Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
Sep 23, 2009 07:19 PM

Top Chef Las Vegas Ep. 6 - 09/23/09 (Spoilers)

Awwww, they all wear red neckerchiefs in honor of Mattin! :-) Sounds like everyone liked him.

Michelle Bernstein is guest judge for the Quickfire - which is to make a Duo of the Angel and Devil on Your Shoulder. Winner gets immunity.

Least favorite - Ash (didn't get to his Devil custard); Bryan (ouch!) and Laurine. Top three were Michael, Eli and Robin - and Robin wins? For a salad and a crisp for dessert? Interesting choice. And how ironic is it that she wins when everyone said she should have been voted out?

Do have to say that Eli's confessional comments were cheap shots re: Robin's cancer. Boo. :-X

Penn & Teller are the EC judges - and they are to deconstruct a classic dish. Have to say that Michael's going all out with his deconstructed Caesar Salad - making his own bread? His deconstructed dish sounds like it's going to be good. (and yet again, Bryan's jealousy rears its ugly green head!)

And Toby Young will be back - as Ashley said, the "meanest guy in food criticism." Obviously she saw last season. :-)

Jenn seems definitely ferklempt with trying to deconstruct meat lasagna! Will be interesting to see how she does. And WOW. Eli and Kevin are REALLY helping Ron out with his deconstructed paella!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I interrupt your regularly scheduled Top Chef watching live thread to bring you this truly vomit inducing news:

    4 Replies
    1. re: charmedgirl

      ROFL!!! So what - they're both taking a five-month booty call?

      You're right. ::::::Barf::::::

        1. re: charmedgirl

          I was ok with them til I rewatched and saw them throw Ariane under the bus, it was just so slimy.

          1. re: charmedgirl

            They are combining cinema with culinary arts. Re-enacting 9 1/2 Weeks in 5 months.

          2. Mike I. doesn't know what Eggs Florentine is? Really? and nobody else is going to give him a clue! Hmmm. The chickens are coming home to roost.

            3 Replies
            1. re: araknd

              Someone told him. Mike? Brian? The V-bros have to stop trying to carry this guy.

              1. re: araknd

                ...and was I imagining it, or did he seem to be explaining to the judges what eggs florentine is as though they might not know?

                I could be wrong, but I read his tone as though he thought he was explaining a little-known fact.

                1. re: rweater

                  Little-known to him until someone else filled him in on the "secret."

              2. I think Eli took Mike's "controversial jerk of the season" crown. Never before has this show made me wish I could reach into my television and slap someone. I don't care how good his food is now...with an attitude like that, he deserves to lose. Horribly.

                14 Replies
                1. re: theferlyone

                  Amen to that. Mike is annoying, but Eli is a slimy louse.

                  1. re: theferlyone

                    Why is Robyn's cancer relevant? That's Eli's point. Don't beg for sympathy points.

                    1. re: Ericandblueboy

                      I didn't hear her as begging for sympathy. She was simply stating fact. She had cancer and sugar is not good for people with cancer.

                      Robyn may not be the trendiest or even the best chef in the bunch, but she made the best dish in that quickfire. Even a clock is right twice a day. Bernstein liked her dish best. Deal with it everyone.

                      I don't remember Eli winning anything so far. Sour grapes are not pretty.

                      1. re: chicgail

                        I think it's ..even a broken clock is right twice a day. A clock that is not set to the right time, but runs correctly will never be right.

                        1. re: saeyedoc

                          Thank you for your rigor with language. You are, of course, correct.

                        2. re: Ericandblueboy

                          Why is stating a fact begging for sympathy? To use a personal analogy...

                          My husband's vision is severely impaired and, although he's not totally blind, he uses a white cane. I remember a time when the word "disabled" became politically incorrect and folks were advocating the word "differently-abled." What a crock! You can call my huband's situation any touchy-feeling thing that makes you feel better, but that doesn't change the reality of his life. He does have limits. He does have frustrations. And he's found a way to live his life that is fuller and richer than that of many folks.

