discussion

Top Chef and we're off! (possible spoilers)

  • 239
  • Share

Three minutes in and so far so good. Looks like a good cast.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. "No way I'm getting beaten by a girl". Wow

    52 Replies
    1. re: amethiste

      SERIOUSLY wow. Wish the blue team's Jennifer had beaten him at that round!

      And Preeti doesn't speak up that she's never shucked clams? Damn - she never got her team out of Round 1!

      This is a VERY good group of people - next week's TV Guide is already out, and Tom says that he's very impressed with this group: "They aren't outrageous, over-the-top characters just trying to get noticed on TV - they're all very serious cooks".

      That bodes well for us, the audience!

      1. re: LindaWhit

        ok, i hate this guy Mike already. first the comment about not getting beaten by a girl, then that ridiculous remark that Robin will be "one less old lady" for him to worry about?!?! ugh.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Yeah - he's already drawn the short straw for the cheftestant that is most disliked already. :-)

          And good for Jennifer for pulling out the cookoff win!

          1. re: LindaWhit

            he's getting a lot of camera time - i hope this is the elves' way of letting us know we may not have to watch him after tonight!

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              I was wondering the same thing. It is reminiscent of the "I'm not here to make friends" woman from a couple seasons back. She got cut first.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                The single mother (with some scary tribal ears) who wants to give her child an education has also been getting a good about of air time. She has also been talking about how confident she is.

                1. re: Withnail42

                  I was wondering if those were tribal ears or wierd earrings. Has anyone noticed the extreme amount of body art this season? Does it seem that there is more this season that usual? Is the tat the new fauxhawk?

                  1. re: amethiste

                    I'm all for free expression but the ears are a little off putting.

                    And for anyone interested in tattoos: http://www.flickr.com/groups/foodtatts/

                    1. re: Withnail42

                      Well, you don't have to see her ears anymore, Withnail - she's outta there!

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        I am so glad she's gone and I won't have to look at those scary ears any more. I'm sorry if it's narrow-minded of me but those trbibal ears are one thing I just cannot stand. And yes, the amount of body art on this season's crew is staggering. Is that representative of restaurant kitchens in 2009?

                        1. re: NYCkaren

                          From what I know of and have seen, yes for the most part. As long as they aren't working front of house or their piercings are not dangerous in the kitchen.

                          1. re: NYCkaren

                            Strange that I don't remember the ears, but that chile relleno was totally unappetizing. (I am trying to use civil language here....) I was not surprised that she was eliminated, even tho Eve's dish was pretty unfocused.

                            1. re: ChefJune

                              I was actually surprised that pierced lady (Jennifer Z?) lost over Eve. I guess the proof was in actually tasting the chile relleno. Both dishes sounded pretty disappointing.

                              I'm confused through. Weren't there two multiply-pierced woman contestants and both of them were up for elimination?

                              1. re: chicgail

                                Yes, the other one (Jesse?) has piercings on her lip and was up for elimination for the "whole chicken with egg" extravaganza -- the chicken breast was too dry, IIRC.

                                1. re: chicgail

                                  ChefJune and chicgail,
                                  Regarding the earrings: ChefJune, you probably don't remember her earrings because at first glance they just looked like hoop earrings. chicgail, yes, the other girl had face piercings but it was Jen Z. grossing everyone out. I don't know if you realized but she had earlobe plugs. What looked like hoop earrings was actually a gigantic hole in her lobe with her lobe surrounding the hoop. Gross! Here's a picture:

                                  http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_IDtn1DCFCqU...

                                  ETA: I should have read all the posts first. I see the plugs were addressed below.

                                  1. re: dmjordan

                                    I think Jen Z. was the intense tall blond who worked Eric Ripert.

                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                      Jennifer Z. is with ear tunnels and was told to PYKAG, Jennifer C. is Eric Ripert's chef de cuisine at his Philadelphia restaurant.

                                    2. re: dmjordan

                                      eeuw!

                        2. re: Withnail42

                          Took me a few minutes at the bios page to figure out who you were talking about - the other Jennifer (Zavala). OK, so we have a Jennifer C. (Eric Ripert's chef de cuisine) and a Jennifer Z.

                          Going to be a few episodes before I get all the names down.

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            I wonder if this means Eric Ripert will not be a guest judge this season because of a possible bias. Not that he would be like that but I know some people may not think it is fair.

                        3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          Wouldn't THAT be nice? LOL

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            oy. they like his food.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              ARRRGGHH!!!! Mike is in in the Top 4.....BUT Kevin (James Beard nominee) wins the first Elimination challenge.

                              Hector, Jessie, Eve and Jen are in the bottom 4 - and wow - Eve just got a beatdown!

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                Did anyone else catch this, as Jen (I think) is first shown:
                                "Are you a pastry chef?" The she goes on to explain what she does and it zooms in on her. We don't see who says it, but it seemed like she was a little offended and I wondered if it wasn't another wonderful Mike soundbite.

                                1. re: dagoose

                                  Ooh, good catch! Don't know if it was Mike, but we'll have to see next week in the repeat. Wouldn't surprise me. :-)

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    I missed all those biased comments! Which Mike is the culprit? Mike V or Mike I?

                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                      Mike I - originally from northern NJ but now in DC at Andres' restaurant. He's got that blustery Tony Soprano bit about him.

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        Thanks, Linda. I didn't think Mike V was particularly diplomatic, either, so couldn't figure out.

                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                          See, Mike V. didn't stand out to me, other than he's one of the brothers. Did he diss anyone (other than his brother)?

                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                          I like Zyatinya but now that I've seen Michael Isabella on Top Chef, I'm glad there are plenty of other great restaurants in DC, that guy is a major a##hole. Too bad he is too much of a character for Bravo to kick off soon.

                                          1. re: dinwiddie

                                            I'm seriously hoping it doesn't come down to Bravo keeping him for the drama - I'm hoping that the food shines and not the a$$holes.

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              What if the a-hole's food shines?

                                              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                He'll still be an a-hole.

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  unfortunately i've eaten that a-hole's food and loved it.... it made me really sad to see him as a cheftestant.... because if he wasn't such a prick i'd be reatlly rooting for him...

                          2. re: LindaWhit

                            I missed who actually said that comment - I'll have to check which one Mike is -
                            I was out of the room and I didn't hear him say that - but what I did hear him say was: "A girl shouldn't be at the same level as me"
                            WTH???? WTH???
                            I think that is even worse than saying he doesn't want to to be ebaten by a girl!!
                            That made me fume actually.
                            Do they say these things just to stir up controversey? To make themselves stand out? Or is this guy just that stupid??

                            1. re: NellyNel

                              He reeks of macho Jersey guido-ness (as a fellow Italian-American they are easy to spot). BUT, he is one hell of a chef, so he will probably be around for a while.

                              1. re: NellyNel

                                I would seriously LOVE to see a set of outtakes from the stew room discussions that the producers have with the cheftestants. What are the questions they're asked? Are they asked and re-asked in different ways to get a response that's camera-worthy?

                                That's the only thing I can think of when this guy says something like this. Or maybe he IS just that stupid and that Jersey-guido-like (as a fellow former Jerseyan, I can say that as well <g>).

                                gastrotect, do you have experience eating at any place he's cooked before becoming EC at Jose Andres' restaurant?

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  No, I admit I don't have any personal reason to say he is one hell of a chef, but based on where he works, has worked, and his first performance, it certainly seems safe to say it. I will say maybe I was too gung-ho though. I was under the impression he was one of the James Beard nominees in this cast, but it seems that is not the case.

                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              At first, I thought Michael I. was just a sexist jerk, but now that he's made a few comments about his male competitors, I see he's an all-around a-hole.

                              1. re: dmjordan

                                He will be this years Hung, attitude wise.

                                1. re: dmjordan

                                  Who cares whether he's a jerk? Why can't you people focus on the food? This is top chef, not top nice guy.

                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                    While I hope that Top Chef doesn't go the way of Season 5 with all the personal drama, part of the fun for me is having a favorite to root for and I won't be rooting for someone that is a jerk. Top Chef Masters managed to make it all about the food without all the meanness and attitude and I really enjoyed watching it.

