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Top Chef Vegas Ep. #2 - 08/26/09 (spoilers)

LindaWhit Aug 26, 2009 07:16 PM

Interesting Quickfire - roll the dice at a craps table and make something with the combined number that comes up as the # of ingredients you must use.

Jen is in the Top 3 again, but Michael V. wins (while his brother is in the Bottom 3).

For the Elimination challenge, it's a Bachelor and Bachelorette Party - and it's a Guys vs. Gals challenge. This ought to be interesting. Food that has to be paired with three different shots? Moscow Mule, shot of tequila, and a Golden Delicious. Oy.

  1. suzanne0115 Aug 26, 2009 07:20 PM

    Why waste the talents of these chefs on pairing with SHOTS??

    1 Reply
    1. re: suzanne0115
      a
      araknd Aug 28, 2009 09:39 AM

      I think that it was primarily to see how creative the cheftestants can be. Pairing with shots is difficult to do as we saw. It's hard enough for some chefs to pair wine with their food, much less something as sickly as a "golden delicious" or a "Moscow Mule". Ugh.

    2. goodhealthgourmet Aug 26, 2009 07:22 PM

      does anyone else find it *incredibly* annoying that some of these grown men & women are referring to themselves as "boys" and "girls?" ugh.

      3 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
        a
        AMFM Aug 26, 2009 07:28 PM

        although i think some that were doing so were doing so because they too didn't like the labels.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
          a
          araknd Aug 28, 2009 09:40 AM

          I was not annoyed at all. I'm over 55 and have no problem being referred to as a boy. What's the big deal?

          1. re: araknd
            goodhealthgourmet Aug 28, 2009 11:11 AM

            see, i don't understand *why* anyone would be inclined to refer to you as a boy at your age. it's bizarre, and IMHO, juvenile.

            these chefs are grown men and women, not adolescents, and i think it makes them sound childish and immature. perhaps i'm a bit sensitive to it after spending most of my adult life in situations where i've had to fight to be taken seriously. but i can't stand it when someone calls me a "girl" because it's often been done in a manner that i find quite condescending...and i just think it's odd to refer to a grown man as a boy. we have age-specific terms in our language for a reason.

        2. theferlyone Aug 26, 2009 07:41 PM

          Ok, seriously, what happened to this being a food show? I don't care who's sponsoring the next 15 seconds, nor do I care about the cheftestants' personal feelings about the challenge. I don't want to start a flame war here, but how exactly does a chef's sexuality affect the food?This doesn't strike me as an appropriate forum for the chefs to share their struggles, and I feel like the producers are trying to get people talking for the wrong reasons. I swear, next week, I'm going to time how much of the show is spent on food vs. how much is spent on drama. If any of the chefs refuse to participate in the wedding challenge that we all know is coming, I'm done.

          82 Replies
          1. re: theferlyone
            q
            QSheba Aug 26, 2009 10:00 PM

            I agree. If I wanted to watch politics, I'd flip the channel to CSPAN. I don't care who someone sleeps with, what kind of car they drive or what party they vote with- I want to see them cook. The producers should stop baiting for all this whining and drama (chauvinism, ageism, gay rights, etc.) and focus on what sets Top Chef apart from other "reality" shows- the cooking!

            PS- I really like Jessie C and she clearly is very talented....but why can't she say Seh-Vee-Cheh- not "Suh-Veech" ?!?!?! This is bugging me almost as much as when people say "Chip- ol-tee" instead of "Chip-ote-leh"....AGH!

            1. re: QSheba
              r
              Reignking Aug 27, 2009 06:38 AM

              If they wanted to mention it once, fine, but they kept on it. Bad editing.

              Yes, "cevich" is very annoying.

              1. re: Reignking
                j
                JayEsBee Aug 27, 2009 07:02 PM

                Richard Blais discusses, and defends, Jen's procunciation here:

                http://blogs.creativeloafing.com/omni...

                1. re: JayEsBee
                  s
                  sugarbuzz Aug 27, 2009 09:09 PM

                  Speaking of Blais..did he get a nose job? or something done? That pic on his Bravo blog looks really weird & not like him at all!

                  1. re: sugarbuzz
                    m
                    momjamin Aug 28, 2009 07:01 AM

                    Just a different 'do, which frames his face differently. Slightly larger smile than we usually see. Maybe lost a little weight in the jowls. (Someone mentioned a vegan experiment.)

                     
                     
                    1. re: sugarbuzz
                      NellyNel Aug 31, 2009 06:32 AM

                      Wow - you werent kidding - he DOES look weird in that pic!

                2. re: QSheba
                  Ima Wurdibitsch Aug 27, 2009 01:22 PM

                  There are numerous ways to (correctly) pronounce or spell ceviche.

                  1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch
                    q
                    QSheba Aug 27, 2009 09:29 PM

                    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ceviche

                    Listen to the pronunciation on Merriam-Webster online. It is seh-veech-eh. It's a Latin American dish and the "e" on the end is NOT silent, it is pronounced "eh"/"ey". Repeat: It is NOT a French dish and should not be pronounced as if it were of French origin- regardless of what Blais says. Should we say "Tor -till- uh" instead of "tor-tee-yah" and then claim it's the "French" pronunciation? Ask Rick Bayless -not Richard Blais to pronounce ceviche:-P

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceviche

                    Nothing about France/French is even mentioned.

                    1. re: QSheba
                      thew Aug 28, 2009 05:47 AM

                      just to play devil's advocate - do you say paree, or paris? do you call the language german or deutch? do you call the place espana or spain?

                      she probably learned the dish from a french chef, and thud learned the french pronunciation.

                      1. re: thew
                        e
                        Evilbanana11 Aug 28, 2009 06:21 AM

                        I agree with you, it's like complaining that someone says courgette instead of zucchini. She worked in a French kitchen and that's how they say it in French(and that is the correct FRENCH pronunciation).

                        1. re: thew
                          Ruth Lafler Aug 28, 2009 02:03 PM

                          I expect people to pronounce something either (a) the accepted pronunciation in their native language, or (b) the "correct" way for for the language of the term's origin. Copying the way a French person pronounces a Spanish word is not an acceptible variation for an Anglophone American, IMHO. Furthermore, if Jen really had never heard the term "ceviche" before she worked for Ripert, then I'm not impressed with her level of culinary knowledge or training.

                          However, I will admit that an Anglophone American copying the way a French person pronounces a Spanish word is not quite as ridiculous as an Anglophone American copying the way a French person pronounces an English word, like "Swiss Chard."

                        2. re: QSheba
                          Ima Wurdibitsch Aug 28, 2009 06:59 AM

                          From Clifford A. Wright, Winner of the James Beard/ KitchenAid Cookbook of the Year 2000 and Winner of the Beard Award for the Best Writing on Food 2000:

                          "The Latin American Spanish word seviche comes from the Iberian Spanish escabeche, also called schebbeci in Sicily, a word that means “marinated fish.” The Arabs ruled both Spain and Sicily for centuries, and as a result the word escabeche can be traced to the dialectal Arabic word iskibaj, which the great lexicographer Joan Corominas describes as deriving from the older sikbaj, meaning “a kind of meat with vinegar and other ingredients.” "

                          link - http://www.cliffordawright.com/caw/fo...

                    2. re: theferlyone
                      HabaneroJane Aug 27, 2009 06:03 AM

                      I SO agree. their politics should not play in this show. it's vegas, honey. that was so annoying how she kept harping on her views on marriage. ugh.

                      1. re: HabaneroJane
                        g
                        grant.cook Aug 27, 2009 06:18 AM

                        The first time she mentioned it, I was okay - she made her point, and it was well worth raising. But then it seemed like she continued to mope, even when the event was starting.. frankly, at that point she needed to get off her my-own-personal-justice-self-centered pedestal. For those people, this was a special event, and her role as a chef at that point was to help make it the best it could possibly be.

                        1. re: grant.cook
                          n
                          newhavener07 Aug 27, 2009 06:44 AM

                          I disagree. I think she had a good point--and a national forum to make that point in--and I'm glad the producers gave her time to discuss the issue. Why should someone's "special event" erase the fact that a lot of chefs and millions of other people are being denied a "special event" of their own? To give an obviously extreme example, should slaves in the antebellum south have kept quiet so as not to disturb the good times of their masters?
                          The chef's actions forced viewers to think about this issue, whether they liked to or not. Bravo, Bravo.

                          1. re: newhavener07
                            HabaneroJane Aug 27, 2009 07:26 AM

                            at least the gay guy had a sense of humor about what someone else would have taken offense to when he was in charge of buying the flowers at whole foods. some of these chefs are waaay too serious.

                            1. re: newhavener07
                              r
                              Reignking Aug 27, 2009 07:37 AM

                              I'm not debating whether or not it was a good point, but it wasn't necessary because it is Top Chef, not Top Social Agenda or Top Politics.

                              I'll be sure not to come to her restaurant, then, because I'm married. I wouldn't want her to have to cook food for married people.

                              1. re: Reignking
                                a
                                Avalondaughter Aug 28, 2009 07:13 AM

                                It's not that I don't get her point, or agree with it. I just think she's in the wrong business if she has issues with weddings. Food is a huge part of weddings and I'll bet there are few chefs out there who haven't had to cook for a wedding/engagement/shower/bachelor party at some point. Heck, I'll bet that chef has probably cooked dinners that ended up being part of someone's marriage proposal.

                                It's one thing to say it bothers her. But quite frankly, she needed to shut up. People are not going to stop marrying just to make a statement about injustice (unless you're Brangelina). Why be bitter about the couple's happiness? If the B&G in this episode had been assholes and said they had a problem with gay marriage or openly insulted the gay cooks on teh show, yeah, she would have a right to protest. But assumign they're a liberal couple, with no issues about gays, then why shouldn't they be allowed to have a party in Vegas?

                                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                  l
                                  Lizard Aug 29, 2009 12:15 AM

                                  I've been on facebook far too long, Ruth, because I was looking for a button to signal that I liked what you had to say!

                                  1. re: Lizard
                                    a
                                    AMFM Aug 29, 2009 06:13 AM

                                    ROFLMAO.

                              2. re: grant.cook
                                s
                                smtucker Aug 27, 2009 08:32 AM

                                Don't forget, it is the editors that decide how much of this discussion you get to see. For all we know, other box-room interviews harped on other issues, but were left on the cutting room floor.

                                1. re: smtucker
                                  scubadoo97 Aug 27, 2009 10:02 AM

                                  Exactly right. If the editors and producers didn't want it to be there it would not have been there. She may have had issues but THEY played on it and made it part of the show.