                          Fact: Robyn did have to monitor her sugar intake during cancer treatment. Fact: This personal experience was the basis of her focus on sugar during the QF.

                          Since we don't taste any of the food, why assume the judges get inappropriately swayed or bamboozled by personal commentary? We have seen at least one instance of what judges do to personal commentary that is irrelevant: During one early episode, the contestants were asked to cook a dish illustrating their vices. Ron cooked something that reflected his raft journey to America. During judging, Tom made very pointed remarks that while the story was a powerful one, it had no relevence to the challenge. Ron, got judged on his food and the results weren't particularly impressive.

                          I can't prove that Michelle Bernstein wasn't impacted by Robyn's comment, but you can't prove that she was in spite of Robyn's win.

                          1. re: Indy 67

                            I agree completely. She used her life experience as inspiration for the dish she created. Should she not have mentioned it? She did the right thing - the dish was personal and a reflection of her struggles.

                            Eli's comment was also insulting to Michelle and Padma by implying they would be swayed by a sob story and not judge the food on the plate as has been maintained from the inception of the show is THE criteria. It obviously tasted great.

                            The sourness of his grapes made me pucker at home.
                            Enjoying this season very much overall.


                            1. re: Indy 67

                              See, I actually agree with Eli here, to an extent. I myself have a heart defect that I've had from birth that limits my physical activity, my diet and other things. It was very obvious to me from a very young age that telling people about my condition (simply stating the facts) elicited sympathy. I was always very uncomfortable with how differently people would treat me or the things I did once they knew about my heart. I no longer volunteer the information unless I would be putting myself or someone else at considerable risk by not telling them. I certainly am willing to talk about it, but volunteering it is a different story. Whether or not stating a fact is begging for sympathy, it does elicit sympathy from most people. Now, that does not mean that Robin won because of her cancer, in fact I don't think that's the case (I think as complex and intriguing as Mike V's was, Robin's probably just tasted better). This is not the first time Robin's cancer has come up though. I don't think she is unaware of the emotional response that cancer elicits and were I in her position I know I would feel cheap volunteering it as often as she does. I think Eli seemed pretty rude in his comment, but I believe him when he says a lot of people were thinking it, though maybe not in such a catty way.

                              1. re: gastrotect

                                But if her QF dish was created specifically as the Angel and Devil (what she eats now vs. what she used to eat), how is bringing up her cancer "cheap"? She played within the rules, and it obviously tasted good to Michelle Bernstein to give her the QF win.

                                Yes - she has brought it up - but a lot of what we're seeing is her bringing it up in we have *no* idea what questions she's been asked to prompt the "cancer remark".

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  It seems the dish could have easily stood on its own as "sugary/decadent vs healthy/green". That seems self-explanatory and completely reasonable for an angel v devil dish. There really wasn't a need to explain why she chose the two. Had she been asked and then explained, that's another story. Her experience has obviously affected her to the point where she feels the cancer is now an integral part of who she is (she brought it up fairly early in the show if I remember correctly) as a person. Much the same way anyone would say "I'm from Minnesota/NYC/LA, etc", she says "I survived cancer." The problem I think is that most descriptors don't carry such emotional weight with them. Telling someone where you're from generally isn't followed by a noticeable change in how that someone treats you. Cancer, or some other intense defect/illness, stirs emotion in people (typically compassion) and I don't think that's lost on anyone. I just don't see the need to volunteer that information. Even if it is an integral part of who she is (my condition is certainly integral for me), she should be aware of how knowing that simple fact can immediately change how someone interacts with you. I'm sure she won on merit alone, but when you compare her plate to Mike's (and knowing his talent) it seems strange she would win. Had she not introduced something that carries such weight into the dish, I think it would be much easier for everyone to simply accept the outcome.

                                2. re: gastrotect

                                  I think that regardless of Robyn's statements regarding her cancer, and regardless of whether Eli was right to say what he did, those sorts of statements still come off as sour grapes. By now, reality show contestants should realize that everything they say is going to be edited and twisted to create drama and make the producers happy. Don't create bad PR for yourself.

