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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!

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  1. I interrupt your regularly scheduled Top Chef watching live thread to bring you this truly vomit inducing news: http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2009/0...

    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 confessionals....so 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. gun...my 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 bit.....it 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".

                                                                  4. Holy verbal bitch-slap from Michelle! I'll bet Toby's face is still stinging from that one!

                                                                    55 Replies
                                                                    1. re: theferlyone

                                                                      That was hilarious. She eye-rolled him, too, I thought, earlier. If I catch this episode again, I'll watch for it. It was a fun episode. I think Ash's dish might have been worse, but his appeal may have swayed them. Without tasting it, it's hard to know.

                                                                      No brothers drama this episode. And I thought during the quick fire, the cameramen were looking for it.

                                                                      1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                        It sounds like what Ash put out was at least well-executed, if not reminiscent of shepherd's pie. Ron's dish wasn't even cooked properly.

                                                                        1. re: theferlyone

                                                                          Yes - but Laurine makes Fish and Chips and cannot even cook chips! Did she ever hear of a deep frier?

                                                                          Bravo has been sloppy with their editing and production lately that they actually leeked Eli's comments a few weeks ago.

                                                                          Granted, some of these chefs can cook, but some of them are so predictable with their use of ingredients and their pretentious approaches. I think the producers should ban scallops, parsnips, and ceviche. Also, do we really need the commentary from some of the contestants? I'm sick of hearing how poor Ashley was in her youth. At least nobody this season talks about their kids which is a plus over past years.

                                                                          1. re: vinhotinto75

                                                                            Doesn't seem like there would be much to do with deconstructing fish and chips...batter, fish, potatoes. I'm trying to think but I don't know what else you would do. It's not complex enough to deconstruct.

                                                                            Make a malt vinegar sauce?

                                                                            1. re: tobycat

                                                                              I was thinking along the same lines but there is no sauce that 'makes' fish and chips be fish and chips. Malt vinegar, tartar sauce, and lemon are all added as a personal preference. Maybe she could have fried the batter separately from the fish (like tempura batter) and laid it across the fish?

                                                                              1. re: gmk1322

                                                                                How about mixing it up by serving a single crisp potato pancake with a bunch of thin slivers of sashimi with some kind of malt vinegar-flavored foam.

                                                                          2. re: theferlyone

                                                                            "It sounds like what Ash put out was at least well-executed"
                                                                            nope. the judges made it clear that the lamb was cooked unevenly and butchered poorly. i honestly think he saved his own ass with his appeal to the judges - Tom really seemed to respect him for it.

                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                              So this is my question. We all know that a contestant fares better at JT when he agrees with the judges that his dish was poorly executed, rather than saying he/she thought it was good.

                                                                              But I was certain Ash said, when asked about the differing doneness levels of his chops, said he thought they were ok. Yet, when the contestants left and the judges were chatting, they seemed to say he knew he done wrong.

                                                                              I was left with raised eyebrows... Thinking I missed something?

                                                                              1. re: sasha1

                                                                                Sasha- I noticed that too, and agree that the not noticing the chops was bad, but here's what I think saved him: he proved he knew Shepard's pie should have potatoes, which he had made, but rejected after tasting due to gumminess. He followed one of the main TC tenants in tasting (at least part of) his dish and editing it accordingly. Unfortunately the editing left him w/ only half the flavor profile of Shepard's Pie, but still, I think it eecked him out of trouble.

                                                                                As for why he tried to make mashed potatoes (ie- potato puree) in a food processor, I have no idea.

                                                                                1. re: mjhals

                                                                                  That's a good point. He thought his lamb was ok (wrong) but knew his potatoes were no good (gold star). I figured they wouldn't send him packing after hearing the comments on Ron's dish.

                                                                          3. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                            Not any full-on drama, but Bryan did get a bit snarky about Michael making his own bread for his Caesar Salad.

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                              Yeah, he was a little catty about the bread - I forgot about that. But overall, less drama than previous episodes. And Bryan didn't fare as well as usual - I think he's the stronger of the two.

                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                I didn't take it as Bryan getting snarky. Instead I saw it as Bryan trying to make a joke. I think Bryan is such a serious guy so therefore it is hard for us to tell when he is being serious vs. making a joke.

                                                                                1. re: lizzy

                                                                                  Yea, I definitely took it as a joke, not snark.

                                                                                  1. re: lizzy

                                                                                    Totally, totally agree. Was meant as a joke.

                                                                                    1. re: lizzy

                                                                                      Bryan does come off as super-serious and compared to his brother more tightly wound.

                                                                                      1. re: lizzy

                                                                                        Does he ever smile? In the interstitial moment between commercials, when a tableful of them are shown cracking up over Mike I.'s cluelessness about eggs florentine, Bryan is standing right next to them looking like his dog just died.

                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                          That's funny- my fiance noticed this part and actually made me go back and play it again and again on the DVR. You're right, he has the weirdest look on his face. I don't know if I'd charaterize is "dead dog", but it's def. weird, although at the end he kind of smiles/smirks. Still don't know how to describe it even though we watched it about 5 times! I think the brothers are just a bit odd, and I think the editors are clipping snipets to play up the jealousy angle that may be slightly out of context to make them look even more "off". Weird dynamic though.

                                                                                          1. re: mjhals

                                                                                            if there wasn't the sibling rivalry, those brothers would be as exciting to watch as rachael ray reciting the alphabet. they sure can cook but they make for really bad tv. good thing this isn't the next food network star .

                                                                                            1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                              That's actually a really good point HabaneroJane. I have been feeling all along like the rivalry was stupid, underneath these two accomplished adults, and very out of character for guys who otherwise seemed pretty unemotional and low key. .... You have now made me wonder whether the editors are creating it and/or goading it along with their questions to make them more interesting.