                                  1. re: smtucker
                                    coney with everything Aug 28, 2009 07:30 AM

                                    ITA, smtucker. She was probably encouraged to talk up the issue so they'd have some "controversy", although not as bad as the NEXT! SHOCKING! EPISODE! of KITCHEN NIGHTMARES

                                  2. re: newhavener07
                                    thew Aug 27, 2009 08:44 AM

                                    i don't mind her making the point. i minded her constantly, continually, and ceaselessly making it

                                    1. re: thew
                                      Ruth Lafler Aug 27, 2009 02:07 PM

                                      Well, that was your perception, because obviously, despite what you said, you did mind her making that point. But it's simply not true that it was "constant" or "ceaseless" -- the two lesbians bitched about it when they got the challenge. Then they were both obviously asked in the interview sessions about it, and portions of those interviews with two different people were edited into the show at a couple of points. There's no indication that either of the two women "ceaselessly" complained about the challenge.

                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                        jfood Aug 27, 2009 02:21 PM

                                        jfood thought it was unecessary once and was ceaselss as well.

                                        One always has the option of saying, "this is about food, not my private life."

                                        1. re: jfood
                                          l
                                          Lizard Aug 27, 2009 11:57 PM

                                          As Ruth has pointed out, it was the choice of the producers to highlight the conversation and then to ask Ashley to speak more about this in the interview session. This is what called it to our attention and made it appear as if Ashely were harping, grousing. etc.

                                          As for the claim to discuss a "private life"? Hmmm. I've never liked that attitude when it comes to dealing with queer issues. It is made all the more problematic as Ashley has identified precisely what is PUBLIC about relationships: weddings and weddings on television, more specifically. As this is a matter of law and rights, it is actually very much a public issue.

                                          This demand for only a portion of the population to keep their private life private is in part the complaint here. It is a good point (not an unnecessary one) but unfortunately made to annoy by those who opted to make this a central part of the story, rather than what it likely was. A person observing and articulating a complaint in conversation, and then producers making that part of the expository interviews.

                                          More useful to this overall discussion would be the observation that Top Chef has had a wedding challenge for gay men. That said, this party does not change the very real political reality that selectively grants rights, determining that one part of the population can think of themselves as legitimately public while the other is to be kept private.

                                          Also, it is interesting how many accuse her then of destroying the meal for the groom out of spite given that English praised her watermelon dish as the best on offer that day, and given that she seemed to overextend herself in a wish to accommodate the groom's sweet tooth. I find the condemnation here ceaseless and unnecessary. She made her complaint/observation but did not exactly protest participation or celebration. She went on to make one of the best dishes English had tasted. If only she had stuck to the one.

                                          1. re: Lizard
                                            jfood Aug 28, 2009 05:44 AM

                                            L

                                            Jfood also pointed out downthread that it was the producers that made the final choice on editing, so he agrees. But with no flour and eggs one cannot make a cake.

                                            As jfood has also stated, he is watching this show for political reasons, he wants to see a cooking show, and the idea that not having a challenge for Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, Christenings, the Air Force, Christmas, Ramadan, Kwaanza, Easter, Hannukah, etc is just silly. What's next? People going after Chopped if they have nuts as one of the ingredients due to allergies (jfood has a nut allergy BTW).

                                            Jfood wants all the contestants to keep their private sexual lives private, including the gays, heterosexuals, monosexual, trisexuals and no-sexuals. Jfood does not give a rat's behind about it and does not want to hear it on Top Chef, Chopped, Hel's Kitchen or any other non-political discussion show. Add Entertainment Tonight to that bucket as well.

                                            And jfood shutters at the idea that anyone would accuse her of destroying a dish due to the venue. She's a professional and came up with, as you and jfood have both stated, one of the best dishes in English's opinion.

                                            So if she focuses on the cooking, is careful about giving the producers fodder to edit in, she may go far in this competition.

                                            1. re: jfood
                                              Phaedrus Aug 28, 2009 06:04 AM

                                              That is a slippery slope here. While I am definitely against turning the show into a soap box for any and all political, religious or gender hot button issues, you can't turn people into Stepford Chefs. they are who they are, and their persoanlities and yes,personal lives will come through every once in a while.

                                              1. re: Phaedrus
                                                chicgail Aug 28, 2009 06:14 AM

                                                I'm inclined to agree. I think that one of the compelling things about the show is its ability to the often conflicting world of the chef: his or her commitment to great food and their successes or failures in achieving that -- but contrasted with all the interesting stuff that makes them human.

                                                We've had "villains," romantic intrigues, hostility, plotting (and plodding), jingoism, dullards and all sorts of really nice, intelligent folks. It's all fun. It's all part of life and humanity and I, for one, say go for it.

                                              2. re: jfood
                                                l
                                                Lizard Aug 28, 2009 07:00 AM

                                                I don't know how one 'shutters' at things (does jfood blink his eyes coyly?) but the moment a heterosexual couple get married, or discuss their marriage on a television programme, they have made their private life public, so I fear that jfood's example does not hold, or rather, supports the bias that I perceived in the first place.
                                                I like what Phaedrus notes, and will build on that: we live in a political world where everything, including (and sometimes especially) food is implicated. These are not so easily disentangled, and while we can fault the producers for spending too much time on a topic in order to promote a notion of drama, the observation in and of itself was simply not unnecessary, as jfood declared it to be. It is interesting to see what comes through and how people manage annoyance.

                                                May I also observe that I took Ashley's complaint not to be about the fact that straight people can get married, but that the television programme opted to make its focus an event that thanks to certain laws, excludes part of the citizenry? I have recently seen a person withdraw institutional support for an organisation that was all -male (the organisation was free to continue, but without the sponsorship) because this organisation opted to exclude people from birth. Perhaps it is important to think about how the public world and the celebrations in which we participate are not always as public and accessible as we think. Such nuances can be lost on those with privilege and it is my hope that people with privilege will not respond so angrily when they hear these observations, but instead, consider them with an open mind.

                                                If you want pure cookery, there are other places to go (actually, I don't know if there are, but I'm pretty sure there are). This is a game show/docu-soap that produces characters and drama around the story of food. Oh, and also product placement. Lots and lots of product placement.

                                                1. re: Lizard
                                                  jfood Aug 28, 2009 07:53 AM

                                                  Jfood thinks that food should transcend sexual preference and jfood totally disagrees that "food is implicated" as well. Sorry he cannot get there.

                                                  Jfood refuses to get into a discussion on marriage and gay rights on a food board. He practices what he preaches and if he says that Top Chef is no place for that politics, then neither is chowhound. And jfood considers everything with an open mind and draws his own conclusions and beliefs. And he has had very open and honest dialogue with friends of his on both sides of the discussion. So before you throw stones and claim bias, have some facts on who you are throwing stones at.

                                                  But you make a very good point in your last paragraph, Tp Chef is not a pure cooking show, and jfood should recalibrate his POV. It does have drama and it is intended to have drama, that's probably what makes it funto watch at times.

                                                  So you and jfood will agree to disagree on certain aspects but thanks for helping him have an open mind on recalibrating his POV on the POV of Top Chef. But he will not change his POV on whther that drama should be included in CH posts.

                                                  Ciao.

                                                  1. re: newhavener07
                                                    jfood Aug 28, 2009 12:03 PM

                                                    There seems to be a sematic disconnect so let jfood phrase it differently so he does not appear as a posterior-ostrich.

                                                    Food and political context should NOT depend on each other. They should be totally and completely mutually exclusive.

                                                  2. re: Lizard
                                                    jfood Aug 28, 2009 10:54 AM

                                                    BTW, it is shuddered not shuttered. The latter are on the shopping list for the weekend. :-))

                                        2. re: newhavener07
                                          q
                                          QSheba Aug 27, 2009 09:04 AM

                                          Newhavener- there are a lot of ways she can have a "special event" - people have same-sex weddings all the time in churches, synagogues and botanical gardens all over the country. You can even have a legal wedding in some states, and while I"m not sure of the statistics, civil unions are quite de rigeur. I don't think your analogy is really similar.....Ashley's behavior was more "If I can't play with that toy, I'm going to break it so you can't play with it either." with her moping and whining at the event. As grant.cook said.... she "needed to get off her my-own-personal-justice-self-centered pedestal. For those people, this was a special event, and her role as a chef at that point was to help make it the best it could possibly be." Not to mention, the TC mics and cameras are NOT intended as a national forum for a contestant to "make a point" about politics. Surely you would think it was inappropriate if someone used that "national forum" to promote a political cause that you were opposed to (e.g. if they decided to start talking about gun rights or abortion, or the Middle East.) FTR- Tom Colicchio addressed this in his blog saying that while he agrees with Ashley's political beliefs, he did not think she was being reasonable/appropriate. Some of us watch TC because we love the cooking and the food and we get enough politics in real life. I say Shame on Bravo for highlighting the drama..Last season I almost stopped watching because the whole Leah-Hosea thing made me want to puke.

                                          1. re: QSheba
                                            a
                                            AMFM Aug 27, 2009 10:27 AM

                                            she didn't whine and complain at the event though. she actually enjoyed the event and did a good job and was a professional. she even said she wouldn't want her feelings to ruin their day. it may have ruined YOURS but that was, to her, "at home" griping not in front of the guests or clients. i think they may have shown too much of it (if for no other reason than that it made her look whiny) but i agree that it's a valid social point that will hit home with a huge chunk of the audience and should be mentioned because other people can be remarkably insensitive to it. honestly as many LGBT friends as i have it wouldn't have occurred to me JUST how awkward such a scenario could be for them. always good to put yourself in someone else's shoes for a change.

                                            1. re: AMFM
                                              d
                                              debbiel Aug 27, 2009 11:42 AM

                                              I'm with you AMFM. I'm not quite sure what the animosity or just annoyance with this is all about. She was a professional. She prepared her food, served it professionally, ta da. She also went "home' at night and complained about something at "work" that bothered her. I do it too, and rarely in one sentence only. I complain about some things frequently. We heard a few minutes of her venting on this out of how many hours in the two days? To me this is about editing and editing only.

                                            2. re: QSheba
                                              l
                                              lizzy Aug 27, 2009 10:52 AM

                                              I agree with those that think she could have said her peace once and that would have been enough. I also agree that the editors could have used it once in the epi and that would have been enough.

                                              I understand her point, and even how she could have been uncomfortable. However, I think it is worth mentioning, and forgive me if I get the season wrong, but in season 1 they catered a gay couple's reception. I do not believe that TC is unsympathetic, and I think she should have just focused on the task in front of her.

                                            3. re: newhavener07
                                              g
                                              grant.cook Aug 27, 2009 10:13 AM

                                              I hope we get an episode where that Haitain guy spends some time discussing the plight of his impoverished homeland...but the killer will be next week, when they cook for the Air Force, we'll get another bout of "How can I prepare food for an organization that would kick me out because of who I chose to love!" She should chain herself to one of those F-16's in protest...