                                    1. re: dmjordan

                                      I don't agree that season 5 was about personal drama - it was only the viewers reactions which caused the "Drama"

                                      For me season 2 was the year with way too much dramatics.

                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                        Yeah season two the 'lost' season. The one bravo would like to forget and the winner as well.

                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                          Yeah - he's already drawn the short straw for the cheftestant that is most disliked already. :-)

                                          And good for Jennifer for pulling out the cookoff win!

                                      2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                        This is one of my biggest issues with the show. Sometimes they'll address a chef's conduct as part of the judging criteria. Heck, in restaurant wars it's always been far more important than the food when it comes right down to it.

                                        Other times, they say it's simply about the meal they've been served.

                                        As much as I feel it's an inferior knockoff, this is where I like the judging rules in "Chopped" much better. They'd never have awarded the top prize to Ilan or whatshisface who won last season if they'd taken the whole season into account.

                                        Of course, you then might get a Top Chef who whiffed the finale, which would be dissatisfying in its own way -- but you'd never get to the end with a pairing like Ilan and Marcel, two cooks who were extremely limited and unpleasant.

                                        I think this group's skills look like it'll be a much more exciting season. Let's shave some truffles and not each others' heads, please.

                                        1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                          Would you want to work in a kitchen headed by that jerk?

                                          1. re: dinwiddie

                                            He may not like a woman beating his butt but that hardly means he's a jerk in the kitchen. I don't think he sabotaged anyone, showed disrepect to anyone to their face. And I suspect that trash talking is highly encouraged.

                                            Dale comes across as a feisty a$$ but who knows how he actually acts in normal work environment. Does he really tell people "what you gonna do about it" in the kitchen? I suspect not.

                                            If the food's good, I'll eat it. What I can't stand are the trash talking talentless losers like Spike.

                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                      She did mention that she had never shucked clams and asked if it was done the same way as oysters. But it was right before they started and I don't think her team really heard her.

                                      1. re: viperlush

                                        As much as it was Preeti's fault for not speaking up saying she's never shucked clams, it is THEIR fault for not asking who's capable of doing so. All the other three did was "claim" what they wanted to do vs. work together to see how they could get through the challenge with the best person for the task. So whoever on her team was getting all bent out of shape that she wasn't capable had no reason to bitch either.

                                    3. re: amethiste

                                      And then later, "One less old lady to deal with" - double wow.

                                      1. re: amethiste

                                        Maybe he can use the money from teh Glad Family Of Products to get his teeth fixed. Or a lobotomy.

                                      2. interesting geographic representation. three from ATL, only 1 from NYC!

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          3 from Baltimore as well.

                                          Also the French chef is actually wearing a cravat. How on-the-nose is that?

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            There were plenty of NY chefs in the earlier episodes. Time for some other great food cities to be represented.

                                            BTW, anyone who gets a chance to eat at Volt in Frederick, MD should definitely go, one great restaurant. I'm pulling for Bryan because one of the best meals I've ever had was at his restaurant.

                                            1. re: dinwiddie

                                              i wasn't complaining, just noting. and actually, as someone who lived in ATL for 8 years (and lamented the state of the local dining scene at the time), i'm happy to see that the city's much-improved culinary culture is well represented on TC this season.

                                          2. Ok, they SERIOUSLY need to have Wolfgang Puck back again - anyone who can make Colicchio laugh throughout the comments about donuts is a good judge to have!

                                            ETA: WHAT? He just said that something looked like chicken testicles? ROFL!

                                            30 Replies
                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              Linda, you beat me to it. Wolfgang is HILARIOUS! i hereby nominate him as the most entertaining TC guest judge...that chicken testicles comment was priceless!

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                Anthony Bourdain is Entertaining TC Guest Judge Emeritus, but Wolfgang is a very close second!

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  was Tony even a judge last season? i feel like i haven't seen him in ages - that must be why i forgot how entertaining he is!

                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                    No, he wasn't. :-( But he's still #1guest judge in my book when it comes to humor. Chef Ripert, of course, is just plain #1. ;-)

                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                      No he wasn't and he probably won't be back. I think he has mentioned why. Wether it was a contract issue - FN vs Travel or if it had something to do with production or the cast. I know he was not fond of Padma at all.

                                                      1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                        Really? Where did you read that? Hadn't heard that re: his dislike of Padma.

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          It is true. There was an article where he said something to the effect of him not respecting Padma's opinions. In that same article, Bourdain also said he thought Tom was awesome.

                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                            Interesting. I wonder why. Her palate seems well tuned. And hell - she went from vegetarian back to meat-eating - that's gotta count for something in Bourdain's book! LOL And besides, Padma's 100x better than Katie Lee Joel was, for sure!

                                                            ETA: Just Googled Bourdain Padma, and found a link on Amuse-Biatch to Miami New Times:

                                                            http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/shorto...

                                                            But it doesn't really say anything - other than she wouldn't be his first choice for a Cabinet member or to host a show.

                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                              I'm sorry - I still can't stand Padma.
                                                              She is as wooden as a board and doesn't in any way exude passion.

                                                              (I know I'll get hell for this..but)
                                                              I also think she is creepy looking! I don't find her to be pretty or sexy in any way shape or form. she reminds me of a dead body.
                                                              BTW my DH agrees with me - he thinks she is strange looking too and unsexy

                                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                                repeat after me in a monotone drone: please pack your knives and go. she has ZERO personality. she is a fembot.

                                                                1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                  Did you see her last year during the breakfast challenge? Lots of personality and relaxed. I think it's just the setting of being "host".

                                                                  But I'll just continue repeating - she's way better than Katie ever could dream of being.

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    Maybe I am prejudiced but I saw two episodes of her series going back a few years and I liked how she handled herself. This was before I knew that she'd written cook books and have done things other than looking good.

                                                                    And yes, much much better than Stepford Wife Katie Lee.

                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                      Linda--totally agree and yes, you are right, she loosens up sometimes. Katie is the true meaning of insipid fembot. But I will stop before the Chow police slap me on the wrist....Love Padma, love Padma, love Padma.

                                                                      1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                        This is the best line written about Padma yet--from today's Gawker.com
                                                                        "Padma Lakshmi seems to have gotten even slower than last season. Now she talks like a skinny overly animated muppet in amber. Magic, over! "

                                                                        http://gawker.com/5341753/the-strange...

                                                                        1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                          I like Padma for some reason and I appreciate her more after the perky fembot Kelly from TC Masters. The male chefs and judges tend to be pretty low-key so I think Padma tones herself down to fit in. Perkiness comes off as too Rachael Ray-ish in the TC context. Although I'm straight, I also find Padma very pleasant to look at and I loved checking out her outfits every week. Padma 4eva!

                                                                          1. re: newhavener07

                                                                            but Padma is way too sedated. She acts and speaks like she just downed some xanax and some muscle relaxers before heading to the set. I really don't think her physical appearance has mush to do with being a good host.

                                                                            1. re: newhavener07

                                                                              I'm sure I'm in the minority but Kelly on TCM didn't bother me. What I liked much better was that she just moderated the judges' panel without participating in it, and certainly didn't vote. While she didn't add much to the show, she didn't detract from it either.

                                                                      2. re: NellyNel

                                                                        Me thinks your husband agreed with you to protect his "interests", hahaha.

                                                                        1. re: aser

                                                                          LOL Aser -
                                                                          but unfortunately - not true!
                                                                          DH has no problem being perfectly honest about who he finds attractive!

                                                                          In fact recently when I said "OH I want to have dinner at Per SE"
                                                                          His response was "yeah - and I want Angelina Jolie - but it ain't gonna happen!"

                                                                        2. re: NellyNel

                                                                          I think she's gorgeous on the show, absolutely beautiful. But I saw her once in NYC and she looked very average. Unnoticable (sp?) really. We all have our good and bad days, I guess.

                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                            ok, let her down easy and send her my way.

                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                              Get in line buddy.

                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                            Yes I seem to recall him saying a few things about her. I can't quote anything but I know several other people think she is high matience and not that great at what she does. I've also heard she is pretty bitchy

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                              I guess Padma is my Julia Child and Bourdain's Julie Powell... lol

                                                                        3. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                          i think u mean Bravo vs travel not FN... could be wrong

                                                                          1. re: liveloveat34

                                                                            yes, thanks for the correction, I did mean Bravo and Travel and not FN

                                                                      3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                        Anthony Bourdain can come out with some hilarious off the cuff remarks. I recall how in season 4 he said that CJ's broccolini looked like something found in Bob Marley’s closet and I thought Tom C was gonna lose it. Ahhhh, good times...