                                                                                              1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                Personally, I think the editors are creating it, at least in part. Some of the shots just seem a little choppy and pieced together. Like the reaction shots of one brother when the other brother wins don't seem to be from the immediate moment after the win. I know nothing about editing, but it seems like a time lapse is in there, so who knows when brother A or brother B actually smirked/frowned or whatever.

                                                                                                Agree w/ charmed girl- they seem like very qualified chefs w/ little drama. I guess bad for TV, but I think I'd enjoy just watching the chefing aspect and don't need to be confused by the weird editing depicting them as embroiled in epic sibling battle.

                                                                                                1. re: mjhals

                                                                                                  I agree with your take, MJ. My impression is that Bryan V. is a very serious, professional guy focused on doing a great job, and that Mike V. is also serious about his cooking (although in some way less uptight than Bryan). After all, it is a competition, and being brothers, I wouldn't be surprised if there is some normal competitiveness there. But I don't get that sense that there is serious sibling rivalvry or jealousy. Rather the shows' producers want to play it up or distort it for dramatic effect.

                                                                                              2. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                                As much as I can't stand R. Ray, watching that would be a LOT more exciting than those two dull brothers.

                                                                                                1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                  at the very least RR would be amusing...

                                                                                                  those two are duller than dull...

                                                                                                  1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                    Maybe it's a guy thing where silence is okay.
                                                                                                    The brothers go into there thought process for the dish and get down to business. Watching there technique is worth a thousand words. I don't want no cutesy terms - evoo and yummo, nor do I need raspy gibber-jabber.

                                                                                                    1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                      Agreed on the brothers' business-like approach. LMAO re: evoo and yummo (those words should be banned!) and raspy gibber-jabber.

                                                                                                    2. re: Joanie

                                                                                                      they are not competing for a TV show!

                                                                                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                        No - but they are ON a tv show!

                                                                                                        and ......yawn

                                                                                                        (though I am excited by the food they create - which is what does count....but to watch them speak......yawn! double yawn!)

                                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                          That's it though, they don't care about entertaining you. They're just focused on winning.

                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                            Eh, I don't find them dull. Watching them cook and hearing about the food they create is good enough for me. Besides, as I mentioned above, I suspect they are a bit more fun loving then it appears. Brian has shown some promising hints of a dry sense of humor, and it may be that it just isn't translating well onto the screen.

                                                                                                            ... and I'll just say it. I think they're hot. Brian more than Michael, but still, I wouldn't turn either one down.

                                                                                                            1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                              ha! You don't find them dull because you just like to LOOK at them!
                                                                                                              No harm in that!

                                                                                                              I still don't know which one is which!

                                                                                                              1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                                +1. LOL, Thanks for saying it. They are definitely hot! And I also think Bryan has a wry sense of humor...I've heard something to that effect from friends who have had the chance to interact w/ him while dining at the chef's stable at Volt.

                                                                                                                1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                  Wow - I dont see either of them as hot at all -

                                                                                                                  but then I like a fiery personality!

                                                                                                                  Those of you will remember my crush on Stefan from last year!

                                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                    To each his/her own, of course. But given that the show is a TV production and is edited, who's to say that there isn't a fiery personality lurking below the surface in real life? Like I said before, I've heard from people who have met Bryan IRL that he's got an interesting sense of humor and great personality.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                      Of course...
                                                                                                                      It took many episodes last season before Stefans sweet side emerged (to the viewers)
                                                                                                                      Is Bryan the older one?
                                                                                                                      I think the older one might have a sly side to him (I mean that in a good way personality wise)
                                                                                                                      The younger one - I can't even remember anything about him - not even what he looks like!

                                                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                        I think, but am not 100% sure that Bryan is the older brother. And yes, I'd say he's a sly fox (LOL). I get that "still waters run deep" vibe from him.. As for his brother Michael, it's hard to tell too much about him. I've seen him wearing a baseball cap a lot. Seems not as serious as Bryan for some reason. I also didn't see the episode in which he was supposedly flirting with Jen, but heard that he has a lighthearted side.

                                                                                                                        P.S. As mentioned somewhere else in this thread, I get the sense that the producers are trying to play up a rivalry between the brothers. We may never see their real personalities with all the editing going on and the producers' agenda. I'm not holding my breath.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                          Ok - i get the "deep" thing!! LOL!!

                                                                                                                          I definitely agree about the editing business

                                                                                                                          I'm looking forward to tonight!

                                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                            You will be disappointed, Nelly. It's all repeats tonight...not sure why. But 9pm is the camping repeat, and 10pm is last week's magic episode.

                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                              Oh drats!

                                                                                                                              Thanks for the heads up. I was really in the mood

                                                                                                                2. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                                  +2 and I don't know them apart either!! LOL

                                                                                                                3. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                  No - but they are ON a tv show!
                                                                                                                  You must've hated Top Chef Masters....most of them were boring.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                    I'd say at least half were interesting. The women were boring but many of the men had personalities: Schlow, Michael C., Art, Hubert.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                      You are wrong actually - I LOVED TCM!!
                                                                                                                      I loved most of the chefs personalities....Keller and Bayless especially -
                                                                                                                      Thier passion, excellence, and grace were inspiring!

                                                                                                                      I was also one of the few who didn't hate Oprah's chef (Love was it??)

                                                                                                                      TC and TCM were 2 totally different balls of wax for me...and I enjoy both for different reasons.

                                                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                        Oprah's former personal chef was Art Smith. Tim Love has a restaurant in TX, I think.

                                                                                                                  2. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                    You really hate the fact that I comment on the complete lack of personality of these two don't you? None of those chefs are competing for a TV show, but when Ash or Kevin or Mike I talk, I'm taken in by what they're saying whereas the brothers are such blank slates, I'm bored (even tho they're cute). I'm not denying their talent, just saying they're dull as freakin dishwater.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                      I'm bored (even tho they're cute). I'm not denying their talent, just saying they're dull as freakin dishwater.