                                              1. re: grant.cook
                                                a
                                                AMFM Aug 27, 2009 10:28 AM

                                                well... does seem rather like the olden days where blacks were good enough to serve but not be a part of... lets be honest.

                                                1. re: AMFM
                                                  LaLa Aug 27, 2009 04:22 PM

                                                  UUUUMMM...no its not.

                                              2. re: newhavener07
                                                chicgail Aug 27, 2009 11:42 AM

                                                The gay chef's objections to cooking for an engaged couple are silly. If every chef had to approve of the people or the occasion that he or she was expected to cook for, I wonder if any of us would get fed.

                                                But this is Bravo and a it has a huge gay viewership.

                                                1. re: chicgail
                                                  dagoose Aug 27, 2009 10:52 PM

                                                  Don't forget: Maybe she mentions it once in in off hand thing to someone. The editors pick up on this and ask her a bunch of questions about it during those interviews. Suddenly, they can put together a montage and spark contraversy. At the event she didn't seem to be sullen or pouting about it, I think it was in the editing.

                                                  1. re: chicgail
                                                    l
                                                    Lizard Aug 28, 2009 12:04 AM

                                                    <But this is Bravo and a it has a huge gay viewership.>
                                                    Wow.

                                                    1. re: Lizard
                                                      chicgail Aug 28, 2009 02:57 AM

                                                      I'm not sure what your "wow" is about, but looking at your earlier posts it sounds like you're referencing something you are interpreting as "hostility." There is no hostility intended whatsoever. If the network had been Lifetime, they might have picked some issue related to the competition between men and women and shown women suffering over it.

                                                      Bravo in fact has a big gay viewership. Not good. Not bad. Just what's so. Why would it be surprising that they would highlight -- in the casting and the editing -- an issue that is of interest to their own viewership?

                                                      It's all about ratings. Hostility is not a factor here.

                                                      1. re: chicgail
                                                        l
                                                        Lizard Aug 28, 2009 03:48 AM

                                                        You're correct, Chicgail. I may have been wrong to assume your statement had any element of homophobia as you rightly remind the other hounds here that as a gay-friendly network, Bravo is not going to adopt the 'shut up and keep your private life private' mantra.

                                                2. re: grant.cook
                                                  Fritter Aug 30, 2009 07:11 AM

                                                  "For those people, this was a special event, and her role as a chef at that point was to help make it the best it could possibly be."

                                                  Well said. As a Chef it's her job to make THIS event special. I wonder how she would feel if those providing the food for her special event had issues and let that influence how well they performed.
                                                  Not very professional IMO.

                                                  1. re: Fritter
                                                    d
                                                    debbiel Aug 30, 2009 02:58 PM

                                                    How did she let it influence how well she performed? In the short time we saw her at the event with guests, she seemed perfectly professional and pleasant, IIRC. She made one good dish, one bad dish. I think it's a stretch to assume the bad dish was because of the political issues.

                                                    1. re: debbiel
                                                      Phaedrus Aug 30, 2009 05:42 PM

                                                      The bad dish was because she over reached and tried to do too much, not because she did too little. All the judges thought her first dish was fantastic.

                                                3. re: HabaneroJane
                                                  chowser Aug 27, 2009 03:22 PM

                                                  I think it was in the editing. I could easily have the same conversation with different people and that could be edited to be harping. I'm wondering how she'll feel about the next challenge with the military and their "don't ask, dont' tell" policy about homosexuality. Not a good follow-up to the marriage issue.

                                                4. re: theferlyone
                                                  chicgail Aug 27, 2009 11:35 AM

                                                  It's all good casting. The producers of the show chose chef-contestants who would provide some kind of conflict. Strong points of view help to do that.

                                                  And while I agree that many people watch the show for the cooking, many other watch it for the voyeur factor and the lesbian with the strong point of view about gay marriage. And it appears to have worked. Look at all the chatter about it.

                                                  1. re: theferlyone
                                                    jfood Aug 27, 2009 11:50 AM

                                                    Jfood started shaking his head when Ashley started down that Whoa is me road. wasn't last year the rainbow coalition or is jfood thinking of a different show. Top Chef is relaxation time for jfood, trying to learn something from people who know a craft jfood wants to learn more about.

                                                    But jfood agrees that it was the producers / directors who chose which clips to keep. So two bits of advice to both the contestants and the producers, the show is there to showcase food talents, not politics. btw - jfood feels the same way about actors and athletes. He does not think he will be swayed by Top Chef or ESPN interviews on his political beliefs.

                                                    1. re: jfood
                                                      m
                                                      momjamin Aug 27, 2009 11:56 AM

                                                      Yes, season 5 had Team Rainbow -- Jamie, Richard, and Patrick.

                                                    2. re: theferlyone
                                                      c
                                                      charmedgirl Aug 28, 2009 06:45 AM

                                                      What if, during the first season, one of the chefs had objected to catering a gay wedding because he or she did not agree with gay marriage? And voiced that objection to one of the other chefs during off hours, and once or twice during the interviews (but not during the challenge)? Would those of you who are ok with Ashley talking about the gay marriage issue during this last episode also be ok with that?

                                                      This is not meant to be a snarky question, I'm genuinely interested.

                                                      1. re: charmedgirl
                                                        chowser Aug 28, 2009 07:04 AM

                                                        It's one thing to target discrimination, another to be the discriminator. If someone had problems working at, say, a country club that didn't allow non-whites, that would be different from someone who complained about working at a country club that allowed non-whites.

                                                        1. re: charmedgirl
                                                          l
                                                          Lizard Aug 28, 2009 07:06 AM

                                                          I don't think the comparison really works.

                                                          Ashley was not protesting the right of straight people to get married, which is what a person objecting to the gay marriage would likely be doing. Ashley was questioning the way in which people are regularly made to participate in and celebrate an institution that, thanks to laws in the US, excludes a part of the population. Yes, she may have been grousing, but as all those on the top chef blogs have observed, it was a legitimate point.

                                                          Protesting the gay marriage would be an articulation of prejudice, and a conviction that some people are lesser citizens who do not merit access to a legal institution.

                                                          1. re: Lizard
                                                            NellyNel Aug 31, 2009 06:48 AM

                                                            Lizard -Well said!
                                                            In fact I am in agreement with everything your posts are saying -you are able to articulate all my thoughts on the subject.

                                                            1. re: NellyNel
                                                              l
                                                              Lizard Aug 31, 2009 09:29 AM

                                                              Thanks, NellyNel!

                                                            2. re: Lizard
                                                              c
                                                              charmedgirl Aug 31, 2009 09:03 AM

                                                              I guess I'm confused. I thought the people who were defending Ashley's comments were doing so on the basis of the fact that they thought it was alright for her to express her feelings about the fact that gay marriage is not legal in the US, even though the show is about cooking. Ashley's feelings seemed to be frustration, dismay, etc. that it is not legal. I guess I don't see why, if that is alright, it wouldn't also be alright for someone else to express his or her feelings on the topic of gay marriage, ie, agreement that it is not legal , even though the show is about cooking.

                                                              1. re: charmedgirl
                                                                a
                                                                AMFM Aug 31, 2009 11:15 AM

                                                                i actually have to agree. even though i would disagree with their opinions and agree with ashley's. i think they should be able to say it.

                                                                1. re: AMFM
                                                                  chowser Aug 31, 2009 11:48 AM

                                                                  Being allowed to say it and having it well received are two different things. Ashley said what she feels and has been hammered by some, even in this thread. The same would go for someone who said the opposite. People can say whatever they want but need to expect that there might be repercussions. Maybe a chef with David Duke's views would have problems with doing an inter-racial marriage reception and say so. But, if people have a problem w/ it and express that, he shouldn't be surprised.

                                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                                    c
                                                                    charmedgirl Aug 31, 2009 01:15 PM

                                                                    My question is aimed at the discussion as to whether it was alright for Ashley to express her opinion on this issue in the ways that she did and whether Bravo should have included her comments while editing a show about cooking. Whether she (or anyone else) should or should not be criticized for the *substance* of the opinion expressed is a separate question.

                                                                    1. re: charmedgirl
                                                                      chowser Aug 31, 2009 01:38 PM

                                                                      Yes, if someone wants to raise anti-gay or racist or whatever views, that's his/her prerogative. It's also Bravo's prerogative to show what they want--whether it's views they agree with (or not, as in the clam shucking "girl" comment) or product placement or whatever. Bravo has no responsibility to give everyone a soapbox nor edit out all personality.

                                                                    2. re: chowser
                                                                      thew Aug 31, 2009 01:23 PM

                                                                      i want to be clear. i understand her feelings, agree it's an injustuce, and think it was an appropriate thing to say. but, whether through editing or intent, it felt like overkill.

                                                                      1. re: thew
                                                                        chowser Aug 31, 2009 01:35 PM

                                                                        I think, and said before, that it looks like it's the editing. She didn't seem to repeat it to the camera as much as once to the camera, once to Preeta, once to different people. LOL, much as I've said more than once that it's in the editing but I'm not saying it to the same person so, to me, it doesn't seem like hammering, but maybe in total, it could come off that way. I agree that the editing seemed like overkill.

                                                                        1. re: thew
                                                                          c
                                                                          charmedgirl Aug 31, 2009 01:51 PM

                                                                          Hi thew. I don't think anyone here, so far, has said that Ashley is out of line for feeling that the current situation in the US viz a viz gay marriage is unfair or frustrating. Again, I was interested in delving a little deeper into the basis for the position that it was appropriate for Ashley to speak her mind about the topic, and for Bravo to air her opinions about it, in this context (a reality show about cooking). I just wanted to know whether that position would go both ways, and apply equally to someone speaking his or her mind on the topic, albeit while expressing an opposing viewpoint. It's been an interesting discussion to read.

                                                                        2. re: chowser
                                                                          g
                                                                          grant.cook Sep 1, 2009 10:14 PM

                                                                          Yes, Ms. Prejean didn't fare so well when she expressed her views as Miss California. Guess agreeing with President Obama isn't actually a good idea when the thought police are on patrol..

                                                                          1. re: grant.cook
                                                                            jfood Sep 2, 2009 04:32 AM

                                                                            "I do not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it". - Attributed to Voltaire

                                                                            For a site based on free speech and opinions on food, jfood would have expected more.

                                                                            1. re: jfood
                                                                              l
                                                                              Lizard Sep 2, 2009 05:28 AM

                                                                              I don't think anyone here is questioning the right of people to say what they want without fear of imprisonment. What I do think is being pointed out is the difference of opinions articulated as well as the implications wherein one wishes to withhold rights from a particular group whilst the other simply laments the lack of rights. But no one is saying that the bigot can't speak. At least, I wasn't, even if I don't consider the expression to be on par with the person advocating a broader application of rights.