                                                                        1. re: MysticYoYo

                                                                          Regarding the same broccolini (I think) he also said, "You couldn't serve this in prison."

                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                      There could be a whole page of Wolgangisms. I love the comment that everyone feels they need to put baby food (purees) on every plate. He stole the show from the rest of the judges and he gave good feedback, even on the deep fried steak.

                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                        That's why I loved him as a judge. He was able to explain his criticisms and give positive feedback at the same time. No snarky remarks that didn't make any sense and no over the top gushing. The baby food comment was my favorite as well.

                                                                    3. So far after one episode have to say very pleased with the group they have this season. For the most part they seem like a very competent group.

                                                                      Looking forward to the upcoming shows.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                                                        I'm looking forward to the season as well, but I was a bit taken aback with how many of the dishes looked and sounded very similar: "Chunk-o-protein on top of puree with arty reduction." or "seared seafood with arty gastrique." Seems like there's very little regional variation and those who try to deviate from the formula get smacked down. Oh well, it's still early and people are probably trying to minimize risk.

                                                                        1. re: newhavener07

                                                                          "Chunk-o-protein on top of puree with arty reduction."
                                                                          ~~~~~~~~
                                                                          your description is more diplomatic than Wolfgang's was. his comment about everyone feeling the need to serve steak with baby food was hilarious :)

                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                            Funny and sad at the same time because that is the current culinary trend. Too much crap on the plate! As far as I'm concerned, the food should already be seasoned. I don't want to dip my protein in 5 different colorful sauces.

                                                                      2. Wow, Wolfgang Puck was delightful. What a fun guest judge. I found most of the new chefs interesting, and it seemed like there was a lot of good food there. Also, a lot of bourbon.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: JasmineG

                                                                          yes, and brand-named bourbon at that. Maker's Mark is my boubon of choice too (at least for mixed drinks), but it got quite annoying after a while....

                                                                        2. Ceviche wins another challenge. Does anyone else wish that these chefs would just COOK something?

                                                                          15 Replies
                                                                          1. re: LarryLg

                                                                            You mean "cevich". Was I the only one perplexed by that pronunciation?

                                                                            1. re: Reignking

                                                                              Nope - me too! It definitely irked me!

                                                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                that bothered me to no end. i guess that is also why she has rubbed me the wrong way. she seems very uppity and cocky and while she may have talent, how can you make a ceviche if you can't pronounce it? are we being too picky?!

                                                                                1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                  Did you consider whom she works for?

                                                                                  1. re: youngho

                                                                                    Well, for anyone puzzled or irritated by the pronunciation of "ceviche", that's how they pronounced it at Le Bernardin when we ate there earlier this year, so it might not be surprising that Jen C's mentor and employer might have had some influence on her.

                                                                                  2. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                    how does proper pronunciation equate to ability to cook? i'm damned sure there are plenty of people who pronounce things perfectly that couldn't boil water, as well as people who could cook you into bliss without naming a single thing "properly"

                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                      Why do we say ceviche when the Peruvians called it cebiche? I suppose one can know a recipe by heart but not know the name of the dish....still that shows quite a bit of ignorance.

                                                                                      1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                        v and b are very close in pronunciation in Spanish, and where they fall on the spectrum depends on where the Spanish is spoken. So that variation is not a great one.

                                                                                        youngho's point above that Jen pronounced it the way it's pronounced at Le Bernadin is an interesting insight into the situation. It's quite possibly where she first learned of the dish, but at the least, everyone who works for him may take that cue from Ripert, for all I know.

                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                          As I said last year re: the pronunciation of "Swiss chard" as "swishard" I find it inexcusably pretentious for an American to copy a French mispronunciation of a non-French word. Among other things, it suggests that the person was unaware of the term before they heard it spoken by a French person, which in the case of Swiss chard really doesn't say much for their food knowledge.

                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                            I just finished listening to Eric Riepert being interviewed on the radio and he pronounces ceviche, sur-v-chay, so Jen didn't get her pronunciation cues from her boss.

                                                                                          2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                            Because ceviche is made in many parts of the Spanish-speaking world, and Americans, not surprisingly, picked up the Mexican pronunciation, not the Peruvian one. However, I'm not aware of any variation on Spanish where it would be pronounced the way Jen did.

                                                                                    2. re: Reignking

                                                                                      Yeah, that was a bit strange. I think she did the Italian-American thing with dropping the last vowel off a word -- eg. mozzarella is "mozzarell"; proscuitto becomes "proshoot."

                                                                                      1. re: Reignking

                                                                                        Glad to know I wasn't alone.

                                                                                        1. re: Reignking

                                                                                          Yeah, I thought that was odd and then I thought? hmmm someone of her calber not pronouching it with the e at the end.

                                                                                          She was the winner so it must have been good, but someone needs to tell her

                                                                                          1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                            I don't know that mispronunciation reflects poorly on her. She may have been doing it intentionally, as in; this is how this word would be pronounced in English and I'm speaking English. I'm sure there are a lot of botched food pronunciations (Vietnamese, Russian, etc) but most of us are aware of correct Spanish pronunciations. My wife is Cuban is always busting me on my bad Spanish pronunciations.
                                                                                            I think the key is that she nailed the dish and as we have seen in the past, Tom is not always ceviche friendly.

                                                                                      2. This should be a great season. There is a lot of talent as TC actually seems to be gaining momentum as a contest of skill.
                                                                                        I had to feel slightly bad for the gal with the over done chicken. She knew what she had done wrong even before service but it was too late to correct it. I think she handled herself well at JT unlike Eve who would have been a lot better off not talking so much.
                                                                                        I thought my wife was going to toss a pan at Mr. I won't be beat by a girl.
                                                                                        LOL

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Fritter

                                                                                          I'm really hoping Mr. I-won't-be-beat-by-a-girl gets his ass whupped in one of the next few episodes. By a GIRL.

                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            I'd say that Girl is one of the top contenders for the title. Some times when I watch this show I'm stunned to see Chef's that can not do basic tasks like shucking a clam. It's easy compared to shucking oysters. Literally all most do is lay the clam knife horizontally along the lip of the clam then squeeze the blade in. I've always found it faster to squeeze the knife edge into the clam hinge.
                                                                                            The biggest mistake they always seem to make is not taking a second to talk about who will be good at each task.
                                                                                            I watched an episode of Chopped not long ago where only one Chef knew how to clean dirty squid.
                                                                                            Here's a photo demo of shucking a clam.

                                                                                            http://www.fishingchef.com/Hows_it_Do...

                                                                                        2. Nice exciting start for the new season.

                                                                                          Mike is cruising for a bruising. He seems like a more talented Spike.

                                                                                          I felt so bad for Eve. Her restaurant in Ann Arbor has been a hallmark of excellence in a small but very intense food town.

                                                                                          I really like Jennifer. What can I say, I like people who knows what they are doing.

                                                                                          I have a feeling that the brothers dynamics will be a focus this season.

                                                                                          Kevin looks like he is very serious.

                                                                                          I think the Puerto Rican guy is an Expendable (There are the guys in red shirts who usually goes down to the planet with Captain Kirk on every episode and are the first one to get killed)

                                                                                          OK, the guy from Haiti. They bashed him a bit for his story, but then they tell him he has a compelling story, then they say it wasn't all that, but he's on the top four. I don't remember what his team mates did, were they all that bad, such that his dish shined in contrast?

                                                                                          22 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                            LOL on the Expendable red shirt guy!

                                                                                            As for Ron (guy from Haiti), I can't recall what the others on his team cooked...and there's no recap up anywhere with details that I can find.

                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                              Were the prerequisites for candidacy on this season either to sport multiple tattoos or to be androgynous? Wow. Some of these people are throwing me off bigtime.

                                                                                              That said we'll see what happens..too soon to tell but did anyone notice that Padma may have actually eaten a cookie?

                                                                                              Oh! And the chef from Eric Ripert in Philly is rubbing me the wrong way BIGTIME.