                                                                                                                      Season 4 winner Stephanie was dull as dishwater. So was the undeserving Season 5 winner, Hosea. Personality does not (or should not) matter on TC as it is (or should be) all about the food. There is a Food Network channel for those seeking personalities.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Hurner

                                                                                                                        Have to disagree on Stephanie being dull as dishwater. She at least had animation to her voice; smiled; seemed genuinely involved in what she was creating.

                                                                                                                        I do agree that Brian and Michael seem ultra-serious, and almost seem like automatons at times. While a bit of inflection in their voice (or even cracking a smile now and then) would make it a bit more interesting to watch, I'm still watching for what they create and how they present it. In that vein, there have been times where I'd like Jennifer to "liven up a bit", but the food she puts out interests me, as did Stephanie's in TC4. Hosea's? Not so much.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Hurner

                                                                                                                          I didn't think S and J were that dull. Josea wasn't a huge personality, but he seemed like a nice, kinda fun guy. The brothers don't seem like that. I agree with Hurner and anyone else that personality has NOTHING to do with cooking. I'm just saying they're dull with a capital D and I don't think it's that hard to be serious about cooking while being engaging (i.e. Richard, Harold, etc.). Or at least be able to lighten up once in a while.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Hurner

                                                                                                                            I don't dispute your point at all.. or anyone who says it doesn't matter - it's all about the food...I agree...
                                                                                                                            but we were just commenting about thier personalities ....that's all

                                                                                                                            The same way folks have commented that mike I is an ass - he may be an ass and it doesnt matter...it's about the food

                                                                                                                            And I happen to agree about Stephanie..I never liked her much ....nor disliked her for that matter

                                                                                                                            Edit - this was a reply to Hurner

                                                                                                                4. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                  Good catch on the eggs florentine round table. I think this will always stick out in my mind, but remember when both the brothers were at JT and Tom had to tell them it was ok to smile? I can't remember if it was before or after announcing who won, but I do know it was after Tom said they were the top for that week.

                                                                                                                  I think we haven't seen the lighthearted side of Bryan's personality yet. I just don't know if it is the editing or not. Either way I'm guessing Bryan's sense of humor is very dry.

                                                                                                          2. re: theferlyone

                                                                                                            Sorry, that was nasty and pretentious on her part. I hate it when people pull the "I'm X so I can say "cebichay!" The subtext is "shut up gringo." That and the sour face she had most of the challenge made me really glad I'm not working in her kitchen.

                                                                                                            1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                              But Toby was kind of an ass about how people say 'paella'. So I thought it was OK if she smacked him.

                                                                                                              1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                <That and the sour face she had most of the challenge made me really glad I'm not working in her kitchen.>

                                                                                                                ? Michelle Bernstein is actually one of the nicest people in the business.

                                                                                                              2. re: theferlyone

                                                                                                                The first snarky comment from Toby this season, and she completely shut him down! It looked like Tom got a kick out of the verbal bitch-slap as well.

                                                                                                              3. Am I the only one puzzled by Tom's explanation of deconstruction? When I see that on a menu I assume the chef is going to take a dish apart and then reinterpret it, not just put a bunch of disparate elements on a plate.
                                                                                                                Must say that Ron showed himself a class act tonight. I teared up a little to hear him referring to himself as a "Top Chef" and talking about how blessed he is. Good luck, Ron.
                                                                                                                On the other hand, Eli showed a very ugly side. Yes, the producers manipulate footage, but the can't use the footage if you don't say it in the first place.
                                                                                                                Eli, I pray for your elimination.

                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                  Eli's comments really were appalling - i lost all respect for him.

                                                                                                                  and yes, it was sad to see Ron go because he seems like such a genuinely good guy, but he just didn't "bring it" when it came to the food.

                                                                                                                  1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                    I think everybody is being too hard on Eli....there's just too much behind-the-scenes that we don't see or know about. Yes, taken out of context his comments are insensitive (and maybe there really isn't any context other than him being a bit of a ****), but I get the feeling that Robyn was really getting on everybody's nerves and that perhaps she had done or said things that wouldn't paint her in such a positive light. We don't know, so I'm giving Eli the benefit of the doubt. Besides, I think the guy had been hilarious at other times. While we're at it, look at how he (and Kevin) were trying to help Ron. I thought that was generous and indicative of him being a good guy at heart.

                                                                                                                    1. re: boingo2000

                                                                                                                      Being stressed is like being drunk, people's true character comes out. No matter how you edit it, Eli showed his true ugly self.

                                                                                                                      1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                        We all have ugly true selves that emerge and say or think awful things at some point or another; we're all not on camera though, forced to deal with the repercussions of said awful thing. These ugly true moments may be fleeting as well, and actually not reflective of any more than the dark sorts of places many people can turn under situations of stress and high emotion and whatever else.

                                                                                                                        He said it, true, but it just means he said it. It's not some grand revelation of the true self that exists all the time everywhere else. It simply means that he, like most people, is capable of saying something nasty.

                                                                                                                        The bigger issue is the interview on Bravo in which he aimed to explain and justify his behaviour (and all with a nod to those he lost from cancer, in this way, as others noted, playing the very card he accused Robyn of playing).

                                                                                                                  2. All I can say is wow, yet again. So many of those dishes just looked incredible. I'd just love the chance to try almost all of those. Not liking pot roast myself, I'm really impressed Ashley did so well in the judges' eyes.

                                                                                                                    Pity Ron doesn't think in this mode easily. I can imagine a lot of interesting things to do with that dish. Like maybe deep-fry a take on arancini stuffed with sausage and snails, served alongside some perfectly grilled seafood in a paprika/saffron broth.

                                                                                                                    Dang, I want to try my hand at that one now!

                                                                                                                    Still loving this season. I'm also hoping Toby will remain a bit subdued. I'm sure Bravo knows how little a lot of the audience thinks of him.

                                                                                                                    1. I am in the process of making an Eli Voodoo doll. Later I will deconstruct it.

                                                                                                                      The two dishes that in my mind made absolutely no sense for deconstruction were the pot roast and the fish and chips. How can you deconstruct the already deconstructed? Thank goodness Ashley didn't have a problem wowing the judges, but didn't she basically serve pot roast?