                                                                  2. re: charmedgirl
                                                                    n
                                                                    newhavener07 Aug 28, 2009 11:51 AM

                                                                    That would be great! Seriously, I may not agree with that person, but I would love to see Bravo tackle the subject that dare not speak its name on television: religion. Perhaps if TV showed more of these kinds of debates and culture clashes, we could all talk about them more openly and resolve some of this stuff.

                                                                    1. re: charmedgirl
                                                                      n
                                                                      newhavener07 Aug 28, 2009 12:00 PM

                                                                      Actually, what I would love to see is a serious discussion of factory farming, animal cruelty or sustainability on a cooking show. Like a situation where a chef refused to use an ingredient like veal or Chilean sea bass for ethical reasons. In a final, or at some key moment in the competition. Eating is an ethical act, whether we admit it or not, and this would really provoke some interesting discussion.

                                                                      1. re: newhavener07
                                                                        b
                                                                        Buckethead Aug 28, 2009 12:15 PM

                                                                        They kind of broached this subject in a half-assed way last season when they had a challenge at the Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

                                                                        1. re: newhavener07
                                                                          b
                                                                          bess Aug 29, 2009 04:38 PM

                                                                          I noticed that no one on this season has identified themselves as more of a local/slow food chef (as a few have in the past.. I think Jaime was one). In Vegas that would be virtually impossible.

                                                                          1. re: bess
                                                                            Phaedrus Aug 29, 2009 06:07 PM

                                                                            You also didn't see too many personal chefs or chefs who's main concern is about your bowel movement on TC.

                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                              Fritter Aug 30, 2009 03:55 AM

                                                                              Would that be an ethical BM? LOL

                                                                          2. re: newhavener07
                                                                            g
                                                                            grant.cook Aug 31, 2009 06:58 AM

                                                                            Yes, that's just what a cooking competition show needs.. a big discussion on ethics. How about we have a challenge where they cook for a Planned Parenthood clinic - we can find out where they all stand on abortion as well..

                                                                            And chefs seem to have a wide latitude on ingredient choices... I haven't seen them in a situation where they HAD to use bluefin tuna or something along that vein. I have seen vegan chefs compete on Chopped, and the ones I've seen don't do that well. For the most part, if you are a chef, you need to know how to handle food that you might not personally prefer to eat.

                                                                            As for ethics, I think your wires are getting crossed... Chilean Sea Bass is overfished - I don't eat it because I think the fish's feelings are being hurt, I don't eat it because I believe the economics of our fisheries are out of whack and I don't want to add my appetite to the "demand curve". I'll still drop a lobster into a pot in second, because Maine does a pretty decent job managing its catch.

                                                                            As for veal, well, it exists for a reason - all those little male dairy cows weren't (and aren't) needed. But there are different ways to produce it - you can get veal without locking a calf up in a dark barn for 15 weeks.. its just not as delicious..

                                                                            1. re: grant.cook
                                                                              a
                                                                              araknd Aug 31, 2009 08:45 AM

                                                                              Well said. I completely support this perspective.

                                                                              1. re: grant.cook
                                                                                chicgail Aug 31, 2009 09:16 AM

                                                                                While I agree with mot of what you say, I am taking small issue with what you see as ethics regarding Chilean sea bass.

                                                                                Ethics is defined by the dictionary as:
                                                                                1. the body of moral principles or values governing or distinctive of a particular culture or group
                                                                                2. a complex of moral precepts held or rules of conduct followed by an individual: a personal ethic.

                                                                                It is unethical to cook with/eat Chilean sea bass, not because it hurts the fish's feelings, but because it is unsustainable for the planet.

                                                                                1. re: chicgail
                                                                                  g
                                                                                  grant.cook Sep 1, 2009 10:16 PM

                                                                                  You are stating your opinion as a fact, whereas its really just a supposition. And its an easy one to disprove - or at least call out as weak thinking. We pretty much ate every dodo bird in existence, driving them into extinction, and the planet hasn't exactly suffered. Therefore, driving Chilean Sea Bass may or may not be unsustainable..

                                                                                  1. re: grant.cook
                                                                                    thew Sep 2, 2009 05:40 AM

                                                                                    actually there is a tree species that relied on the dodo to crack their seeds open for germination, if i'm recalling correctly. so with the death of the dodo came the death of this tree species. if there was another species relying on that tree......

                                                                                    1. re: grant.cook
                                                                                      chicgail Sep 2, 2009 06:07 AM

                                                                                      Sounds like I was unclear. My language wasn't rigorous.

                                                                                      The ethics of not eating Chilean sea bass has to do with unsustainableity of the species. Will the planet survive without Chilean sea bass? Probably. But, given that everything ultimately impacts everything else, it will be a slightly different planet as thew points out above.

                                                                                      My point, however referred to your suggestion that someone (you in this case) might not eat Chilean sea base because "the fish's feelings are being hurt."

                                                                                      1. re: chicgail
                                                                                        g
                                                                                        grant.cook Sep 6, 2009 05:46 AM

                                                                                        But in the cooking world, I think there is genuine concern about economic issues like overfishing - Eric Ripert I believe does not serve wild-caught Atlantic bluefin tuna now. Many chefs are shying away from that, and it should be praised. There is the active trend toward grass-fed beef and reduced use of animal proteins in diets, and I think its worth exploring - its not an ethical issue, its an economic externality issue - production that creates costs born by others. Most chefs will still tell you that corn fed beef still tastes better. So perhaps we just need to built more costs into the system, so people's decisions are driving by what's really going on out there. However, this is unlikely to come up on Top Chef.... except if the prices in the Whole Foods went up and they had to stretch their $100 and couldn't afford the corn-fed ribeye roast.

                                                                                        But its a stretch to try to tie it to the "its cruel to the animal" issues such as foie gras or veal and ask chef's to protest on air. I suspect if you talked to the mainstream in the cooking world, use of ingredients that the PETA crew considers cruel-to-procure, they would tell you they are pretty comfortable using them in their cooking.

                                                                          3. goodhealthgourmet Aug 26, 2009 07:44 PM

                                                                            i'm already seeing a pattern with some of these chefs defaulting to their comfort zones. Jessie made chicken again...and i can almost hear Fabio telling Jen that this is Top Chef, not Top Ceviche! they should have a challenge like the one on TNFNS, where they take away the chefs' go-to ingredients & see how they handle it.

                                                                            1. LindaWhit Aug 26, 2009 07:48 PM

                                                                              Kinda thought the guys would be winning, based on the judges' comments. And the brothers are up against each other...interesting! And Brian gets the win this time!

                                                                              And Eve and Jessie in the bottom AGAIN!

                                                                              25 Replies
                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                goodhealthgourmet Aug 26, 2009 07:52 PM

                                                                                i'm already tired of Eve's bizarre, nonsensical excuses/explanations. she seems really weak, i hope she goes.

                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                  LindaWhit Aug 26, 2009 07:53 PM

                                                                                  Yeah, I agree - she just seems like a deer in the headlights when she's up in front of the judges.

                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                    goodhealthgourmet Aug 26, 2009 07:56 PM

                                                                                    she honestly looked like she was about to burst into tears after the QF when Todd English was critiquing her dish. seriously, if you can't take the heat...

                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                      LindaWhit Aug 26, 2009 08:00 PM

                                                                                      Well, she won't have to worry about that anymore, will she? I just don't think she fit in with this group - they're at a much higher level than she is.

                                                                                      But wait - she just said that her flavors are more unusual and the judges didn't get her? Wow.

                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                        a
                                                                                        AMFM Aug 26, 2009 08:02 PM

                                                                                        i've heard her restaurant is good though. maybe the pressure just isn't for everyone. not sure it would be for me (even if i could cook like that - which i can't).

                                                                                        1. re: AMFM
                                                                                          LindaWhit Aug 26, 2009 08:06 PM

                                                                                          I think she was pretty highly "rated" by SkilletDoux in his initial Power Rankings based on what he could glean from various websites and reviews as well...I guess she trained at Le Cordon Bleu-Paris! I just checked - he had initially ranked her as a dark horse #5 overall before the show started - BUT after last week's opening episode, he dropped her down to 16th place (last).

                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                            Phaedrus Aug 27, 2009 05:06 AM

                                                                                            Eve's restaurant in Ann Arbor is very well regarded and drew customers from a pretty wide geographical range outside of the immediate Ann Arbor area.

                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                              x
                                                                                              xman887 Aug 27, 2009 07:06 AM

                                                                                              i have not been to eve in ann arbor but have heard many good things about it.

                                                                                              now i am trying to reconcile how eve is in most people's top 3 recs in ann arbor on the midwest board, yet she was a disaster on the show.

                                                                                              i can only imagine that she is now dealing with hundreds of "what the hell happened on top chef" questions. i wonder what, if any, impact there will be on her business.

                                                                                              1. re: xman887
                                                                                                ChefJune Aug 27, 2009 07:32 AM

                                                                                                Performing on TV, whether it's on Top Chef or another show, is just that. A WHOLE lot different than cooking in the kitchen of a restaurant.

                                                                                                I was thinking about Eve and Jessie this morning. Clearly they are excellent chefs, or they wouldn't have made the show in the first place, but dealing with all the pressures of the lights and cameras, not to mention the competition for space in the kitchen and the competition between the chefs..... well, that's a horse of a different color, and clearly they are not all up to it. Eve and Jessie, particularly (or so it seems).

                                                                                                1. re: xman887
                                                                                                  b
                                                                                                  Buckethead Aug 27, 2009 08:04 AM

                                                                                                  I think it probably has to do with the fact that on the show, a dish must be conceived and executed from a set of arbitrary restrictions, it has to be done in only a few hours, and often they're cooking for dozens or hundreds of people at once, with no help. At a restaurant, the chef is free to play with a recipe until they get it right. On the show, they only get one chance, maybe if they have enough time they have the opportunity to tweak it at the end. Some of the contestants are better at improvising than others. I can think of at least one chef in my city whose food is incredibly delicious and yet I don't think they would necessarily do very well on TC, because their dishes involve lots of planning and time.

                                                                                                  1. re: Buckethead
                                                                                                    a
                                                                                                    AMFM Aug 27, 2009 10:30 AM

                                                                                                    think about Roy on top chef masters who pretty much admitted after trying that he cannot cook like that. obviously he is really successful and good at what he does.

                                                                                                    1. re: Buckethead
                                                                                                      aser Aug 28, 2009 05:14 AM

                                                                                                      Your post brings up an interesting point, the competition is geared towards cooks who........