                                                                                              1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                                What do you mean re: Padma? The woman *eats* - it's been talked about a lot - she eats a LOT.

                                                                                                As for Jen from Philly - why does she set you off? Because she's confident in her abilities?

                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                  Jen could be Casey's stunt double.

                                                                                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                    ha ha - yes I thought so too

                                                                                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                    Yes I know Padma eats but what I meant was she looks more buxom this season! And Jen from Philly...she seems nasty, that's all..but cooking wise, yes, she is confident and thus far rightly so...

                                                                                                    1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                                      Hi folks:

                                                                                                      Sorry to interrupt, but discussions about the size of Padma's bosom and belly this season really are beyond the scope of this board. We've removed a number of posts on those topics.

                                                                                                  3. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                                    Jen is clearly very talented, and confident about it. so she commented that she can be a bitch sometimes. so what? at least she owns it. making it in a competitive kitchen environment at the level she's reached requires a thick skin, particularly if you're a woman (and an attractive one at that). i hate to say it, but it's true.

                                                                                                    i like her, and i think she's definitely a force to be reckoned with for the title this season.

                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                      She was handicapped as one of the highest ranked by SkilletDoux: http://www.skilletdoux.com/ And damned if he didn't peg the first gone as Jennifer Z!

                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                        that chile relleno looked vile!

                                                                                                        1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                                          Agreed - someone on SkilletDoux's comments section said it looked like you'd get that at (the late, not-so-great) Chi-Chi's! LOL

                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                            I would guess that even a chile relleno from Chi Chi's would be better than that thing. You are cooking for Tom C. and Wolfgang at CUT (one of the finest steakhouses I have ever been to by the way) and you cook SEITAN!. Seitan, are you kidding me.

                                                                                                            1. re: chrismurphy92

                                                                                                              There's a reason that when pronounced seitan sounds a lot like satan.

                                                                                                              1. re: attran99

                                                                                                                Hey, leave seitan alone! Done well, it can be very good. I've made it as well as cooked with it and it's a lifesaver for vegans as it fills in for meat more seamlessly than tofu-based products in things like stroganoffs. That said, it can be salty and tough if mishandled. But I don't hear people dissing chicken even though another chef nearly went home over overcooking it!
                                                                                                                Hail seitan!

                                                                                                      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                        I really like her confidence. Its still early so I am not going to say that she is just like Casey, although the comparison could be extrinisc, i.e. skinny blond women chefs. I am interested in seeing what he reaction is when she screws up. A lot of times outwardly confident people are hiding a very insecure core, I want to see her screw up and own up to it. You did see some of that when she decided her plating for the QF was not great.

                                                                                                      3. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                                        Eric Ripert chose her to open one of his restaurants. That's all I really need to know about her to expect her to go a long way in this.

                                                                                                    2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                      LOL - - -re the red shirts!
                                                                                                      However, I liked the Puerto Rican chef and I hope he sticks around!
                                                                                                      I also liked the guy that won the elimination challenge.
                                                                                                      I think the Ripert woman is very good, and she might be a contender..
                                                                                                      The brothers seem obnoxious....and the French chef was very cute...
                                                                                                      I have a feeling there might be allot of "drama" from these chefs..but I' guess we'll have to wait and see...looking forward to it!

                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                        Gotta love the Star Trek: TOS reference!

                                                                                                        About the deep fried steak, I'd try it out of curosity. I like the chef's idea of making chicharrones, but with beef? Interesting and worth a bite or two.

                                                                                                        1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                          Am I then only one who thinks beef fried steak sounds good?
                                                                                                          I would love to try it!

                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                            I'd like to try it. Haven't these people heard of chicken fried steak? I'm surprised Art Smith didn't whip that out during Top Chef Masters.

                                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                              Good point!
                                                                                                              I believe the meat was smoked before deep frying - Seems like the oil would have "washed" the smoke off the meat.

                                                                                                              I wonder if deep frying first and then smoking would have been better way to achieve max smokiness?

                                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                Chicken-fried steak isn't deep-fried. Totally different dish.

                                                                                                        2. I wonder if we will see Eric Ripert as a judge this season since Jennifer is a CDC for him.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: Fritter

                                                                                                            My thought is we won't see him (I had noted this in the pre-thread re: this season when the cheftestant list was released). Bummah.

                                                                                                          2. What's with all the affectations this season?

                                                                                                            Girlboys/Boygirls

                                                                                                            Floor to ceiling tats

                                                                                                            Piercings in OUCH places

                                                                                                            Those EARS!

                                                                                                            Hair that hasn't been washed since Reagan was in office

                                                                                                            AND THAT RED SCARF

                                                                                                            16 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                              I can't understand why Jen Z. would go with something she's never done before on the very first challenge when you could do almost anything you want (within the confines of what's available at Whole Foods and being able to apply it to a vice).
                                                                                                              I like Jen C. and don't think the B word is appropriate. It seems to me that she is a very serious competitor and has mad skillz. I liked her remark about making the boys cry.
                                                                                                              Do they really deep fry steak in Puerto Rico?
                                                                                                              Agree with the comments about Wolfgang. The Fine Living Channel was replaying his old FoodTV show (maybe they still are). That was a very good show in my opinion, he showed a lot of usable technique for the home cook and that he was much more than the celebrity chef-munchkin to the stars.
                                                                                                              Looks like a lot of alcoholism potential with this crowd. I noticed a bomber of Arrogant Bastard in the stew room. I wonder if it was used in the cooking or if Stone Brewery is the official stew room beer supplier for this season.

                                                                                                              1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                Jen Z said on the show that the idea for her EC dish just 'came to her', but the truth is that it's on the menu at her restaurant in Philly (though she left the restaurant a couple weeks ago) and has been ever since the place opened almost a year ago. I didn't eat it on my one visit there, but based on what I did have it wasn't a shock to see her eliminated.

                                                                                                                Also, as you say, there were no restrictions on what they could cook for the EC and her main ingredient is store-bought seitan? I know seitan is hard to make but if you don't have the time to make it from scratch, make something else. I can't believe the cheftestants have seen 5 seasons of this show and still think they're going to get away with buying store-bought versions of ingredients they should be making by hand, like sausage and seitan.

                                                                                                                1. re: Buckethead

                                                                                                                  I hated that she kept blaming it on the seitan itself and how she kept saying "I took a risk" or whatever - ever aftyer Tom explained it wasn't the seitan - it was the taste of it and the poor preparation!
                                                                                                                  I'm glad she's gone -she would have gotten very irritating I think.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Buckethead

                                                                                                                    Really? I don't recall her saying it just came to her. It was my impression it was a dish she was very familiar with and made over and over again with seitan.
                                                                                                                    She did keep saying she took a risk, but made no apologies for using the seitan. I don't think she understood that it just didn't taste good. No matter what kind of risk you take, if the food isn't good you aren't gonna win!

                                                                                                                    1. re: sibeats

                                                                                                                      I caught her comments too. I have to assume that perhaps the editors might have had a hand in her not getting it.

                                                                                                                    2. re: Buckethead

                                                                                                                      I looooove seitan in its place, but this wasn't its place -- and you're exactly right: The premade stuff had no business in a dish like that. It was a very unchef-like choice all around.

                                                                                                                  2. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                    amen c. hamster! my thoughts exactly! I can't tell who's what yet! and mess!

                                                                                                                    1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                                                      ok i totally missed it- what is the EARS thing???

                                                                                                                      1. re: toncasmo

                                                                                                                        Check out Jen Z's ears: http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/video...

                                                                                                                        1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                          I can't get over that even the morning after, she doesn't get that she was eliminated, not for cooking seitan, but for cooking seitan POORLY. They told her repeatedly the dish wasn't good, whether it had seitan, or if she'd used chicken, pork of beef. I think she was eliminated not only for making a poor dish but, as she said she is, for being hot tempered and not listening. She's not willing to learn so why bother?

                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                            Chowser my sentiment exactly!
                                                                                                                            See my above post which I must have been typing the same time as you!

                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                              She even said her restaurant is meat-based...so why the heck didn't she use meat then? LOL But I guess this dish wouldn't have been saved either way - seitan or beef.

                                                                                                                              And even she knows she'll be remembered for her huge earrings.