                                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                        Not in my mind. Classic pot roast, to me, is the vegetables cooked with the (stringy, sodden, unappealing) meat. Hers was the opposite.

                                                                                                                        1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                                                          dmd_kc: I can tell you've never had properly prepared pot roast, because it is never stringy nor sodden. I feel bad for you. Pot roast, done right, is easily equal to the very popular short ribs, brisket and shanks.

                                                                                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                            Is that an invitation to your house!? :)

                                                                                                                            I'm actually not a huge fan of any braised red meat in general, and never have been.

                                                                                                                            1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                                                              sure! ;)

                                                                                                                              Your taste buds may just veer in a different direction than a lot of others, but I grew up eating succulent braised meats (My mom and my aunts really excelled in the kitchen.) and I guess I expect them to be that way. I DO think many people overcook when they braise, and therein lies the problem. (One reason I have never cared for those slow cookers/crock pots.)

                                                                                                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                It's really more textural to me. When I have the irony taste of meat, I much prefer it seared. But hey, I'm open!

                                                                                                                                I've had many that were good -- just not my thing. Pot roast wasn't in my mom's usual repertoire, so that's a big part of it too.

                                                                                                                                1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                                                                  It may be that you'd like Ashley's dish then: she mentioned that she likes the taste of pot roast, but really dislikes the texture (so was happy to be able to make a deconstructed version of that pot roast).

                                                                                                                        2. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                          What the others said about pot roast. I do agree with you on the fish and chips, though. Lasagna, shepherd's pie, etc., are all things where you get multiple elements in one bite. It's one dish with lots of things in it. To me, fish and chips are fish and chips on the same plate (or in the same wrapper), but I don't eat fish and chips all in one bite. Am I missing something?

                                                                                                                          1. re: rweater

                                                                                                                            I kind of wish she had plated the soggy chips and pointed out she was staying true to its British origins.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                              Better yet, slam a plate of soggy chips and funky fish down in front of the judges with a snarl and then demand $20. That would be true to most of my f&c experiences in the U.K. Then follow up with an aperitif of Pepto Bismol.
                                                                                                                              Don't get me started on late-nite kebabs U.K. style--I don't think my stomach will ever recover.

                                                                                                                        3. Wow! That Eli is something. Personally, I think he's been lucky to team up with Kevin on the previous challenge. He obviously thinks he's a top tier chef, but he's not in the league of the brother's V, Kevin and Jennifer.

                                                                                                                          I don't know if it's editing, but the top tier chefs seem to talk and focus on the challenge, their worries and their thought process to get the dish together, while the lower tier chefs complain about each other instead of focusing on the food and getting the job done.

                                                                                                                          15 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                            his dishes got good reviews in the quickfire and the elimination challenge. i don't know. his comments didn't bug me that much and from laurine's complaining and ash's comment, it is obvious that robyn has rubbed a LOT of people the wrong way and my guess is that it came out from that.

                                                                                                                            i mean aside from the one quickfire (which frankly i'm not convinced wasn't tainted by emotion) her dishes have been pretty skewered. if she hadn't had immunity her condensed cream of celery soup may have sent her home.

                                                                                                                            1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                              We see this the same AMFM. I do think the quickfire was tainted by emotion and I believe without immunity Robyn most likely would have been in the bottom and faced Judge's Table.

                                                                                                                              1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                I'm disappointed that there are those of you that think Michelle Bernstein's giving the win to Robyn was tainted by the emotional tug at the heartstrings. While I don't disagree that Robyn isn't Top Chef material, and hasn't proven it to the viewers (nor, it seems, to the other cheftestants), she won this QF by following the challenge rules and obviously producing a tasty duo dish. However, if she hadn't won QF, she most certainly would have been in the Bottom - perhaps being the 4th in the bottom, as the other 3 also should have been there based on what we saw.

                                                                                                                                As Tom has said in the past - why would he (or in this case, she, as it relates to Michelle Bernstein making the final decision for the QF winner) want to taint her own reputation in the industry by giving a challenge win to someone because of the emotional aspects to it? This show obviously garners a great deal of respect from a LOT of chefs in the industry--just look at the guest judges they've had on the show this season. Why would anyone want to jeopardize that?

                                                                                                                                I cannot believe that a judge would choose to give a win based on emotion vs. based on following the challenge rules and the taste of the dish and potentially be called out amongst their peers in the industry for doing so.

                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                  Judges are not without emotion. Robyn had a great story/experience for the Angel v. Devil Quickfire and was smart enough to use it. I believe without that story MB would not have been as impressed....afterall it was a crisp and salad. Cancer may have touch MB in some way. I don't think it was a case of "let's pick the person who had cancer to win" but I do believe at least subconsciously it made a difference. And I believe Robyn is okay with that. She got immunity at a time she needed it most.

                                                                                                                                  Tom can talk about it being all about the food all he wants, but as many dishes and as many times these contestants face the judges I don't believe for a minute that they don't have preferences based on stories, presentations, personalities, and previous challenges. Is it about the food? Yes. Is it only about the food? I don't think so.

                                                                                                                                  A good example of that would be Jen. She remarked on the lack of presentation her dish had that she was not pleased with it. I agreed with her. I was surprised no judge mentioned the presentation but simply on how good it tasted. I believe other contestants would have at least had the presentation mentioned in some aspect.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                    I don't disagree that judges are not without emotion. However, it is about the food. Just as a dog show judge is to judge on the best aspects of the breed of dog, so are these chefs and restauranteurs to judge on the food. I do believe they do their best not to bring in previous challenges, especially since as the guest judge cannot use that criteria in judging the food within their episode.