                                                                                                      a) think on their feet
                                                                                                      b) work fast
                                                                                                      c) posses a well of techniques to draw from

                                                                                                      This is where a well traveled resume comes in handy, especially cooks that have worked in multiple high end kitchens. It's generally accepted for cooks to stay a minimum of 1 yr to get a good grasp of a kitchen, and also receive a reference. Most ambitious young line cooks follow this model, jumping from place to place. Why? It's to learn as many different techniques as possible from different chefs. With a solid foundation of techniques, cooking on the fly becomes less about random improvisation, rather pairing familiar technique w/ ingredients as variables.

                                                                                                      There's no way you can tell me the bros never made nitro gazpacho or macaroons before. Ingredients might be different, but the techniques are well practiced. Having that arsenal helps you think faster.

                                                                                                      Can caterers/corporate/private chefs make good food? Of course. It's just that for this competition, their skills aren't as transferable as fine dining cooks that are more technique driven.

                                                                                                    2. re: xman887
                                                                                                      scubadoo97 Aug 27, 2009 10:04 AM

                                                                                                      Usually publicity of any type good or bad will have a positive out come on a business. I would not think that her poor showing on TC will hurt her business.

                                                                                                      1. re: xman887
                                                                                                        e
                                                                                                        Ericandblueboy Aug 27, 2009 04:10 PM

                                                                                                        she's a big fish in a small pond....anywhere else she'd be exposed as a lame chef.

                                                                                                        1. re: xman887
                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                          bess Aug 29, 2009 04:41 PM

                                                                                                          many Top Chef contestants, including winners, have noted that what they do on the show bears almost no resemblance to their professional lives. I also think of that guy who did terribly in Top Chef Masters-- the sort of short/skinny/hyper guy who didn't complete his quickfire in time. The format may just not suit certain people.

                                                                                                        2. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                          Fritter Aug 28, 2009 03:52 AM

                                                                                                          "Eve's restaurant in Ann Arbor is very well regarded"

                                                                                                          I'd say that's subject to interpretation. Eve is one of those love it or hate ot places and it really doesn't get much play in the Midwest forum on CH.

                                                                                                          1. re: Fritter
                                                                                                            Phaedrus Aug 28, 2009 06:08 AM

                                                                                                            Well, its often mentioned in the same breath as say the Common Grill when people speak of AA area restaurants.

                                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                              Fritter Aug 28, 2009 07:02 AM

                                                                                                              I can't say I've seen that very often. Any comparison to the Common Grill is setting the bar fairly high. I can think of a few places in AA I would rate above Eve. AA is eclectic so I'm sure Eve has a good following.

                                                                                                    3. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                      l
                                                                                                      lizzy Aug 26, 2009 09:19 PM

                                                                                                      I didn't understand Eve's comment regarding the judges not getting her unusual flavors, almost like it's their palate instead of hers. Also didn't she use the phrase "classic Latin flavors" or something close to it when talking about her dish at JT?

                                                                                                      1. re: lizzy
                                                                                                        Caitlin McGrath Aug 27, 2009 01:03 PM

                                                                                                        She was making excuses and still not getting what the judges were saying, same as last week: she was at the bottom not because they didn't like her palate, but because her execution was so poor. Last week she was saved because contestant #17 (don't remember her name, only her ears!) had poor execution and even greater denial about it.

                                                                                                        1. re: lizzy
                                                                                                          Fritter Aug 28, 2009 03:56 AM

                                                                                                          "didn't she use the phrase "classic Latin flavors" or something close to it when talking about her dish at JT?"

                                                                                                          I think Tom mentioned that the pairing of popcorn was a classical Latin flavor combination but he also said it didn't work and that Eve just seemed to be throwing ingredients together hoping they would work with out any real focus or plan for what she was trying to achieve.

                                                                                                          1. re: Fritter
                                                                                                            l
                                                                                                            lizzy Aug 28, 2009 09:39 AM

                                                                                                            I knew Tom had mentioned it, but I also thought Eve had said something about "classic Latin flavors" as well. I am willing to take your word for it though, but if I get a chance to rewatch JT I will post.

                                                                                                    4. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                      Fritter Aug 28, 2009 03:50 AM

                                                                                                      Wow no kidding with the deer in the headlights analogy for Eve. Did any one else catch the quick clip of her almost walking into Jenn with her knife and Jenn saying
                                                                                                      HEY! Watch your knife!
                                                                                                      She doesn't seem to have any focus.

                                                                                                      1. re: Fritter
                                                                                                        Phaedrus Aug 28, 2009 06:09 AM

                                                                                                        Yeah, she did have that just medicated look.

                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                          Fritter Aug 28, 2009 07:05 AM

                                                                                                          She has a post interview on Bravo and openly admidts that Reality TV was not a good pairing for her. She mentions that she may have volunteered to leave if she had not been eliminated but I suspect that's easy to say after the fact.

                                                                                                2. n
                                                                                                  newhavener07 Aug 26, 2009 08:11 PM

                                                                                                  Yikes, bad night for the ladies. Seems like they were outclassed in dish after dish. Not that the guy's dishes sounded that appetizing at first, but I guess they delivered. Won't be too many women in the final episodes, I'm guessing.
                                                                                                  Wow, that quickfire left me cold (pardon the pun), however. The winning dish looked like something my cat would hork up. What exactly is revolutionary about turning a cold soup into a chunky slush? I must be living in the dark ages. And that Todd English is positively menacing--he could be a villain in a Coen brothers movie. Pretty boy looks and dead-fish eyes. Even when smiling, he looked like he'd rather be filleting the chefs than eating their food. He's my least favorite guest judge ever.

                                                                                                  1. e
                                                                                                    Ericandblueboy Aug 26, 2009 08:24 PM

                                                                                                    So what is your thought about Jen C bitching about being divided into 2 teams by sex?

                                                                                                    It's arbitrary and if she already sized up how weak the women are, I can see why she's pissed. On the other hand, there's no money on the line and if she does her dish properly, she moves on, so why bitch?

                                                                                                    The 4 women picked to be the bottom will all go soon. I'm not sure who's the weakest on the men's team - it might be Mike!

                                                                                                    21 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Ericandblueboy
                                                                                                      n
                                                                                                      newhavener07 Aug 26, 2009 08:29 PM

                                                                                                      I thought it was a decent twist with the bachelor/ette parties and at least a change from the knife-picking, which is getting old. They can't do teams based on regions or coasts because the NYers would always kick ass, so I guess this is a somewhat random compromise. Disappointed that so many of the female chefs this season seem weak by comparison, however.

                                                                                                      1. re: Ericandblueboy
                                                                                                        goodhealthgourmet Aug 26, 2009 08:30 PM

                                                                                                        i couldn't decide if Jen was pissed because she realized her teammates were the weaker half, or if she's just over the gender issue in general...someone with her attitude has usually developed that kind of thick skin out of necessity/experience, and my guess is that she's tired of feeling as though she has to "prove" that she's as good as "one of the boys."

                                                                                                        but before anyone jumps all over me, it's just a *theory* - i don't know her, and i could be way off.

                                                                                                        oh, and i agree re: the bottom - i'd be happy to see Preeti and Jessie go next. Ashley might have some cooking chops, but she really needs to lose that enormous chip on her shoulder. as she even admitted herself at one point, she knew what she was signing up for. deal with it.

                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                          l
                                                                                                          lizzy Aug 26, 2009 09:30 PM

                                                                                                          I got the impression that Jen was over the whole gender issue thing. I don't know if she was over it because she has developed a thick skin or if she is just past it all at this stage in life and/or career. I also think she just thought the male/female division was lame.

                                                                                                          I also agree Preeti and Jesse should be the next to go, but I can't say I would be upset if Mike were to go next week.

                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                            r
                                                                                                            Reignking Aug 27, 2009 06:40 AM

                                                                                                            I thought she was upset about the gender issue...that if you can cook, you can cook -- who cares if you are a man or woman (or lesbian that can't get married).

                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                              LindaWhit Aug 27, 2009 07:31 AM

                                                                                                              Jamie from last season is blogging on Bravo's site, and her comment is rather apropos, I think:

                                                                                                              "Now now Ashley, you and I are in the same boat and I believe in equal rights just as much as you, but there is a time and a place for it. This is a cooking show. Swallow your pride and get out there and kick some ass. Focus less on the politics of the situation and more on making great food and perhaps you and your team wouldn’t have ended up in the bottom half."

                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                t
                                                                                                                tofuburrito Aug 27, 2009 07:46 AM

                                                                                                                She did pretty well with one of her dishes, in fact I think Todd English said it was his favorite of the event so I think she was able to focus. But when she had a camera on her and an open forum (while not cooking) she said what was on her mind. She's certainly not the first person in Top Chef history to do that.
                                                                                                                I'll be going to Seattle in mid-Sept. and planning to try her restaurant, I hope she's still in the competition.

                                                                                                                1. re: tofuburrito
                                                                                                                  jfood Aug 27, 2009 11:53 AM

                                                                                                                  One was "one of his favorites" the other was badly received.

                                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                  b
                                                                                                                  Buckethead Aug 27, 2009 08:11 AM

                                                                                                                  "Now now Ashley, you and I are in the same boat and I believe in equal rights just as much as you, but there is a time and a place for it."

                                                                                                                  When and where is that? When Ashley is at home, with no TV cameras? I think she realized that she had an opportunity to get up on a soapbox, and took it. Good for her, and for Bravo for airing it. And as tofuburrito says, Todd English thought her watermelon dish was the best dish of the day, so obviously she was able to keep her head in the game.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Buckethead
                                                                                                                    LindaWhit Aug 27, 2009 08:27 AM

                                                                                                                    As others have said - OK, say it once. But then harping upon it gets tiring. It's not about politics - it's about cooking.

                                                                                                                    And while she did well with the watermelon and it was English's favorite, she failed with the panna cotta...was that made after her head was no longer in the game? Who knows. Either way - she was in the bottom 4, so her head wasn't as in the game as it should have been.

                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                      Phaedrus Aug 27, 2009 10:07 AM

                                                                                                                      Again, we go back to the editing. It could be that they had a long discussion and she was particularly vocal, but she had no say in what went into the show. It was the producers. Does a contestant stop voicing their opinions in a regular interchange? If every contestant clammed up, we would miss out on some of the interaction. It is the producers who decides how much of the contestants verbal diarrhea to broadcast.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                        LindaWhit Aug 27, 2009 10:36 AM

                                                                                                                        Yup, I understand that it's the editors/producers showing us what they want to show us out of the hours they've videotaped...but she still chose to bring it up. She's there to cook. And as others have said, they're in Vegas. It's the wedding capital of the world. Everyone should fully expect that there's going to be a wedding theme of some sort. And they should barrel through it. Does it suck for her that she can't get married in her state? Yes. But that's the way it is.