                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                Technically are they earrings? or do they have a special name by those in the know?

                                                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                  Google to our rescue. I guess they're called "tunnels" or "gauges" when they're open like she was wearing. Plugs when they're solid.

                                                                                                                                  http://www.thechaingang.com/category_...

                                                                                                                            2. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                              i wasn't watching that closely and just thought they were pink or peach earrings! i've seen those before , especially in SF alot, but never quite that big!
                                                                                                                              thanks

                                                                                                                              1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                She'll be quite a sight at Harvard's 2025 Parents Weekend

                                                                                                                        2. This may need anpther thread, but has anyone else seen the Tom Colicchio ads for diet Coke? WTF? I know the man wants to make money, but Diet Coke?

                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                            and the am ex one for the urban angler - guess he likes to fish too.

                                                                                                                            1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                              Haven't see the Amex one, but the Diet Coke was on last year's TC, I believe.

                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                i actually saw both of them last night for the first time. i don't mind the AmEx small biz one, but it pissed me off that he's shilling for Diet Coke. what's with TC and the diet sodas? Dr. Pepper, Diet Coke...

                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                  TC = Tom Colicchio? Or Top Chef? LOL And if the former, he did one for Dr. Pepper as well? (I just can't see Colicchio doing the "I'm a Pepper, he's a Pepper, wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too?" dance <g>).

                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                    sorry, i meant Top Chef. didn't you see those uncomfortable Diet Dr. Pepper recipe challenge/commercials with Stephanie & [i think] Malarkey...?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                      Oh THOSE. Yes, they were horrible.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                              That's been around for...about a year?

                                                                                                                            3. I don't think this has already been addressed but I could be wrong... Did anyone else think it was really lame that Robyn (sp?), the one that pulled the gold chip did not want to give up her immunity to compete for $15,000? i thought it said a lot about her confidence and abilities in the kitchen. Even at an odds stand point...She had a 1 in 17 chance of being eliminated or a 1 in 5 chance of winning the quickfire. hell if I were here I would most certainly give up immunity to win that money!

                                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: liveloveat34

                                                                                                                                I thought it was smart of her to keep immunity. Her dish wasn't that good (or I don't remember them actually commenting on it). It also gave her the opportunity to lay low the first challenge and relax while seeing what everyone else could put out (hold her cards close to the chest).

                                                                                                                                But I do agree that she doesn't come across as confident.

                                                                                                                                1. re: liveloveat34

                                                                                                                                  I agree. I would have tossed that gold chip right back at the judges. What good does immunity do on the first round? If she is that worried about her ability she is not going to win any how. Might as well compete for the prize.
                                                                                                                                  Even with no extra prize I would have given it back on the first round. There is just no way I would allow myself to show that kind of weakness to my competition. Now if it were much later in the game that might be another issue.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Fritter

                                                                                                                                    that was exactly my sentiment as well- if she was weak enough to be eliminated first she might as well have had the chance to win some money- if not she would be gone soon enough anyways. I guess I'm just a super competiitve person but I don't think I would feel right just watching people around me compete if I had the chance to as well.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: liveloveat34

                                                                                                                                      i disagree. she's taking the competition more seriously than just a quick rake in of money. this game is about lasting til the end. immunity is something to be sought, and not easily tossed away.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                        The end prize is $100k. She didn't even try to win $15k. In any case, she's not gonna last very long.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                          Actually, they upped it to $125K this season. I agree with thew's assessment.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                            i could understand holding onto immunity if there were only a few left but at this point if you are on the bottom you dont stand a chance anyway- holding onto immunity was not a make or break

                                                                                                                                            1. re: liveloveat34

                                                                                                                                              Which brings up the question: why even offer immunity in the first elimination? Last season the cut two out in the first eliminations. Its as if they couldn't add correctly and are trying to make up for mistakes.

                                                                                                                                              "Doh! We got one too many, its not an even number, lets give her immunity."

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                right! i was secretly hoping they would just eliminate two from the start. it just seems like having immunity the first round wasn't a big deal. It's not like she earned it anyway. I stand firm believing it showed lack of confidence and not a strategy move.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                  "why even offer immunity in the first elimination?"

                                                                                                                                                  To see if any one was weak or foolish enough to keep it.
                                                                                                                                                  Those who doubt their own abilities will be avoided by the other Chef's with more skill and confidence. If you value immunity on the first round then you have a zero chance of winning.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Fritter

                                                                                                                                                    i don;t think it's about doubt. we have seen strong chefs get eliminated all the time on this show.It only takes one misstep, or one challenge you aren't comfortable with to get sent home. immunity is the plum you seek in the QF week after week.
                                                                                                                                                    She decided that the guarantee of not getting kicked off was worth more than $15,000. I think i would have done the same.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Fritter

                                                                                                                                                      I really don't think the producers are that far sighted. I think the numbers just didn't work out. But then again, they could be that sneaky.

                                                                                                                                    2. I could not believe that CroMagnan used the sex card within the first ten minutes. . . pissed me off no end!!! I am glad that Jennifer's team ultimately beat his team .. ..and I hope she whoops his ass regularly. grrr . . I cannot stand that "women shouldn't be in a kitchen" thing.

                                                                                                                                      Um, anyone else notice Kevin's remarkable resemblance to Heat Meister? zoiks! Lots of tats which is standard these days for the under 30 set in the kitchen .. yet another extreme that most chefs embrace in a career full of extremes.

                                                                                                                                      What Jennifer failed to grasp was the fact that it had nothing to do with seitan. . .the dish failed on many other levels but she's always going to tell herself and anyone who will listen that she got eliminated for "taking a chance" when in reality she got eliminated for not knowing how to properly execute a dish on enough levels that over cooked shrimp, flaccid scallops and a curry sauce with zero depth still beat her. I am sure that's a bitter pill. I, too, am glad that I won't have to stare at those holes for more episodes. . . it gives me the squeebies to look at.

                                                                                                                                      Padma is b-o-r-i-n-g - I like Tom as I feel like he's a fairly straight shooter and Gail adds a nice balance of sparkling personality with constructive criticism.

                                                                                                                                      I just love this show so I am happy it's on again .. I am pleased that the chefs seem to actually have skill and I look forward to watching more! Please for the love of god, can we please see a chef this season who doesn't once again say "I don't have any pastry experience, I am screwed." Come on . . .sixth season. . it's time to step in to the pastry station and let your pastry chefs teach you a few standards to pull out of your goodie bag!

                                                                                                                                      34 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: pastryqueen

                                                                                                                                        I agree, any chef that comes in without being ready to knock out at least 3 desserts deserves to be sent packing.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: pastryqueen

                                                                                                                                          As a foil to Cro-Magnon Michael, you have Jennifer C who takes pride in making male chefs cry. :-)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                            i agree. if you think he's awful than her comments ought to be as well.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                              Disagree, typically women have a tougher go of it in restaurant kitchens. I think her message was that through hard work and attitude she has been able to develop a thick skin and turn the tables. I don't see it as being dismissive of men's capabilities in the kitchen whereas Michael's comments implied that losing to any women would a loss to a sub-standard chef.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                I don't find Jennifer C.'s comment distasteful as I know from personal experience that she is a product of her environment. . .if she can eat guys like Michael for breakfast then good on her. . .I am sure she dealt with things from macho line dogs that you can't imagine - be a woman in a kitchen run by the likes of guys like Michael and you're either going to leave the profession or turn into someone like Jennifer. I don't necessarily like that Jennifer has to be tough as nails like that but I understand it.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: pastryqueen

                                                                                                                                                  fair enough

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                    no it isn't. but somehow we tolerate sexism from women better than sexism towards them.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                      Perhaps because women have had to deal with having sexism directed towards them for a very long time, where men have not?

                                                                                                                                                      Why is it that women were the gender expected to cook most/all of the food in the home kitchens, but they don't get the respect in the professional kitchens because men have dominated there for so long?

                                                                                                                                                      Why can men act like asses in the boardroom (or the kitchen) and it is proclaimed that they're "direct and in charge" but when women do the exact same thing, they're termed bitches?