                                  1. re: gastrotect

                                    Actually, you did a better job than I did expressing one of the points I wanted to make. I've found that most folks dealing with an illness or disability treat themselves and their condition rather matter-of-factly. The response that has worked for you is to not volunteer the information. However an approach is for people to bring up their condition with some frequency when the situation seems natural as a way to de-mystify their illness and minimize the sympathy response. There's no right or wrong way.

                                    We really don't know how Robyn handles her cancer in spite of the evidence on the show. Except for her brief comment to Padma and Michelle B, I think Robyn's comments have been made in the private interviews. The way the editors have used this footage makes others think Robyn is asking for sympathy as a strategy for success instead of cooking her way to the top.

                                    1. re: gastrotect

                                      Have to agree. I think Eli was commenting more on the relevance of her mentioning it. As opposed to dismissing the fact that she had been seriously ill.

                                      As we know it's all in the editing.

                              2. Sounds like Ashley and Kevin hit it out of the park on both of their dishes! (I love pot roast, so I would have enjoyed trying Ashley's dish).

                                I'm thinking Ron's in the bottom three. Not sure who else, but I think Michael, Ashley, and Kevin are top 3.

                                22 Replies
                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  For all her angst, Jenn seems to have come through with a good dish also.

                                  I, too, think that it's Ron's turn to go home. He looked completely out of it.

                                  1. re: araknd

                                    Oooh, I was right with all three of my Top 3! And Jenn - surprise, surprise, surprise! You did way better than you thought you did!

                                    And Kevin wins another! I really thought dark horse Ashley might take this one with the praise they gave her while eating her dish. I think any one of them could have easily won this one.

                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      Glad Kevin won but I think he got screwed with the prize... a pair of frying pans? Others have won huge cash prizes for quick fire wins and he gets an item you might see on the Price is Right. I'm sure he's simply happy with the win, but shouldn't the rewards be growing, like a Vegas progressive jackpot?

                                      1. re: tastyjon

                                        Progressive wins is a great idea - I kind of thought the set of Calphalon was kind of anti-climactic after some of the other wins. But hey - Kevin also won the chance to sit at the table during the French classic episode. So he's not been gypped. :-)

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          Seriously Calphalon pans for a chef? Don't they all cook with better products already?

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            I thought the Calphalon pans was also pretty surprising- but haven't there been elimination rounds where the winner doesn't get anything at all? (Aside from pride/relief!) This isn't the first time the Calphalon set has been given away on TC- didn't someone win it season 4- Stephanie or Richard?

                                            On a side note- I've never cooked on Calphalon- what's it like anyway?

                                            1. re: QSheba

                                              I personally love my Calphalon pans and cookware. I still remember the Christmas I unwrapped my beautiful new Calphalon sauteuse, a gift from my hubby and my first Calphalon item, throwing my arms around him in joy like a kid who just received a real official Red Ryder b.b. in-laws looking on in disbelief. Hubby knew I wanted it, but couldn't help but feel sheepish whenever I proceeded to tell my non-foodie friends about my pan Christmas gift.

                                              1. re: KayceeK

                                                I, too, really love my Calphalon pans. Granted, I had some pretty crappy pans before I got the Calphalon but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Like you, Kaycee, I received mine as a gift (Valentine's Day) and it was exactly what I wanted.

                                              2. re: QSheba

                                                I think someone in another season has received them...forget who. And my sister has Calphalon, I believe. She likes them a lot from the clean-up factor. I still have my 20yo set of Farberware stainless that I'm happy with.

                                            2. re: tastyjon

                                              Yeah, not a stainless steel Calphalon that might have come in handy but Calphalon non-stick. They'll come in handy if he wants massive quatities of scrambled eggs.