                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                          Phaedrus Aug 27, 2009 10:53 AM

                                                                                                                          These are smart thinking people and they all have issues they can talk about. They don't think cooking 24/7, so politics, religion, and other messy non-cooking stuff comes out. I am sure there are people talking about sports etc, but the Magic Elves chose not to show it. Do the contestant stop being who they are for the duration of the show?

                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                            LindaWhit Aug 27, 2009 10:58 AM

                                                                                                                            OK, fine. Then I'll blame it on the editors for choosing to show too much of the political type of conversation and her hissy fit outside instead of the cooking - what the show's supposed to be about.

                                                                                                                            ETA: As grant.cook said above (and I agree with) "But then it seemed like she continued to mope, even when the event was starting.. frankly, at that point she needed to get off her my-own-personal-justice-self-centered pedestal."

                                                                                                                            She still chose to go on and on about it...and that is what I'm taking issue with.

                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                              Phaedrus Aug 27, 2009 11:30 AM

                                                                                                                              In the end, people are people, they will do stupid things and hold grudges and hang onto conversational topics beyond its natural life.

                                                                                                                              That is why reality shows are so addicting, the human foibles. Some shows choose to focus on those: Big Brother and other hideous forms of crap. TC is supposed to be about cooking, which I think they sometime forget and get into that mode. I think her soap box stand got into her head and it hurt her competitive edge, but she only hurt herself.

                                                                                                                              I wonder how she would feel if they did a gay versus straight challenge.

                                                                                                              2. re: Ericandblueboy
                                                                                                                HabaneroJane Aug 27, 2009 06:05 AM

                                                                                                                I think I still can't stand Jen C even if she can cook. Her personality, or lack thereof, is unpalatable. Don't be all high and mighty because you have to cook in teams, sister. It's a game show. she bugs me so bigtime. and she said "cevi-ch" again.

                                                                                                                1. re: Ericandblueboy
                                                                                                                  dave_c Aug 27, 2009 06:07 AM

                                                                                                                  Seems like Jen C is getting a lot of camera time... I'm not quite sure what editing is try to show... She's a strong-willed woman that can dish it back to the guys?

                                                                                                                  She's the only person that was shown to comment on Todd English being HOT while in the same episode she's complaining about the "battle of the sexes" where M or F doesn't matter.

                                                                                                                  1. re: dave_c
                                                                                                                    HabaneroJane Aug 27, 2009 06:16 AM

                                                                                                                    that's right! miss "I'm beneath this battle of the sexes" spews out that Todd English is hot. whatever! shut up and cook, I guess.

                                                                                                                    1. re: dave_c
                                                                                                                      g
                                                                                                                      gastrotect Aug 27, 2009 06:35 AM

                                                                                                                      I don't see how her commenting on English's looks has any bearing on how she feels about the challenge. I got the sense she thought it was a stupid division since gender does not really matter in the kitchen (even if some people think it does). But that doesn't make her asexual.

                                                                                                                      1. re: gastrotect
                                                                                                                        scubadoo97 Aug 27, 2009 10:13 AM

                                                                                                                        Absolutely! She comfortable in the kitchen in a male dominated profession and has shown that she is very talented so her comments on the battle of the sexes was on mark. So how does her saying Todd English is hot have anything to do with her position of women's ability as a chef?

                                                                                                                        1. re: scubadoo97
                                                                                                                          HabaneroJane Aug 27, 2009 10:34 AM

                                                                                                                          cause she pronounces it "cevi-ch"? hehe. just kidding. she seems talented enough, so who cares. i still don't like her but i'd eat her cooking thus far and keep her sour/haughty personality in the kitchen away from me!

                                                                                                                    2. re: Ericandblueboy
                                                                                                                      NellyNel Aug 31, 2009 06:55 AM

                                                                                                                      Her point awas exactly the point I was trying to make on last weeks TC post board - that sex is irrelevant!!
                                                                                                                      A chef is a chef.

                                                                                                                    3. r
                                                                                                                      ReggieL. Aug 26, 2009 09:02 PM

                                                                                                                      Why is it that every season the show becomes less and less about cooking? Last season the show started out the same way and I just thought that it was because they had too many chefs to spend time on each dish. I used that excuse to stick with the show for the entire season and came away disappointed. Now this season starts the same way......

                                                                                                                      12 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: ReggieL.
                                                                                                                        d
                                                                                                                        dmjordan Aug 27, 2009 02:28 AM

                                                                                                                        I know. How many people's dishes did we actually get to see during the quick fire? Maybe six or seven?

                                                                                                                        1. re: ReggieL.
                                                                                                                          Phaedrus Aug 27, 2009 05:08 AM

                                                                                                                          IS it getting worse or are some of us more in tuned to it after watching TCM? I am one of those whoprofessed liking TCM because of the lack of drama and the focus on foods.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                            LindaWhit Aug 27, 2009 05:39 AM

                                                                                                                            I agree - I think those of us that watched TCM are really tuned in to wanting to see the FOOD, not the drama...and we got that with TCM. I'm really hoping that Colicchio, having been instrumental in getting a higher caliber of cheftestants for this season, also had a say (even a little bit?) in focusing on food editing vs. drama editing. Although I'm not sure they'd give him that much license.

                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                              n
                                                                                                                              newhavener07 Aug 27, 2009 05:55 AM

                                                                                                                              That's a good point, Linda. TCM was much more food-focused with fewer chefs and fewer in-your-face personalities. The new TC is also missing a crucial ingredient--Jay Rayner! I miss his urbane wit, his sensual imagery, his tousled mane...Tom is look pale and cranky this season and is not working his usual bearish magic. We need Jay back for the finale!

                                                                                                                              1. re: newhavener07
                                                                                                                                LindaWhit Aug 27, 2009 06:01 AM

                                                                                                                                Unfortunately, as much as I'd LOVE for Jay Rayner to be the British wit in the Judges' seats, I think we're stuck with Toby Young for the regular Top Chef series. I think he shows up a few episodes from now. I did read somewhere that Colicchio taught him how to play blackjack (I think) and I guess he lost most of the money he earned for his stint on TC. LOL

                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                  n
                                                                                                                                  newhavener07 Aug 27, 2009 06:08 AM

                                                                                                                                  Heh, poor guy. Maybe he'll get kicked out of the country.

                                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                scubadoo97 Aug 27, 2009 10:16 AM

                                                                                                                                I liked TCM beacuse it lacked the drummed up drama of TC but didn't find I saw as much real cooking on TCM as I see on TC.

                                                                                                                            2. re: ReggieL.
                                                                                                                              xo_kizzy_xo Aug 27, 2009 05:16 AM

                                                                                                                              :nodding: That's why I never watch TC at the very beginning -- too many chefs, too little food, too much fodder for drama. I'll start watching maybe 2-3 weeks from now, watch it up through the finals, then turn around and catch the other episodes during one of the marathons.

                                                                                                                              1. re: xo_kizzy_xo
                                                                                                                                g
                                                                                                                                grant.cook Aug 27, 2009 06:23 AM

                                                                                                                                Yes, its always this way in the first 4-5 episodes - personalities are just being fleshed out, there are a lot of people, the weak or those that can't succeed at this type of competitve style are obvious and getting dumped quickly, and things just aren't well defined yet. Give it a few more weeks - I know that a relative that is near the show said it was a great season....

                                                                                                                                1. re: xo_kizzy_xo
                                                                                                                                  Caitlin McGrath Aug 27, 2009 01:17 PM

                                                                                                                                  I really dislike that they start out with so many now. I with they'd kept it to 12 with one gone each week as in season 1.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                    n
                                                                                                                                    Nettie Aug 27, 2009 09:03 PM

                                                                                                                                    I liked it in TCM, where for the first six weeks there were 4 new people each week. You never had to "meet" 16 people at once like the initial rounds of Top Chef.

                                                                                                                                2. re: ReggieL.
                                                                                                                                  r
                                                                                                                                  Reignking Aug 27, 2009 06:42 AM

                                                                                                                                  I think the food has been so much better than last year. Tom C was blown away -- and last year, everyone just played it safe. As long as you weren't the worst, you weren't eliminated.

                                                                                                                                3. g
                                                                                                                                  gyc Aug 26, 2009 09:48 PM

                                                                                                                                  Rolling dice at the craps table for ingredients, boys versus girls, what is this, Hell's Kitchen?

                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: gyc
                                                                                                                                    LindaWhit Aug 27, 2009 05:40 AM

                                                                                                                                    Yes, I found that coinkydinkal that HK's episode this week had the exact same type of challenge. But this season of HK was taped (I think) a year ago.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                      HabaneroJane Aug 27, 2009 06:06 AM

                                                                                                                                      I know! I thought I was watching a repeat of Hell's Kitchen too.
                                                                                                                                      So far, I think the sibling rivalry may save this season..

                                                                                                                                    2. re: gyc
                                                                                                                                      dave_c Aug 27, 2009 06:09 AM

                                                                                                                                      I believe in previous TC seasons there were boys v. girls challenges... Correct?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: dave_c
                                                                                                                                        scubadoo97 Aug 27, 2009 10:16 AM

                                                                                                                                        Correct

                                                                                                                                        1. re: scubadoo97
                                                                                                                                          g
                                                                                                                                          gyozagirl Aug 27, 2009 11:18 AM

                                                                                                                                          There were? I've watched each season but I can't remember every episode- but, didn't the promos specifically say that this was the first time TC was having a males vs. females challenge?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: gyozagirl
                                                                                                                                            m
                                                                                                                                            momjamin Aug 27, 2009 11:42 AM

                                                                                                                                            I'm remembering something vaguely -- but maybe not designed as a male vs female challenge -- it was just the luck of the knife draw...?

                                                                                                                                    3. m
                                                                                                                                      Mushroom Aug 27, 2009 06:04 AM

                                                                                                                                      How exactly did Brian make his winning dish? I thought it was genius - just fascinating.
                                                                                                                                      Like so many others, the beginning of the season irritates me because there are waaaay too many people to keep track of and not enough focus on the dishes/food. I figure about 3 or 4 more weeks and I'll start remembering names.
                                                                                                                                      Thought the guys really out did the gals by a large margin. If we can get past the drama, it should be an excellent season. (Which I say with more hope than confidence.)