                                                                                                                                                      As pastryqueen said, Jennifer C. is a product of her environment...she's had to deal with the sexism in her career, so she's had to learn to give as well as she's gotten in addition to cooking circles around the guys to be able to prove herself.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                        i understand the whys. but i dont think it makes it right. I'd go on with some anectdotes and some analagous situations, but this being CH they would vanish rather quickly

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                          i personally don't like either of them but don't find either of them that villianous. and i do (as mentioned above) find it comparable.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                            i personally don't like either of them but don't find either of them that villianous. and i do (as mentioned above) find it comparable.
                                                                                                                                                            ***
                                                                                                                                                            Agree, both are annoying but nothing to get worked up about.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                        I totally agree thew -
                                                                                                                                                        if it was a man who had said :"I've made pleanty of woman cry in the kitchen"
                                                                                                                                                        That would infuriate me - so why dos SHE have to bring sex into it?
                                                                                                                                                        Why not just say "I've made plenty of people cry in the kitchen"
                                                                                                                                                        Which still isn't a nice thing to be proud of as far as I'm concerned.

                                                                                                                                                        There was plent of Miched Chiarello hate on the other booard for exactly that.
                                                                                                                                                        I HATE DOUBLE standards folks

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                          seemed to me that jen's "make the boys cry" comment was in direct response (perhaps prompted by an interviewer, & perhaps edited for max impact-- this is "reality" t.v!) to some of mike i's sexist comments, such as his assumption that she (being female) would be e. ripert's pastry chef rather than the exec, etc. with the head-to-head clam race and the edited comments, the crew is obviously trying to set up the appearance of a rivalry between these two, but they only have the cheftestants' comments to work with: mike's was something like: "a 'girl' can't be at the same level as me" (sexist), jen's was: "dang, he beat me" (not sexist, statement of fact).

                                                                                                                                                          if you haven't worked in such an incredibly sexist field (& it's some other "ists" as well!), you have no idea. her comment does not imply she makes *all* men cry, or that she doesn't make *women* cry as well. it does imply that she fights this sexist attitude constantly from the old guard who firmly believe that women do not belong in pro kitchens. she's talking about making *them* cry, which is done by being very skilled and working one's ass off, and having to be tough as nails--tougher and more dedicated than the ones who would put you down. good on her. i'm rooting for her, just like i root for the tough women in other male-dominated fields, and the tough men in female-dominated fields, who constantly have to prove themselves not only as good, but better than their compatriots, just to be seen as "as good." i suspect that jen has no problem with her male colleagues who are not sexist, but mike i can't conceive of any female being 1) as good as he is 2) in an exec position. there are a lot of males in the culinary world who refuse to take an order from a female exec, *especially* in french restaurants. jen has certainly had to fight tooth and nail for the position she holds. it is NOT a double standard when the reality is women have to work so much harder than men in this field. when women chefs do become successful, there is always someone criticizing them in negative terms for being "bitchy," "not nice," or "neurotic," while the same attributes in male exec chefs are termed: "commanding," "uncompromising," "perfectionist." now *that's* a bunch of sexist b.s. and women chefs are sick of it. do you really think any exec can be nice all the time?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                            Well put soup. When women are coal miners, union carpenters or chefs they have to fight for every inch of success. When men are elementary school teachers, nurses or day care providers they have to fight for the respect of their peers. But TC isn't Top Nurse, so we don't get those quotes from men on this show.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                              Hear, hear, soupkitten.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                            <but somehow we tolerate sexism from women better than sexism towards them.>

                                                                                                                                                            That's because in most cases sexism FROM women is the product of sexism TOWARDS them.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                              That's because in most cases sexism FROM women is the product of sexism TOWARDS them.
                                                                                                                                                              ****
                                                                                                                                                              While that may be the case generally but to say it is the case here is pure speculation and rationalization. Even assuming that Jen is making a direct response to Mike's comments, it's still not justified (unless you believe in the Old Testament eye for an eye kind of retribution system).

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                and that makes it ok????

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                  makes what ok? the statements by the two contestants are not analogous-- people are just being harder on the female *because she's female.* since she's female, she's supposed to be "nice" all the time, & never supposed to be "mean"--apparently she's not even allowed to verbally defend herself or her professional position in the face of sexist naysayers.

                                                                                                                                                                  if jen had said "there is no possible way any 'boy' could be at the same level as *i* am"--then you'd have a point. but it didn't happen. jen didn't say anything that was in any way analogous to what mike i said. wait and see-- she'll work fine in teams alongside men, but he won't be able to work with women, and it will be costly in the long run, either on the show or in the real world.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                    If she had said "I make PEOPLE in the kitchen cry all the time"
                                                                                                                                                                    There would be uproar on this board about how mean she is....
                                                                                                                                                                    But because she said she makes "boys " cry
                                                                                                                                                                    somehow in today's society that statement is okay.
                                                                                                                                                                    It's not.
                                                                                                                                                                    It really is reverse discrimination.

                                                                                                                                                                    She is a chef. A good chef. Male/female should not be brought up.

                                                                                                                                                                    Sure we as females have had to fight for equality, but the sexisim will never end until we let it go.
                                                                                                                                                                    We will be the ones who will continue to seperate ourselves from males thus the vicious cycle of prejudice contiues.

                                                                                                                                                                    I

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                      *sigh*

                                                                                                                                                                      if a chef says: "i've make people cry in the kitchen," that's pretty normal. especially at the higher level places (see also gordon ramsay). unless it's a female chef who says it, and in that case, she's obviously a big meanie bitch.

                                                                                                                                                                      being assertive is not the same thing as being mean. being confident is not the same as being "bitchy." having no time for someone who dehumanizes you because of your gender, race, ethnicity, preference, etc. does not equal "reverse discrimination." what do you think jen should have done in response to mike i's statements-- maybe she should have said "boys will be boys" & baked him a cake?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                        I re-watched the episode last night, and she made the comment in the interview room, not in response to mike's comment, but more likely prompted by the producer.
                                                                                                                                                                        For the recored, I like Jen and think she is going to do really well on TC, and her comment isnt half as offensive as Mikes.
                                                                                                                                                                        ALL I am saying is that if we ever want to be seen as equals we need to stop seperating ourselves.
                                                                                                                                                                        I have seen it allot on TC over the seasons
                                                                                                                                                                        Last year - Carla - who I LOVED - said something like "I would love to see an all female finale"
                                                                                                                                                                        The comment annoyed me because I know if a man had said "I would like an all-male" finale - it would come across as sexist and stupid. Would it not?
                                                                                                                                                                        So why is it okay for a woman to say it?
                                                                                                                                                                        Why do woman still have to do that boys against girls thing? It just seems so immature.
                                                                                                                                                                        That's all I'm saying.
                                                                                                                                                                        When a girl is nasty people will say she is a "bitch", but if it's a guy - he's an ass...
                                                                                                                                                                        ass, bitch...they are both negative words.....

                                                                                                                                                                        Alls I'm saying is I don't like any labels attached - "female chef, gay chef, black, fat whatever ....
                                                                                                                                                                        people are all people
                                                                                                                                                                        chefs are chefs
                                                                                                                                                                        We need to step up as females and show our equality!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                          what do you think jen should have done in response to mike i's statements-- maybe she should have said "boys will be boys" & baked him a cake?
                                                                                                                                                                          ****
                                                                                                                                                                          Nothing that we saw (as supported by Nelly's rewatching) suggests that Jen made that comment in response to Mike. You just assumed it was and rationalized why it's okay for a woman to respond in kind to a misogynist. There's also the possibility she made that comment not in response to Mike, and she's simply a man-hater.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                        soupk - lets follow again step by step - sometimes the threads make it hard to follow

                                                                                                                                                                        i said:
                                                                                                                                                                        <but somehow we tolerate sexism from women better than sexism towards them.>

                                                                                                                                                                        june said:
                                                                                                                                                                        "That's because in most cases sexism FROM women is the product of sexism TOWARDS them."

                                                                                                                                                                        i replied

                                                                                                                                                                        "and that makes it ok????"

                                                                                                                                                                        in other words june seemed to be saying that the proper response to bigotry is more bigotry.

                                                                                                                                                                        I don't agree.