                                                                                                                                    But again - based on the parameters of the challenge, Robyn followed the rules. While Michael's dish might have been more asthetically pleasing to the eye, he made a modern and traditional salmon dish. Angel and Devil on Michael's shoulder? I'm not seeing it. Whereas I do see it as it pertains to Robyn's dishes as a chef - one thing she no longer can eat (but perhaps has to still make) and one thing that she can eat...and the reason is based on her cancer. Perhaps without the story, Michelle Bernstein wouldn't have chosen Robyn to win....but then without the background story, Robyn in all likelihood wouldn't have made those two dishes and this entire discussion is a moot point.

                                                                                                                                    And remember we don't see the entire JT; we see such a tiny portion of what is said/debated. So we have no idea if they didn't discuss Jen's presentation of her dish. We saw what the Elves chose to edit down into 47 minutes of show.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                      I don't disagree that judges are not without emotion. However, it is about the food
                                                                                                                                      Those are inconsistent statements. If you are influenced by emotion, then you can't be unbiased.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                        How are those inconsistent statements? Having emotion doesn't mean being influenced by it. And having emotion is not inconsistent with it being about the food.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                                                          I'm not a shrink but I doubt you can truly be unbiased if you hear sympathetic backgrounds. I am a lawyer though. Do you know rape shield laws? An accused rapist can't bring up the slutty propensity of a victim as a defense. Why you ask? Because jurors can't expect to be unbiased.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                            it isn't court, and nobody raped anybody. it's a t.v. show about cooking. chillax. and this is *me* telling you to chillax, so that's saying something LOL

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                              What in God's name do rape shield laws have to do with the judges on Top Chef?

                                                                                                                                          2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                            All human beings have emotions. Can't stop 'em. Can't change 'em. However you can set them aside and not have them influence your actions.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                              Thank you Jasmine and chicgail. Exactly what I meant but didn't write in my post to which Ericandblueboy responded.

                                                                                                                                              As judges, they *are* to set aside their emotions and personal feelings and judge the food. Just the food. Some here obviously don't think they are able to do that. For the integrity of their own reputations and the show, I'm inclined to believe that they do.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                          Interesting contestant, Jen. I don't alway care for her attitude, and she tends to sulk and act smug. But the food she makes appeals to me to most (along with Kevin's). She takes a familiar classic and creates something new and obviously very satisfying to the judges. She seems to cook to please the diner, whereas I see a lot more ego in Bryan and Michael, who seem to cook to please themselves.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                        Of the dishes plated in the QF challenge, Robin's plate looked like a very good dish. Also, I think she nailed the concept of the challenge.

                                                                                                                                        Robin is this season's Marcel?
                                                                                                                                        Unpopular with the cheftestants and a constant jibber-jabberer. Hopefully, she wont bust out some rapping poetry on the rooftop.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                          I don't think Robin has anywhere near Marcel's chops. He was obnoxious, but the boy can cook. I'm not saying that Robin can't, but so far she's fallen short on several occasions.

                                                                                                                                    2. Really surprised at Ashley's skill in this challenge, didn't think she had it in her. The caramelization of her beef looked luscious, colour me impressed.

                                                                                                                                      Eli probably should've kept his thoughts to himself, but then reality tv wouldn't attract ratings. You can tell the rest of the cast felt likewise, he said what others were thinking off camera. Robin is getting on everybody's nerves w/ her constant yapping.

                                                                                                                                      I would have to say Ron is one of the least skilled contestants on top chef, up there w/ those useless CIA students. I rather have 3 less episodes instead.

                                                                                                                                      I have a feeling Michelle Bernstein watched Toby on season 5. Much like a lot of people here, she had him tarred and feathered before he made his first appearance.

                                                                                                                                      12 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: aser

                                                                                                                                        Robyn's constant yapping is one thing. I think that would drive me nuts as well. But Eli's comment on Robyn's cancer was completely unnecessary. ETA: I also think it is very rude of Eli to assume that Michelle Bernstein gave the win to Robyn out of "pity". She most certainly doesn't seem like she'd ever do that - she's way too direct and forthcoming for that.

                                                                                                                                        As for "much like a lot of people here", we didn't tar and feather Toby Young last season until *after* he made his snarky, unfunny, long-winded commentary on several dishes. THEN we tarred and feathered him. ;-)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                          I am glad Robyn won the quickfire. She is passionate, if not a bit chatty.
                                                                                                                                          Ron definitely deserved to go considering that not only did he fail at deconstructing the paella (not that I'd know how to do any of that myself, but hey, I'm a viewer, not a contestant), but he failed at making a decent constructed one. He seemed very in over his head in this game anyway.
                                                                                                                                          Kevin is my complete favorite. He's so talented, his mole sounded stellar and he isn't a cocky tool like the brothers and Mike.
                                                                                                                                          Was glad to see Jen humbled by this challenge even though she totally knew what she was doing and I think played her confusion and doubt up a bit more than she needed to.
                                                                                                                                          How bout when Padma said she's had bull's testicles before and Penn says, "I bet you have." Ha!!!!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                                                                            I'm a Spanish teacher and I have a very old copy of a Planet Food where Padma goes to Spain. In a restaurant, she is presented with bull's testicles and refuses to eat them but does try the sauce. She says, "The sauce tastes like testicles." and in the darkened classroom I hear the voice of a 15 y.o. boy, "How does she know what they taste like?" As inappropriate as it was, I couldn't stop laughing.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                                                That's great! Hope you didn't in trouble with the PTA!

                                                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                I seem to recall Toby redeeming himself towards the latter part of season 5. He was much more restrained w/ his comments, no longer dropping those over the top similies/metaphors. It seemed to have been too little too late for most people as the hate fest was on already.

                                                                                                                                                I for one am glad he's back.

                                                                                                                                                Then again, I never understand why a lot of you love/hate these people so much. You complain about the contestants being high school cliquish, but you're doing the same thing on this board w/ the "snarky" critiques.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: aser

                                                                                                                                                  This is a message board, though, and we don't have the luxury (or misfortune) of tasting the dishes put forth. All we have to go by is presentation and personality -- and the latter counts for A LOT in reality Teevee. Take it or leave it, it's the way it is.