                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Mushroom
                                                                                                                                        babette feasts Aug 27, 2009 10:09 AM

                                                                                                                                        The frozen gazpacho? I believe that can be made by whisking the gazpacho puree in a bowl set over dry ice, essentially a very fast way to make a granita.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: babette feasts
                                                                                                                                          m
                                                                                                                                          momjamin Aug 27, 2009 11:43 AM

                                                                                                                                          That was Michael in the QF; did you mean Bryan's winning "macaroon"?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: momjamin
                                                                                                                                            babette feasts Aug 27, 2009 11:55 PM

                                                                                                                                            Oh sorry I can't keep the names straight. Maybe mushroom can be more specific about which dish it was.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: babette feasts
                                                                                                                                              m
                                                                                                                                              Mushroom Aug 28, 2009 05:52 AM

                                                                                                                                              Good God...I can't keep them straight either. The "macaroon" dish is the one that has me intrigued. Was there a filling? If so, how did it get in there?

                                                                                                                                              I would have much rather seen some of the techniques and final results than any "drama". Yet the drama is what is getting most of the buzz on this forum. It seems there have been few posts about the actual food and quite a few about Ashley's (I think that's the right name) comments. If you were Bravo looking at this topic/forum/post/threads, which would you emphasize?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Mushroom
                                                                                                                                                l
                                                                                                                                                Lizard Aug 28, 2009 07:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                Agreed on wanting more information on the technique and food. I wonder if the absence has a bit to do with the numbers of chefs still in play, and the limitations of the camera, and maybe even time, since everyone has to get that product placement in!

                                                                                                                                          2. re: babette feasts
                                                                                                                                            n
                                                                                                                                            newhavener07 Aug 27, 2009 01:14 PM

                                                                                                                                            I think he used liquid nitrogen, which you just stir into the liquid. It freezes things instantly and science geeks love to bring it to parties to make instant ice cream.

                                                                                                                                        2. Withnail42 Aug 27, 2009 06:07 AM

                                                                                                                                          Another good episode. Didn't have a problem with the boy/girl thing it was in keeping with the theme of the challenge.

                                                                                                                                          I did get a little bored of the whole 'marriage' issue. Granted for Ashley, as well as many overs, it is an important thing but this is a cooking show.

                                                                                                                                          They seem be portraying Jen C. (Does the 'C' stand for ceviche?) as being overly intense.

                                                                                                                                          Still am very impressed with the overall high level talent that this group seems to have.

                                                                                                                                          1. g
                                                                                                                                            gastrotect Aug 27, 2009 06:40 AM

                                                                                                                                            Was anyone else impressed with how Hector went after the challenge this week? Last week didn't go so well and a lot of times people respond by going safe, but he basically said f*** it and took a risk with the tofu. There was some curiosity as to if he was as good as billed or not, so I was glad to see a strong showing from him. As Collichio said, "Cojones".

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: gastrotect
                                                                                                                                              t
                                                                                                                                              tofuburrito Aug 27, 2009 07:31 AM

                                                                                                                                              It seemed Eve had judges-on-the-brain from the beginning and tried to cook for them rather than just go by her instincts. She also didn't seem comfortable in a competition, it's not for everyone. I suspect she is very good at what she does, unfortunately we don't have any idea what that is.
                                                                                                                                              The younger brother seems more intent on beating his older brother than winning the competition. They are both obviously very talented but I think he will do better if he ignores the sibling rivalry.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: gastrotect
                                                                                                                                                b
                                                                                                                                                bess Aug 29, 2009 04:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                actually he said "huevos" which was a cute food-appropriate variation...

                                                                                                                                              2. s
                                                                                                                                                smtucker Aug 27, 2009 08:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                There was some really nice looking food on last night's episode. Did the "pantry" upgrade the plate options this year? So many lovely dishes they used. I thought this was some of the nicest plating we have ever seen for a catering event. Particularly surprising given how early in the process they are.

                                                                                                                                                I also thought that the male team had a harder set of guidelines to follow. They had to provide vegetarian, pescetarian, omnivore and vegan dishes. Sometimes the harder the challenge the more creative the results.

                                                                                                                                                After just two episodes, it almost appears that the judges could whack off the bottom four and get on with it. But since that would shorten the season without lessening the production costs, we have a few more weeks of watching some of the chefs struggle.

                                                                                                                                                42 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: smtucker
                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Aug 27, 2009 08:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Blais's blog said that each season's kitchen gets upgraded for the next season as they see what the cheftestants bring in to use (i.e., the Immersion Circulator is now standard equipment), so I wouldn't be surprised if the dishes were upgraded as well - I agree - the plating in last night's episode was beautiful - the plates AND the food!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                    goodhealthgourmet Aug 27, 2009 09:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                    speaking of the immersion circulator, what was Bryan *thinking* trying to sous vide that thick piece of fish in a 30-minute challenge? my first thought when he said it was that there was no way it would be cooked through...and when he tasted the dish, Todd English commented that the fish was "very rare" - and it didn't sound like praise to me.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                      LindaWhit Aug 27, 2009 09:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                      I thought the same thing - I thought sous vide was a low-and-slow method of cooking - how in the world could he have cooked it at *all* in 30 minutes?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                        scubadoo97 Aug 27, 2009 10:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                        Same here. Not the technique I'd go for in a 30 min. challenge. You have to wonder what's going through their minds. Undoubtedly these brothers are very talented chefs

                                                                                                                                                        I have to say I think this season's contestants are some of the most talented I've seen so far as a group.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                        g
                                                                                                                                                        grant.cook Aug 27, 2009 10:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                        I believe they have a blast chiller now as well..

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: grant.cook
                                                                                                                                                          aser Aug 28, 2009 04:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Are you referring to the anti-griddle? It's made by the same company (polyscience) behind the immersion circulator used on the show and in most restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                          http://www.cuisinetechnology.com/anti...

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: aser
                                                                                                                                                            g
                                                                                                                                                            grant.cook Aug 28, 2009 07:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                            I don't think so.. but maybe - they use one on Iron Chef. Basically its a refrigerator/freezer on steroids, so they can do things like semifreddo's, ice cream, etc. without waiting the hours it takes a normal fridge to chill it down. Perhaps last season's refrigerator chaos caused them to think about needing it..

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: grant.cook
                                                                                                                                                              b
                                                                                                                                                              Buckethead Aug 28, 2009 08:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                              A blast chiller and antigriddle are different things, a blast chiller is just what you describe, a high-powered freezer that can chill things very quickly. An antigriddle is a griddle that makes things cold rather than hot.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Buckethead
                                                                                                                                                                aser Aug 28, 2009 01:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Yes I know what the differences are, I just haven't seen them use a blast chiller yet. Then again my memory is not the best.

                                                                                                                                                                They're all making ice creams/gelatos with either liquid nitrogen or paco jets, another tool upgrade.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                          g
                                                                                                                                                          gyozagirl Aug 27, 2009 11:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                          I went over to Bravo after seeing this post... does Richard Blais' blog photo look a little... strange to you?? I didn't even recognize him in the photo!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gyozagirl
                                                                                                                                                            m
                                                                                                                                                            momjamin Aug 27, 2009 11:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                            New 'do -- only a semi-faux-hawk.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gyozagirl
                                                                                                                                                              LindaWhit Aug 27, 2009 11:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                              YES! Phew, I'm glad someone else brought that up. Don't know if he's lost weight or what, as his face looks MUCH younger in these photos as compared to when we've seen him on TV. But it seriously looks like his Mom spit-flattened his hair, leaving only a wee bit of the fauxhawk sticking up - rather like Alfafa from The Little Rascals. LOL

                                                                                                                                                              I thought it was someone else - perhaps a friend of Blais's subbing for him while he's busy with his restaurant - until I began to read the blog and realized it was him.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                r
                                                                                                                                                                Reignking Aug 27, 2009 11:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                He has lost weight, during his vegan experiment. I thought it was a picture of someone else, actually.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Reignking
                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Aug 27, 2009 12:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  Vegan experiment? Never realized he was eating vegan only. I take it he's no longer doing that?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                    r
                                                                                                                                                                    Reignking Aug 27, 2009 12:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    3 weeks long. http://blogs.creativeloafing.com/omni...

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: smtucker
                                                                                                                                                            k
                                                                                                                                                            kmcarr Aug 27, 2009 08:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                            "Did the "pantry" upgrade the plate options this year? So many lovely dishes they used. I thought this was some of the nicest plating we have ever seen for a catering event."
                                                                                                                                                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                            Since they are at the M Resort and Spa I imagine they have access to their (presumably) huge assortment of catering supplies.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kmcarr
                                                                                                                                                              HungryRubia Aug 31, 2009 09:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                              The fancy little clear dishes they had in the challenge were also around during Top Chef Masters so I don't think it's the M Resort.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: smtucker
                                                                                                                                                              t
                                                                                                                                                              tofuburrito Aug 27, 2009 09:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                              Let's hear it for the tofu-love last night! How many thought the tofu ceviche was going to be a dismal failure? While that was going on I served Mrs. Tofuburrito my world famous Caribbean tofu (actually it was the first time I made it so it's not world famous yet ).

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tofuburrito
                                                                                                                                                                Phaedrus Aug 27, 2009 10:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                Well, its famous in tofuburrito world....

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tofuburrito
                                                                                                                                                                  n
                                                                                                                                                                  newhavener07 Aug 27, 2009 01:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  I'm a tofu lover but I admit I gave a snort of derision when I heard the term "tofu ceviche." Glad to be proved wrong! Is the recipe up somewhere? Reminds of the "tofu steak" I serve sometimes, raw, cold tofu with some soy sauce, ginger and scallions. Great with a good-quality tofu on a hot day!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: newhavener07
                                                                                                                                                                    LindaWhit Aug 27, 2009 01:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Quickest way I've found to find a recipe on Bravo's site is click on the Recipes link and put the cheftestant's name in the search box:

                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipe...

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: newhavener07
                                                                                                                                                                      Ruth Lafler Aug 27, 2009 02:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      No one has mentioned that the bride specifically requested a vegan dish for one of her friends. Tofu, if you know how to handle it, makes a nice blank canvas for an interesting flavor palatte.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                        g
                                                                                                                                                                        grant.cook Aug 28, 2009 07:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        I just like the quote from the first week about quinoa - "No one eats that sh*t! and the sort of perplexed looks from the other chefs when she's talking about how its sort of processed to be meat-ish..