                                                                                                                                                                        nor do i agree with mikes asshatery either

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                          ok cool-- i made my point & i'm done. . . pretty sure everyone's gonna show their true colors by the end of the season one way or another, & we all may have a different take on these folks by next week anyway--or else the editors aren't doing a very good job ;-P

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                            ok cool-- i made my point & i'm done. . . pretty sure everyone's gonna show their true colors by the end of the season one way or another, & we all may have a different take on these folks by next week anyway--or else the editors aren't doing a very good job ;-P
                                                                                                                                                                            ****
                                                                                                                                                                            agreed....maybe Mike will admit he just got dumped by a girl and that's why he's acting like a dick next week (although I doubt it).

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                              it's interesting.. i find "no way i'm getting beaten by a girl" less offensive than "i make boys cry all the time". and i'm a girl. because mike's comment is to himself and to motivate himself and her comment is actually about having a negative impact on someone else.

                                                                                                                                                                              i've never been a chef but i made it in a pretty male dominated field where people often assume i have a different job than i do because i'm a woman. and it's still ok. and i'd still never want to make anyone cry. because that says something about who i am. and i wouldn't want anyone to beat me because that says something about me too (boy or girl) and i'm okay with that.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                "and i'd still never want to make anyone cry. because that says something about who i am."

                                                                                                                                                                                who said anything about anyone *wanting* to make anyone else cry? i don't think any exec chef, or business exec, etc. goes into work thinking to her/himself "now who am i going to make cry today?" but it does happen. people who are in executive positions sometimes need to have unpleasant talks with other people. they need to demand excellence from employees, if they are in a competitive field like restaurants or finance, or where people's lives are on the line and there needs to be a high level of performance, like medicine. an exec chef might need to confront a supplier who sends an inferior product and dress that person down-- if they just accept the delivery, their whole menu and service will suffer, while the supplier gives their best product to the competing chef across town instead. anyone who is an exec has to be able to *fire* someone, fer fook's sake--and if you think that something like that is pleasant, or that nobody cries, and that everyone thinks it's fine. . . whatever. nobody in their right mind enjoys having to do something like that, but execs need to have the stomach for it. or the balls. or the spine. or the mental and emotional wherewithal. if a person can't handle interpersonal conflict, or wants to be everybody's friend all the time, or can't speak up for themselves/their crew/their company, they probably aren't fit to be the boss.

                                                                                                                                                                                eric ripert obviously thinks jen possesses the characteristics of someone fit to be the boss of one of his restaurants. doubt she got to that level by being a shrinking violet, being passive-aggressive, or being wishy-washy when it comes to other employees' quality of work or the excellence of the product they put out. people tend to be very direct in kitchens. if a chef can't handle the idea of interpersonal conflict/"making" anyone cry, s/he is totally unfit for working at an exec level.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                  You're correct that an executive *anything* has to be able to make tough decisions, exercise authority, and sometimes take unpleasant action that will result in someone crying.

                                                                                                                                                                                  However, I think you are naive -- or perhaps just lucky -- if you think that there aren't people out there who believe the way to be the boss is to bully and intimidate people, to demonstrate their power by being unfair and capricious, and yes, to make people cry.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I was unfortunate to have one of those bosses, and when the upper management caught on and finally removed her, it took *years* to undo the culture of fear and intimidation she left behind. In a kitchen where a certain amount of macho seems to be expected, that kind of boss can flourish. Unfortunately, some people don't know the difference between being assertive and authoritative and being a mean-spirited bully.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                    you're right, of course, that there are nightmare corporate bosses and nightmare chefs out there. some people are sociopaths and when they get any power, look out. david bouley is supposed to be an a-hole to work for-- dh worked (uh. . . *very* briefly ;-P) for a local chef with a rep for being much the same. they exist, but often you can tell a lot by the staff turnover, and their restaurants tend to fail quickly and spectacularly.

                                                                                                                                                                                    though i'm sorry to hear that you had a bad experience yourself, maybe it's different when the stakes are higher? chefs can't actually create the "culture of fear and intimidation" you describe, because there's generally enough competition among restaurants that people can simply leave and get a job at another restaurant. ime, people on the pay-scale of kitchen employees will certainly jump ship if they feel they are being treated unfairly, they aren't helpless sheep. chefs actually have to retain their best people by making those folks *want* to work for them/the establishment, because in most cases, they aren't holding huge financial benefits over the employee. the people who generally rise to the top are tough but fair, and they'll encourage, mentor & promote other folks who show promise & passion. their staffs can be fanatically loyal in many/most cases, this is well documented. the bullies get weeded out and kind of drift around without a loyal crew to support them. i don't think a competent chef like ripert would appoint someone as an exec that his crew wouldn't want to work for. why--what are the anti-jen folks trying to say?

                                                                                                                                                                                    i don't think we'd be having this conversation if jen was a male chef--it all seems very 1973 to me. i also reject the line of thinking that women can't be execs because they are women, or that they need to haul around male "handlers" or some such, to do the dirty work/personal confrontation for them. there is nothing wrong with a (female or male) exec giving an order or expecting excellent work from an employee. there is likewise nothing wrong with her/him coming down like a load of bricks on that person if they don't perform their job well or are insubordinate or lazy or unsanitary or snarky or abusive to another employee. if you run a tight ship, egos will occasionally clash, and you'll get a confrontation. sometimes people yell. sometimes people cry. chances are, everyone will express themselves in direct and healthy ways and have a beer together afterward, and it's a day in the life. it doesn't need to be complicated.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                      I support what you've said, for the most part. As to having this discussion about fear and intimidation in the kitchen, if Jen were male, it has happened under Michael Chiarello. He's been slammed for it in the TCM thread. It'll be interesting to see if she falls more in line with his running the kitchen or just runs a tight ship where occasionally egos collide. What if MC has said, proudly, he runs a tight ship and has made people cry, being proud of the fact? Would you support that?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                        i don't know about MC, so i couldn't specifically say one way or another in that particular case.

                                                                                                                                                                                        a lot of folks in competitive fields are invested in what they do. for instance, there are great, & recognized sports coaches, and military officers who have "made people cry" but the soldiers and athletes who did the crying will be the first to say that they, and/or their teams, became the better for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                        in artistic fields, you have another level of emotional investment. if we judged orchestra conductors, for example, on how easygoing and non-demanding of their players they are. . . we wouldn't have much good music.

                                                                                                                                                                                        restaurant work is neither the most artistic, nor the most competitive field there is, but both elements come into play often enough that emotional, invested, physically exhausted people will at times behave emotionally, like real people. it's not as if i spend my time methodically breaking people down emotionally, but people do break down. nobody thinks any less of anyone--we're all friends & family, after all.

                                                                                                                                                                                        i realize that many people work in analytic fields where it may be considered unprofessional to show emotion or encourage displays of emotion in other people. folks are apparently supposed to operate like gears or computer servers-- whatever. i will be the first to admit that i don't get the concept of not being emotionally invested in my work-- i wouldn't be good at a job requiring emotional detachment, like air traffic controller or prostitute or parking lot attendant. my job has to do with people-- their desires and their motivations and their comforts. i have to be emotionally invested in my job, and i don't have any use for people who don't want to be emotionally invested. there are plenty of corporate america jobs for folks like that-- & i think it's great that there are jobs suited for different kinds of people. i don't go around making judgments about people who want to have a different job than i do, or calling them derogatory names. it takes all types.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                    she just seemed proud of having made many boys cry is all. i am proud that when i was in charge in a VERY stressful environment (beats a kitchen is all i have to say) no one under me - male or female - had to cry. at least not because of me. it certainly was a job that could bring you to it.

                                                                                                                                                                                    i agree that there is nothing wrong with being tough. helps you succeed. don't think bitchiness is a prerequisite however.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Many women, even today, aren't socialized to be leaders. So they often try to copy what they see as successful leadership behavior in men. In other words, they take stereotypical male "boss" behavior and take it to an extreme.

                                                                                                                                                                                      It's unfortunate but true that often a woman can only be taken seriously if she plays the "tough guy" role. A male chef can afford to be a nice guy. A female chef who tries that style is likely to have her authority challenged by the men working under her.

                                                                                                                                                      3. This is my favorite group of contestants yet! I've never been so enthused to see the next TC episode! Already an assortment of interesting chefs to watch, and one distinct villian!