                                                                                                                                                  If we didn't love them/hate them why would we watch? You need to have someone to root for or loathe. It's what makes us tune in every week and also what makes all of the Top Chef threads here on Chowhound longer than a computer-screen mile.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                                                                                    I like some contestants, others I don't care for much. I'm not telling people not to root for their favourites. What I mean is that some people get emotionally attached to certain contestants, perhaps too much?

                                                                                                                                                    They take offense if another poster doesn't feel as enthusiastic as they do about a contestant. It's just a tv show at the end of the day.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: aser

                                                                                                                                                    True, Toby toned down his inane comments towards the end of last season, and other than the bulls testicles remark, he was relatively OK in this week's episode. We'll see if that continues.

                                                                                                                                                    I guess what I didn't like about Toby was he was trying too hard last season. What he was saying Just. Wasn't. Funny. Even though he thought he was. If he just gave a critique of the food without trying to be the dry-wit Brit, and I'd appreciate what he says more. If something he says happens to be funny, well, good on him then.

                                                                                                                                              3. Lee Anne finally is back blogging for her last TC season! Lots of info here: http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/blogs...

                                                                                                                                                Interesting comment re: last show before the finale - is she talking about another set of phenomenal judges, i.e. the classic French dish show a few weeks ago?

                                                                                                                                                And Toby's blog says why he didn't show up before now - guess he was in a bicycle accident (he on bike; car hit him) in London before flying to Vegas...and when he did finally get to Vegas, producers decided he "was TUFTY: Too Ugly For Telly". :-D

                                                                                                                                                AND Eli is interviewed by the BravoTV.com editor for their Burning Questions blog: http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/blogs...

                                                                                                                                                38 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for posting all the links, Linda. ;)

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                    I'm not obsessed with this show at ALL. Nope. I'm not. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                      So, I'm curious. After reading what Eli had to say did that change your mind on his Cancer remarks?
                                                                                                                                                      I agree her QF dish seemed uninspired - but I also wasn't particularly surprised when Mattin was eliminated. I was dumbfounded that he screwed up the previous week attempting to cook a traditional French dish, considering he's FRENCH. But the contestants loved him and hate Robin. Seems like a popularity contest and incredibly cliqueish.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                                                                                        No, it didn't change my mind on what Eli said. I think he was wrong and rude to throw that out there. Just as I think Ash was wrong for being snarky in the Stew Room and saying "I'm only going to make salad and crisp desserts from now on!" and just as I felt that Mike Isabella was being rude in not offering a red neckerchief to Robyn (whereas everyone else seemed to be handed one or at least had one, Robyn had to *ask* for one).

                                                                                                                                                        We have *no* idea how her dishes tasted vs. everyone else's. But based on the challenge as it was stated, I think she followed it to the letter: "The angel and devil that you, as a chef, have to deal with." Making a modern and traditional version of salmon (Michael) or two versions of scallops (as Eli did - healthy and fattening) doesn't seem to fit the bill as well as Robyn's did. Sure, they tasted great, as they were in the Top 3 in the QF. But only Robyn's seems to have fit the challenge itself. Her dish just happened to also be very personal to her.

                                                                                                                                                        I think his interview is a bit of back-pedaling on his part when he realized how nasty it sounded. He very obviously doesn't like Robyn; fine, I can deal with that. But to use the cancer card against her? Sorry, doesn't cut it with me. I know they're tired; the show is shot in a very short time frame and they get little sleep. But his comment was extremely low-class and rude, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                          I agree. He hit a very sour note, especially as Robin seems like a generally nice--if somewhat annoying---person in the footage we've seen so far.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                            So you think Eli's a liar and that he misrepresented what other contestants felt? You and I aren't there, and I would rather believe Eli than your intuition.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                              No one said Eli lied. That was your interpretation only.

                                                                                                                                                              She said Eli was wrong and rude. She said that he backpedaled when he realized how nasty he sounded.

                                                                                                                                                              There's a lot at stake for these contestants and from time to time some of them get out of hand. We've seen it in past seasons and the sour grapes about Robyn's win sure looks like another example of that.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                Please tell me WHERE I said he was a liar? You really need to re-read what I wrote.

                                                                                                                                                                I said he was wrong and incredibly rude to say what he said about Robin "using" her cancer to garner sympathy for the win. And then in the interview with BravoTV.com, he seems to be backtracking and trying to cover his gaffe with using his own family as a "cancer cover" for himself when he realized what a tool he looked like.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                  Very ironic that Eli pulls the cancer card to cover his rear. He's a definite tool.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                          And yet another Burning Questions blog interview - with Robin, this time:


                                                                                                                                                          Interesting first question response:

                                                                                                                                                          Bravotv.com: Before the Quickfire, you could tell that you sensed the tension between you and the other chefs. What was it like in the house at that point?

                                                                                                                                                          Robin: Surviving the reality of living in the house in some ways was the greatest challenge! At this point forward everyone wants me gone and they are either ugly to my face (the majority) or the few that did play nice but clearly were part of the pack of Mike I. and his followers. I am not, nor ever will be a follower — a point I made clear by how I wore my red scarf that day.... Because I chose to express myself as an individual I was seen in a negative manner.
                                                                                                                                                          ETA: After reading what Robin did with her deconstructed clam chowder, I think she's got WAY more cooking chops that most viewers are giving her credit for! And she tried for reconciliation with Eli; he wanted nothing to do with it. Makes him more of a putz than I had thought after last night's episode. He's now tied with Mike Isabella for biggest jerk on this season.