                                              1. re: chowser

                                                I have two of the non-stick and I use them almost exclusively for eggs. The set I have is the stainless steel and I love it with a passion I usually reserve for living beings. ;-)

                                                1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

                                                  non-stick in anything but a fry pan is useless imo.

                                                  1. re: saeyedoc

                                                    Oh, you realllllly need to get a good, inexpensive nonstick saucepan if you don't think it's useful elsewhere. For things like caramel, or cooking rice or barley, I couldn't imagine going back to a nonstick.

                                                    My Calphalon nonstick saucepan model isn't made by the company any more, but it's indispensable to me.

                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                          "I'm thinking Ron's in the bottom three."
                                          i think it's pretty clear that Ron's going home...finally!

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            Laurine, Ron and Ash. Could Ash's dish be worse than Ron's? Rut-roh.

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              And it's bye-bye, Ron. Not surprising.

                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                              Ashley gave the best smile when she heard praise from the judges--she really looked radiant. Made me like her even more. Go Ashley!

                                              1. re: newhavener07

                                                Agree. I did a switch on liking/disliking Ashley and Eli this episode. I enjoyed seeing Ashley's face light up at the praise...and I became more angry as I thought about Eli's comments re: Robin's cancer. It was completely uncalled for, and cruel on Eli's part to even voice such a comment.

                                                And who was it in the Stew Room who said "I'm going to just make salad and crisp from now on!"? Ash? Hey - that's the way Robin cooks - simple flavors and dishes. I didn't see how that would win, but we didn't taste it, and obviously it tasted good together to win the QF.

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  You're assuming that Robyn's little sob story didn't affect the judges. It obviously affected many of the posters here.

                                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                    No, I'm not assuming Robyn's "little sob story", as you put it, didn't affect the judges. I'm saying that Eli's comment was completely uncalled for. It was Eli I was commenting on, not Robyn.

                                                    The point was her Angel and Devil - she told why she chose to make what she made. Simple as that.

                                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                                    The sob story was a bit unnecessary, but it's not like she gave a long speech. I also think so many people have had cancer that it wouldn't have made a big difference if her dish sucked. Anyway, it was just a quickfire.

                                              2. Can I just say I *love* Michelle Bernstein for putting Toby in his place? Woo-hoo! LOL

                                                27 Replies
                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  I don't know who Michelle Bernstein is. How is she latin? Her last name doesn't sound latino to me. And Barcelona's pronounciation isn't Spanish, it's Catalan. The best she can say is she tries to pronounce the dishs in their native tongue. Most latinos don't speak Catalan as far as I know.

                                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                    It's called Google.

                                                    Bernstein, born and raised in Miami by an Argentinean mother and a Minnesotan father,......


                                                    1. re: Brioche57

                                                      Ah, you beat me to the punch. You were posting as I was Googling. Also, Ericblueboy, I doubt Robyn's bringing up the fact she is a cancer survivor influenced the judges. From what I've read in the judge's blogs, it's all about the food. While she may not be the best chef this season, she had the best dish for that challenge.

                                                      1. re: Brioche57

                                                        she has two of the best restaurants in my city, Miami. Sra Martinez and Michy's. She is also married to a Latin dude, but is a Latin Jew. Great food.

                                                        1. re: Brioche57

                                                          It's called not worth my time and effort. I think she's a putz.

                                                        2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                          Hah, that's funny that she learned Spanish in Miami and has an Argentine father. Argentines are considered to have some of the "worst" Spanish in the world and Cuban Spanish is nearly incomprehensible to Spaniards. Speakers of Castillano would probably cringe at her pronuciation, just like we cringe at "cevichay." Either way, I thought it was a nasty comment and for the first time, I had a glimmer of sympathy for Toby. Not that I wouldn't trade him in a minute for Jay, of course.

                                                          1. re: newhavener07

                                                            Bernstein, born and raised in Miami by an Argentinean mother

                                                            and a Minnesotan father,......