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: grant.cook
                                                                                                                                                                          goodhealthgourmet Aug 28, 2009 08:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          the product in question was *seitan* not quinoa - huge difference.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                            g
                                                                                                                                                                            grant.cook Aug 29, 2009 05:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Not that big a difference.. no one eats that sh*t either.. bring on the carnitas cooked in lard!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: grant.cook
                                                                                                                                                                              goodhealthgourmet Aug 29, 2009 05:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              "Not that big a difference.. no one eats that sh*t either"
                                                                                                                                                                              ~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                              umm, one's pressed wheat gluten, the other's a seed. they're not even *remotely* related. and judging by the number of threads on the Home Cooking board about quinoa, many of us do, in fact, eat it...voluntarily, and quite happily, i might add.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                Caitlin McGrath Aug 29, 2009 07:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Including many not in search of vegetarian fare, and I daresay quite a few who also eat carnitas fried in lard.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                                  k
                                                                                                                                                                                  KailuaGirl Aug 31, 2009 10:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  You can count me in that group - an omnivore who loves her carnitas but also tries to do things that are "healthy" every now and then. Quinoa is great in anything you'd normally use grains for . I sometimes make a salad that's sort of a riff on tabouleh, one of my favorite dishes, using quinoa.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: tofuburrito
                                                                                                                                                                      chowser Aug 27, 2009 03:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      The tofu doing so well proved the woman who was eliminated last week wrong because she thought she was eliminated just for serving seitan. You can serve them, you just have to serve them well.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tofuburrito
                                                                                                                                                                        q
                                                                                                                                                                        QSheba Aug 27, 2009 09:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        I'm not a tofu fan in general but I was really intrigued by the tofu ceviche... The guys in general seem much more adventurous. How they even come up with ideas like the "chips and guacamole" macaroon is beyond me. That's what I love about this show- they can create the most amazing food in such a short time. Alas I can only settle for Bravo's Recipe Finder and my inferior cooking skills (and budget!)!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: QSheba
                                                                                                                                                                          ArizonaDave Aug 27, 2009 10:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          Fabio has a video on the Bravo TC site making the Chips and Guacamole Macaroon.
                                                                                                                                                                          Looks fun and easy and of course Fabio is hilarious...
                                                                                                                                                                          "That's justa wrong-uh by any means"

                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/video...

                                                                                                                                                                          AzD

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ArizonaDave
                                                                                                                                                                            Fritter Aug 28, 2009 04:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            Some one needs to show Fabios assistant how to dice an onion. Good Grief talk about poor knife skills.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Fritter
                                                                                                                                                                              ArizonaDave Aug 28, 2009 07:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              Honestly I missed that. The assistant was a chef from Michael Mina if I remember the title overlay correctly.

                                                                                                                                                                              Hmmm. The video seems to have been taken down... they must have noticed the onion! Oh well, it was a funny clip I thought. Now they have Brain Malarkey doing a healthy version of the dish - Scrambled Egg Whites with Corn Avocado Salsa.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ArizonaDave
                                                                                                                                                                                Fritter Aug 30, 2009 04:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                The onions were cut so poorly even Fabio commented and said something like they don't all have to be the same size! LOL
                                                                                                                                                                                I have to believe some one was VERY nervous about being on camera. The result was pretty funny because there was just no way some of those onions in the guacamole were getting stuffed into bite sized macaroon's.
                                                                                                                                                                                Why is Bravo having Fabio make some one else's dish instead of just having the Chef that created the dish do the video?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Fritter
                                                                                                                                                                                  Caitlin McGrath Aug 30, 2009 04:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  They've never done that. In the past, they've had Lee Anne do the recipes for the website.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                                    Fritter Aug 30, 2009 04:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    "They've never done that"

                                                                                                                                                                                    They have never done what? They definitely had a video of Fabio making the macaroons with guacamole. Did you mean they have never done that before?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Fritter
                                                                                                                                                                                      Caitlin McGrath Aug 30, 2009 06:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Sorry I was unclear. I meant they have never had the chef whose dish was featured do a video demonstrating it. In past seasons, Lee Anne Wong, the season 1 contestant who later worked behind the scenes in charge of the TC kitchen (and helped in developing the challenges), translated the winning dishes to the recipes that appear on bravotv.com and did whatever cooking videos appeared there. She also used to blog for them (I believe she's since left).

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                                        goodhealthgourmet Aug 30, 2009 07:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        ok, so it looks like Lee Anne *initially* planned to leave Bravo to help bring Kogi BBQ to the streets of NYC...

                                                                                                                                                                                        http://midtownlunch.com/2009/06/08/top-chefs-lee-anne-wong-to-bring-kogi-bbq-truck-to-nyc-by-end-of-summer-or-tomorrow/

                                                                                                                                                                                        but apparently that fell apart and she's now planning to open her own restaurant in NYC...

                                                                                                                                                                                        http://eater.com/archives/2009/07/hea...

                                                                                                                                                                                        the way the second piece is worded almost makes it sound as though she's still producing at Bravo.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                          dave_c Aug 30, 2009 08:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          I miss Lee Anne's blog. She gave a lot of insight and behind-the-scene's info.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Conspiracy theory.... She gave too much away so the Bravo execs cut her blog?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: dave_c
                                                                                                                                                                                            aser Aug 30, 2009 08:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            No, she quit to pursue other opportunities. She has plans to open her own restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: aser
                                                                                                                                                                                              LindaWhit Aug 31, 2009 05:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              No, I thought one of the bloggers said that Lee Anne's blog was coming back. Yup - Monica's blog (BravoTV.com's editor) says:

                                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/blogs...

                                                                                                                                                                                              "A lot of you asked about Lee Anne's Blog, and guess what? It's on its way! She has actually been in Japan for the last two weeks. So hold tight, and check back for her commentary on the first two episodes."

                                                                                                                                                                                              However.....if she's no longer involved in TC, I don't know how we'll get to know the behind-the-scenes info as she previously blogged about.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: ArizonaDave
                                                                                                                                                                              b
                                                                                                                                                                              bmorecupcake Aug 29, 2009 11:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              Does Bravo's web site allow rating recipes (or commenting)? (ala FoodNetwork, e.g.)

                                                                                                                                                                      2. jfood Aug 27, 2009 12:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Jfood was able to tune in after the quick-fire so only saw the elimination.

                                                                                                                                                                        his first impression, since he missed last week's show, is that these people are really frekin' good. How do they come up with these ideas on the fly. Major kudos to originality.

                                                                                                                                                                        And jfood only hopes that as the chefs get more comfortable, the execution meets the imagination and the oration gets left behind.

                                                                                                                                                                        Jfood is looking forward to some good clips of great ideas from these peeps.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. j
                                                                                                                                                                          jeanmarieok Aug 27, 2009 01:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          My thoughts - not surprised Eve went home - she seemed outclassed, by this very good bunch of chefs.

                                                                                                                                                                          I thought the division, boys versus girls, was dismaying also, because in this group of chefs, the weak ones all seem to be women. So I get why Jen was concerned.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. e
                                                                                                                                                                            Evilbanana11 Aug 27, 2009 08:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            These are who I think will make the top 5:
                                                                                                                                                                            Michael I.(cocky jersey boy), Michael and Bryan V(the brothers), Kevin(Big bear guy), Jen (Ripert's sous chef).

                                                                                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Evilbanana11
                                                                                                                                                                              n
                                                                                                                                                                              Nettie Aug 27, 2009 09:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              I'm thinking that at this point it looks like it will come down to Kevin and Jen C. I hope that Michael "got beat by a girl" I. doesn't make it too far.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Nettie
                                                                                                                                                                                NellyNel Aug 31, 2009 07:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                He never said that!
                                                                                                                                                                                He was misquoted on the TC board last week!

                                                                                                                                                                                What he said was that he didn't think a she she be at his level. I thought it was pretty ridiculous comment, but then someone pointed out that he was probably referring to her stregth in shucking the clams - which actualy made some sense. I watched it again, and it did indeed seem like he was referring to her physical strength. Although he did say something about an old lad later on!!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                  n
                                                                                                                                                                                  Nettie Aug 31, 2009 01:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Sorry, "got beat by a girl" was my nickname for him, not a direct quote. FWIW, when he made the comment about clam shucking I kind of rolled my eyes but didn't write him off right away. It was the "old lady" comment that got my dander up. The total number of borderline comments he's made about females have made me root against him.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Evilbanana11
                                                                                                                                                                                Fritter Aug 28, 2009 04:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                My top picks would be very close as well.
                                                                                                                                                                                Kevin Gillespie, Michael and Bryan Voltaggio and Jennifer Carroll.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Fritter
                                                                                                                                                                                  b
                                                                                                                                                                                  Buckethead Aug 28, 2009 06:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Me too. Right now I'd pick Kevin to win it all.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Fritter
                                                                                                                                                                                    k
                                                                                                                                                                                    KTinNYC Aug 28, 2009 06:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    These are my picks as well but with Michael I. as a wildcard. The rest can just go home now.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KTinNYC
                                                                                                                                                                                      chicgail Aug 28, 2009 08:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Perhaps, but so much of the fun is in watching it all unfold -- or unravel as the case may be.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: KTinNYC
                                                                                                                                                                                        goodhealthgourmet Aug 28, 2009 08:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        yep, i think we're all on the same page here. and based on Mike I's weak performance this time around, i'm hoping he makes an earlier exit than initial predictions might have suggested...

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. NellyNel Aug 31, 2009 02:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm surprised no one has mentioned the rather unprofessional behavior of the men when they jumped into the pool!
                                                                                                                                                                                    I would hope the hostess actually invited them to do so!

                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                      Phaedrus Aug 31, 2009 04:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      I glad someone else noticed that Nel. I thought it was pretty surprising. After they'd alljumped in I noticed that none of the guests were still there so I assumed that it was OK.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I am sure Colicchio would have read them the riot act if he'd seen it.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                                                                                        b
                                                                                                                                                                                        Buckethead Aug 31, 2009 05:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        I also thought the party was over and the guests were gone by the time that happened. Otherwise there would have been some drama about it on the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Buckethead
                                                                                                                                                                                          NellyNel Sep 1, 2009 05:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah I assume that's right, but I remember it being edited to make it appear as though the guests were still there. I'm getting old though so my memory is not that great!!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                            g
                                                                                                                                                                                            grant.cook Sep 1, 2009 10:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            I am sure the men were already at the Spearmint Rhino... they obviously had to have been done with service..

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Caitlin McGrath Sep 3, 2009 04:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Turns out it was no wonder Bryan did a great job on the meringues - according to this review, he does the pastries at his restaurant as well as the savory cooking. That gives him another advantage here, as we well know desserts are often a downfall on TC.

                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.washingtonian.com/restaura...

                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                                        goodhealthgourmet Sep 3, 2009 05:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        it'll be interesting to see [as time goes on] if Mattin has any pastry skills, and if Eric Ripert has armed Jen with some as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                          Phaedrus Sep 3, 2009 05:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Am I the only that have problems with Mattin's English? One of my best friends is French, he's from Paris, and I understand him perfectly.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                                                                                            goodhealthgourmet Sep 3, 2009 06:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            i don't really have a problem understanding him, but i *was* just wondering about that during last night's show. interesting that Bravo felt it was necessary to subtitle Lefebvre during TCM, but they're not doing it for Mattin - i think he's definitely more of a challenge than Ludo was.

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