                                                                                                                                                          I'm glad BravoTV.com did the interview with both Eli and Robin. Gave a lot of insight into their characters.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                            After reading both this and Eli's responses I have to say I like Robyn much more now and Eli much less.
                                                                                                                                                            I can't imagine the stress of being on national TV and having everyone gang up and crap all over your SELF (food quality I get since this is a cooking competition after all) while simultaneously trying to maintain your composure. Robyn may not be the best chef of the bunch but I have yet to see her do anything to anyone to deserve the malicious behavior she's been the brunt of. It's just so...high school. Grow the (insert f bomb here) up, people! So, she's annoying. Last year's Carla could be annoying and similarly New Age-y but the other chefs didn't make her look like a damn fool like the guys are doing to Robyn this time around.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                                                                                              I couldn't have said it better.

                                                                                                                                                              Robyn is showing up as a class act; perhaps not the best chef in the bunch, but certainly someone I would be proud to know. Does she talk too much. Yes she does, but I'll bet she's pretty darn nervous in that environment.

                                                                                                                                                              Eli and some of the others -- not so much. They may be good chefs as they should be, but they are not looking much like compassionate human beings. Hardly a requirement of a TC, but I'd rather have someone like that heading up my kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                Is this top compassionate human being?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                  I can't taste the food.

                                                                                                                                                                  The other contestants don't taste each other's food.

                                                                                                                                                                  \Robyn will not be Top Chef and we all know it, but we also judge people by what we hear and see. Many of this years' contestants, while they are undoubtedly awesome chefs have shown themselves to be pretty rude and unpleasant.

                                                                                                                                                                  Two different distinctions: Would i want to eat their food? Sure. Would I want to be friends with them? Nope.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                    i'm not so sure the contestants do not taste each other's food, at least sometimes. if you watch you can see that they will sometimes prepare extra, so they can choose the best looking one to send to the judges, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                      I have read that they always have to prepare an extra plate to be photographed (the one that we see on the screen). Maybe there's tasting of that plate after the pictures are all taken.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                                                                                        My understanding is that the production staff gets to eat the "show plate", one of their perks. Lee Anne often mentions it on her blog.

                                                                                                                                                                        The contestants get to taste each other food depending if they had any extra leftover. Then it's down to letting their "buddy" taste their food. So on avg no, not everybody gets to taste each other's food.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: aser

                                                                                                                                                                          It looks like they do a bit of cooking at the house, too. I'm sure they're at least somewhat aware of how their roommates' cooking tastes.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                                                                                                that i agree with.

                                                                                                                                                                but i still don't think she can cook.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                                                                                                  Per Carla. I think there are two main reasons for that. 1) Last season may not have been the strongest batch of chefs, but I think they were the nicest and most compassionate. If any group of cheftestants was not going to isolate someone, it was that group. 2) Carla was never perceived to have "gotten lucky". She had some solid wins and her failures were typically not disastrous enough for eyebrows to raise when she stuck around.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                    Hmm, I could've sworn at the beginning of last season Carla's dishes were all relatively unimaginative. It wasn't until it came out that she was classically trained that she started showing her chops.
                                                                                                                                                                    I distinctly remember her surprising the heck out of me - she had some pretty sub par dishes at first and then out of nowhere she became interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                                                                                                      I agree with that. I just mean there was never a situation where I or (more importantly per this discussion) the other contestants couldn't believe she managed to not get sent home.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                      2) Carla was never perceived to have "gotten lucky".

                                                                                                                                                                      Except by that bitter bitch Casey!

                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                                                                                                      Very well put, isadorasmama, all of what you wrote. The others are making themselves look like asses. Robin is definitely better than they when it comes to acting like an adult. Perhaps she's not the best chef there; but her character is heads and tails above some of the children she's playing the game with.

                                                                                                                                                                    4. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                      See, I hate responses like that. She wasn't seen negatively for expressing herself as an individual. She just thinks that. Lisa thought the same thing. The truth is she was (unfairly) disliked because someone everyone liked (and thought was somewhat talented) got sent home instead of her, who they all thought actually should have gone. It's an unfortunate reaction to the situation, but sadly, a human one. That she seems rather annoying and that they think her bringing up cancer wasn't without some gamesmanship probably stem from the original issue: she's gotten lucky.

                                                                                                                                                                      Something else about about her response that got to me (and quite possibly the other contestants) was why she wore her scarf different. They were wearing those scarves for one reason: a tribute to Mattin. Whatever we thought of him, they obviously loved him. They wore the scarves around their neck to emulate Mattin. It wasn't about making a statement about being a leader or a follower, but about honoring a fallen friend (so to speak). Why she chose to make it be about something else I have no clue.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, I'm sure Mattin was a barrel of laughs, but Tom had to spit his food out behind a bush! It made another judge sick to his stomach! To blame Robin for his elimination is a real stretch. Seems like scapegoating and bullying at its worst. What is it about these shows that seems to reenct "The Lord of the Flies" every season? Could it be human nature? I can't wait for the swine flu pandemic.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                                                                          I'm not saying it's a justified response, but I think it's pretty clear. More than one of them spelled it out saying "Robin should have gone", "Robin has got lucky. She is here while better chefs have been sent home". I don't find it surprising. If you were isolated in a house and kitchen with a bunch of people for several weeks getting stressed out you'd want to be with people you like. For a variety of reasons, no one seems to like Robin much so they obviously would prefer her to be out. The fact that she has only had one or two flashes of brilliance make her an easier target I suppose. Stress is a scary thing and it can make people act horribly. I've always said I'd be a better person than that, but given the stakes and the setting, would I? I'm not sure I can honestly answer that question.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                          The chefs were wearing the scarves as a tribute to Mattin, but at the same time sending a message to Robin about their preference on who should have been gone.

                                                                                                                                                                          Robin had to ask Mike I for a scarf. Mike's reaction was priceless.

                                                                                                                                                                          Where did Mike I get all of those scarves?
                                                                                                                                                                          Overall, it's very childish.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                                            That would be a tough spot to be in as a contestant if you think about it. Someone who you really liked is gone, so you want to do something in their honor. But in this situation, doing that something is a direct slam on someone else. The opposite is showing a lot of happiness when someone in particular sticks around, therefore pointing out to the loser how glad you are they are leaving.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                              Do you think they'll pass around a pair of red slippers for everyone this week (with the exception maybe of Ash and that-other-woman-whose-name-I've-forgot-but-is-bound-to-be-knocked-off-within-the-next-two-weeks-so-why-bother).