                                                            1. re: newhavener07

                                                              "Speakers of Castillano would probably cringe at her pronuciation"

                                                              uh, all Spanish speakers are Castillian speakers, since Castillian is what is commonly called Spanish

                                                              and Argentines have the best accent

                                                              1. re: JulesEt

                                                                Any Spaniards out there want to weigh in?

                                                                1. re: newhavener07

                                                                  I studied aboard in Spain and I remember my senor telling me that Argentines have the best accent. He did a lot of traveling to Spanish speaking countries when he was in the Spanish Navy, but I guess it comes down to preference.

                                                                  1. re: JonDough

                                                                    I just got back from Argentina, and our guide joked about the Argentines having terrible Spanish. Among other things, they pronounce the "y" sound (either an actual "y" or "ll") like an "sh." So, for example, it took me a minute to figure out that when our guide said "plasha" he meant "playa" and when he said "parrisha" he meant "parrilla."

                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                      it's more of a slurred j or a zh than an sh

                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                        I think it depends on how hard the person is trying to speak "standard" Spanish. One of my Argentinian guides who works internationally and was traveling with an American group was using more of a slurred j, especially for the double-L, but she was the one who said that Argentinians use the "sh" pronounciation; another Argentinian guide who works within Argentina mostly with other Argentians was definitely using an "sh" sound, as described above.

                                                            2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                              Nope, the catalan language doesn't have the "th" sound to cs, but the rest of Spain (castellian speakers) does. Regular-old "Barcelona" is the pronunciation for a native catalan, "Barthalona" is the pronunciation from out of the area.

                                                              1. re: mjhals

                                                                It surprises me that her father is Argentinean, not Spanish, since she did the Castiliian (Spanish) "th" in BarTHalona. Wonder where she picked that up?

                                                                1. re: dmjordan

                                                                  i would guess (wait for it) - Spain

                                                                  1. re: thew

                                                                    A guess that's a little odd since she grew up with a father from (wait for it)--Argentina.

                                                                    1. re: dmjordan

                                                                      so jewish argentinian girls can't go to spain?

                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                        Please don't put words in my mouth. I'm just saying if she grew up hearing/speaking an Argentinean accent (not from her father as I said earlier, but her mother), that it's odd that she has a Castillian accent, even if she did spend some time in Spain. Chill out.

                                                                2. re: mjhals

                                                                  Nope, the catalan language doesn't have the "th" sound to cs, but the rest of Spain (castellian speakers) does. Regular-old "Barcelona" is the pronunciation for a native catalan, "Barthalona" is the pronunciation from out of the area
                                                                  Thanks (really!). So Michelle thinks she can pronounce Barcelona the way she wants to but Toby's wrong to say Pah-eh-la?

                                                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                    Well, she was responding to Toby's criticism of how others at the table were pronouncing paella. As the little ones in my life might put it, he started it.

                                                                    1. re: debbiel

                                                                      I don't think he was being "critical" at all
                                                                      He was be a snarky Englishman.
                                                                      (I'm married to one - so I know !)
                                                                      They think it's funny to "take the piss" a does take a while to get used to that humour

                                                                      I thought she came across as really bitchy - but I also think the rolling of the eyes was edited in to make it look like she was rolling her eyes at Toby - but really wasn't

                                                                3. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                  If you notice both her and Toby (when he was being snide) pronounced Barcelona with a Catalan accent, not a Spanish one.

                                                                  1. re: gastrotect

                                                                    no, they both pronounced it with a peninsular Spanish accent

                                                                    Catalan doesn't have the "th" pronunciation for 'c'

                                                                  2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                    first of, there's no such thing as a "latino last name." latinos come in all backgrounds

                                                                    and Barcelona has a Catalan and Castillian pronunciation. she used the Castillian one

                                                                  3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    Seemed to me there must have been something we didn't see with Toby and Michelle, coz it's like she came out swinging suddenly with a lot of anger.

                                                                    Is Michelle sporting a new nose?

                                                                    I dunno why she bugs me, but she does. Maybe it's the way too big grin or something. "I'm gonna feed you offal and yer gonna like".