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

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

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  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: 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.

                            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

                                                  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...

                          1. 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.

                                                                          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....