                                                                                                                                                        1. Did anyone else find it jarring to go from Top Chef Masters to Top Chef? I think a part of it is the sheer number of chefs in TC and the generation gap. Al the young and ambitious younger chefs versus the older and wiser chefs.

                                                                                                                                                          But the most surprising things were the dishes. It just seemed like the TCM judges were really hard pressed to find something wrong with the dishes while the TC judges had more than enough to say. Which is a huge part of the appeal, if the chefs didn't screw up, Bourdain, Puck, and the rest would not have a chance to give them their best lines.

                                                                                                                                                          More than once I found myself saying: "What a dumbass idea!" Or "How could you screw that up, you moron?" All the while knowing that these guys are really excellent professionals. But the TC Masters make it look so effortless.

                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                            I do think the TCM judges were purposely deferential to the TCM contestants in their comments, for all the obvious reasons given their reps in the industry and their pedigrees.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                              Many viewers seem to keep forgetting that the shows are edited.

                                                                                                                                                              http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showt...

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: youngho

                                                                                                                                                                How could one forget? I've read Bayless's own blog accounts of TCM, so I've seen the references to critical comments that weren't in the edit. However, even including what may have been left on the cutting room floor, I do believe that the judges were more solicitous on TCM than on the regular seasons, where they are sometimes incredibly harsh. But regular TC contestants are putting themselves out there to win for themselves, they haven't been personally invited by the producers to compete for charity, so the difference seems warranted.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                  Well, there was some conflict like the Oseland/Rodriguez friction that didn't make it to the show, regardless of reps or pedigrees. The thing is, I do think that you just can't compare the last few episodes of Masters to the typical episodes of the regular Top Chef. The judges are different, so there isn't Toby Young trying to sound clever (there's a whole British tradition of harsh criticism). The contestants are simply performing at different level. You wouldn't accuse the stopwatch of being deferential in the semifinals and finals of Olympic races compared to the qualifying time trials. The mistakes on TCM were still probably not as bad as, say, seitan-stuffed poblanos. I thought the chefs on TCM generally seemed to actually listen to the criticism, take it much harder, and realize and rue their mistakes more obviously than many of the contestants on the regular Top Chef (I'm thinking of three of the bottom four chefs from the first episode of Las Vegas). Lastly, I do think that most of the Top Chef Masters only realized how difficult the challenges actually were when they were competing, themselves, so it will be interesting to see if any of them return as guest judges, and if so, whether their criticism is moderated.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: youngho

                                                                                                                                                                    Good points, and one of them was definitely made in threads here over the course of TCM: that the TCM contestants very much seemed to listen to and assimilate the criticism they received in a way most TC contestants haven't over the 5 regular seasons so far. Now, that the TCM chefs are older and very successful speaks to that, because they probably didn't get where they are by being combative and stubborn with mentors and others giving them constructive feedback instead of being open to it. I'm also willing to bet that some of them were receptive to the judges' feedback in this context in part because they had played the judge's role before themselves.

                                                                                                                                                          2. I like the Ripert woman, the younger of the 2 brothers and the fat bearded guy that won it.

                                                                                                                                                            1. final 3: kevin, jen, bryan. to win: kevin. hey, it's fun to try to call it early. i'm probably biased because i've heard that kevin is a hell of a chef.

                                                                                                                                                              hurts me to say this, but the next 3/4 to go. . . will be females. shouldn't eve be picking up the boys from hockey? preeti is such a corporate chef it hurts. hey preeti-- to open clams, all you need to do is get some scissors and cut thru the cryovac--*duh*. i'd guess that robin has 3-4 good dishes in her. i'd guess laurine does not. jesse was so distraught by her poor first performance that it makes me think that she might actually be a very good cook, just thrown out of her element. maybe she'll bounce back, maybe not. can't tell about ashley-- she and ash are currently in the forgettable file, next to mattin, in the forgettable and french file. michael v. the kid brother is going to get on my nerves with the "i'm better than my bro" stuff. he'll be shocked when he goes home, along with hector. ron will be criticized for not switching up his style in five, four, three. . .

                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                and jesse did well in that first quickfire so she's got something in her.

                                                                                                                                                              2. Can't decide whether to call this season "Tub Chef" or "Tat Chef".

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jetfuel

                                                                                                                                                                  Snort. How about Top Chub? Tunnel Chef? (Nose) ring in the new season!

                                                                                                                                                                2. Check out the Wpost chat on dining today--lots of discussion of TC and certain sexist comments. Sounds like there are going to be a lot of canceled reservations in D.C.

                                                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                                                                    Interesting....so Isabella says he has been friends with Jen since before the show, and he's a sarcastic person as a reason for saying what he said?

                                                                                                                                                                    "He thinks "Top Chef" producers wanted to "hype it up" in advance of tonight's segment, which pits the male and female chefs against one another.

                                                                                                                                                                    Did he mean what he said, though? Isabella says he doesn't. "Half my staff is female," he says.

                                                                                                                                                                    His boss's advice: Focus on the challenge and "don't read the blogs," counseled Jose Andres. "

                                                                                                                                                                    So why would he have said what he said if he doesn't mean it?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                      I can't read the bit from work (blocked) - but i did have a feeling he was "prompted" by the producers to be "over the top".....as was Jen's "Boys" statement. IMO

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                        Perhaps. But hopefully he would have seen past seasons before going on the show, and how things can bounce back against you in a very bad way if you say something you don't mean. Wouldn't you think they'd be a bit more circumspect in what they actually say?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                          You'd think, but it's amazing what the producers elicit from contestants who have much to gain/lose in a professional capacity on creative competition-oriented shows like TC and Project Runway that shows them in a poor light, character-wise, or the stupidity they'll get up to on their own, considering the cameras are essentially on them 24/7 *cough*LeahHosea*cough*.

                                                                                                                                                                          It shows that most people who will put themselves out there on these shows (not even to speak of competition-for-the-sake-of-$$/fame shows like Survivor) are readily enough manipulated by producers looking to elicit controversy and colorful storylines, whether they end up playing into it or simply showing their true colors. I can think of precious few TC contestants over the past 5 seasons who consistently stayed above the fray.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                        I initially took his comment to mean that he shouldn't lose in opening the clams because of the strength involved in doing so, and based on physical appearance, he seemed to be stronger than her. But since I've never done that, I really have no idea whether arm/wrist strength is an important factor in opening them.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: abrocadabro

                                                                                                                                                                          I initially took his comment to mean that he shouldn't lose in opening the clams because of the strength involved in doing so, and based on physical appearance, he seemed to be stronger than her. But since I've never done that, I really have no idea whether arm/wrist strength is an important factor in opening them.
                                                                                                                                                                          ********
                                                                                                                                                                          That is a generous interpretation of his statement but a plausible one given the context in which he said it. If that's the case, I can hardly find any offense in it but obviously there are many over the top PC people in DC who can get really worked up over something trivial.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: abrocadabro

                                                                                                                                                                            Ohhhhh yeaaaahhhh....This was my husband's response as well. That it was a strength issue. Which, to me, would make the comment pretty innocuous. I read this whole thread tonight and had completely forgotten about that until I just read your post. I personally think Mike sounded like a jerk, but perhaps that is what the producers wanted me to think. But, didn't he also say something not-so-nice about getting rid of an old lady, or something like that? If so, that would be pretty jerky.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                                                                          Here's that chat, with response by Mike I., via Tom Sietsema: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

                                                                                                                                                                        3. That is a very good point - i hadn't looked at it that way at all (about her strength)..

                                                                                                                                                                          Linda - i agree - but some folks like to stir up a bit of controversey! (He will be remembered!)
                                                                                                                                                                          But I think it could very well be he was speaking in terms of her physical strength!

                                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, but being remembered in that way (see: Spike and Dale) isn't always a good thing. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                              So I wonder what he really meant when he said "one less old lady" for him to worry about.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dmjordan

                                                                                                                                                                                What's wrong with that? My god, do we need to describe everyone in gender neutral terms?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, I think that comment was ageist...... we can count -ist comments tonight.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                    LOL...better make it a drinking game.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                                    No, don't be ridiculous. Mike made the comment about a getting beat by a girl and someone posited that he was referring to losing a contest which relied on strength to a woman. I thought that was a reeeeeaaal stretch, so I was just wondering what the true meaning was behind the other comment.