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

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.

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: suzanne0115

      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. 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

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

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          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

            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. 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

            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

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

              Yes, "cevich" is very annoying.

              1. re: Reignking

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

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

                1. re: JayEsBee

                  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

                    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

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

                2. re: QSheba

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

                  1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

                    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictio...

                    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

                      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

                        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

                          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

                          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

                      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

                        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

                          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

                            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

                              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

                                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

                                  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!

                              2. re: grant.cook

                                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

                                  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

                                    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

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

                                    1. re: thew

                                      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 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

                                          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

                                            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

                                              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

                                                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

                                                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 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

                                                    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

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

                                        2. re: newhavener07

                                          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

                                            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

                                              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

                                              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

                                              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

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

                                              2. re: newhavener07

                                                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

                                                  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

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

                                                    1. re: Lizard

                                                      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

                                                        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

                                                  "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

                                                    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

                                                      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

                                                  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

                                                  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 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

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

                                                    2. re: theferlyone

                                                      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

                                                        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

                                                          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

                                                            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: Lizard

                                                              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

                                                                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

                                                                  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

                                                                    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

                                                                      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

                                                                      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

                                                                        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

                                                                          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

                                                                          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

                                                                            "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

                                                                              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

                                                                    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

                                                                      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

                                                                        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

                                                                          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

                                                                            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

                                                                              Would that be an ethical BM? LOL

                                                                          2. re: newhavener07

                                                                            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

                                                                              Well said. I completely support this perspective.

                                                                              1. re: grant.cook

                                                                                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

                                                                                  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

                                                                                    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

                                                                                      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

                                                                                        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. 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. 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

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

                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

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

                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                    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

                                                                                      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

                                                                                        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

                                                                                          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

                                                                                            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

                                                                                              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

                                                                                                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

                                                                                                  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

                                                                                                    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

                                                                                                      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

                                                                                                      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

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

                                                                                                        1. re: xman887

                                                                                                          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

                                                                                                          "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

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

                                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                              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

                                                                                                      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

                                                                                                        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

                                                                                                          "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

                                                                                                            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

                                                                                                      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

                                                                                                        Yeah, she did have that just medicated look.

                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                          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.