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                            gastrotect, so WHAT if she wore it differently? The fact that she had to actually ASK for the neckerchief says volumes about Mike Isabella and anyone else who didn't bother to hand her one.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                              They all wore it a bit differently, IIRC. The V bros had theirs tied like neckties, others had different knots. In any case, when she had to ask for a kerchief, I couldn't help wondering, what if everyone but Robin had shown up for the QF with a red kerchief, and Padma asked why she didn't have one? Did the "mean girls" think of that?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                I didn't care that she wore off her neck until her comment. I figured she just wasn't comfortable with it on her neck, but she said she wanted to "express her individuality" by wearing it that way. The point of the the scarf was to be a tribute to Mattin. A silly one sure, but it seems everyone enjoyed his presence and that's the main reason for the gesture. She should have been offered one and Mike I not offering hardly surprises me based on his treatment of her in the past. Once she had one she chose to wear it differently because she believes that stupid notion that by wearing it like everyone else it would make her a "follower". As trivial as it may be it really bugs me when people think they are above others because they are "different". Everyone is different and everyone is the same. She was being just as high school as everyone else apparently (based on her interview response). As far as we can tell Mattin never really did anything to her personally, so I don't understand the need to turn a tribute to him into some philosophical statement about individuality. She has every right to feel slighted by this group, but vague "leader v follow" statements aren't going to change anything. If she wants the respect she has yet to get, she simply needs to outcook them. This was the first time she did and they obviously thought she was looking to curry favor by using her cancer. I don't think that she was; I've already said I think she believes her cancer survival to be integral to her and therefore her cooking. But I also know that to an outsider it might not be seen that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                                  The tribute to Mattin was also a slam at her, essentially telling her that she didn't belong there when Mattin did (other cheftestants' opinions).

                                                                                                                                                                                  She said Mattin and Hector were her best friends in the house and didn't treat her the way the others did...in fact, Mattin refused to treat her poorly when everyone else did. So when they were gone, she was on her own. Perhaps that was her statement in the way she wore her scarf.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                    That was my take on it too; in fact I thought that some of the others enjoyed wearing the scarf as a way of expressing their disappointment that she didn't go first (although I will say also that I think the editing was intended to give exactly that impression)

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree it was also a slam on her. I said something similar earlier. Any expression of emotion after JT is inherently the opposite expression of emtion towards at least one of the other JT chefs. This one was definitely more pronounced than most. That could be why she wore the scarf the way she did, but that's not the reason she gave. The reason she gave was no less high school than Eli's comment and the others' attitudes and that's what bothered me. There has always been one way to prove true individuality on Top Chef and that's with food.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Hector and Mattin being the ones that treated her well seems par for the course since the two of them appeared to be universally appreciated by the cast. I think the two of them were simply fun to be around.

                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                            Toby in a bicycle accident reminds me of European Vacation. I'm sure it was just a flesh wound.

                                                                                                                                                                          4. One thing that continues this season, despite popular opinion that this is the most talented cast yet, is that many of these chefs are not well-versed or familiar with classic dishes and sauces. This was apparent yesterday (and the intro episode in season 4) with Mike not knowing the ingredients to Eggs Florentine, Ash with Shepards Pie, and in the previous episode with classic French Sauces. Even if a chef is not classically/formally trained, they should have this basic knowledge.

                                                                                                                                                                            Also, I mentioned this above, but I still find it very problematic that a contestant on Top Chef cannot cook chips! I think Laurine interpreted deconstruction as destruction with that dish!

                                                                                                                                                                            Lastly, I would like to suggest to Bravo that they disqualify contestants from the use of:

                                                                                                                                                                            Ceviche Dishes
                                                                                                                                                                            Sous Vide
                                                                                                                                                                            Molecular Gastronomy
                                                                                                                                                                            Use of the term "Clean Flavors"
                                                                                                                                                                            Dishes with some foam element

                                                                                                                                                                            While I know it wasn't PC what Eli said, this is TV and soundbites produce viewers and ratings. I'm sure many of the other contestants were thinking the same thing as him and bit their tongues. I'm not excusing him by any stretch, yet I'm sure others _might_ have though something similar.

                                                                                                                                                                            24 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: vinhotinto75

                                                                                                                                                                              Where did you see that Ash didn't know what the ingredients were in a Shepherd's Pie? He ended up *not* using his gummy mashed potatoes, but he knew they were to have been there. He had the lamb, gravy, peas (although I don't think he had the carrots as Toby says is required).

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                I'm very surprised by Ash's performance in this episode. I eat fairly regularly at his restaurant in NY, which specializes in French-leaning cuisine. I find it hard to believe that he'd attempt a duo of custards for a quickfire. Also, that he was unable to produce a simple potato/parsnip puree (I assume he overdid the preparation in a food processor). Based on the above, I assumed that he would be sent home.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Hurner

                                                                                                                                                                                  Ash obviously knew he blew it trying to impress with the duo of custards. Didn't he say prior to making them something along the lines of "if this works, it'll be great; if it doesn't, well..."

                                                                                                                                                                                  And I don't get using a food processor for mashed potatoes. I stopped using an electric mixer YEARS ago for mashed potatoes after discovering the gluey mess that they can become. It wasn't like he was mashing potatoes/parsnips for 100 people - he was serving 7 or 8 at the table, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                  Is there any way to "unglue" a mashed potato mixture by adding more cream/chicken stock/liquid to thin them out? Does anyone know if that would have worked?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                    Ash and his custard attempts in quickfires should be on that DQ list.

                                                                                                                                                                                    He got lucky the first time when his "soup" was picked as a top 3 QF dish... but he tried it again and failed. Top it off he gets snippy with Robin about making salad and crisp. He needs to get a clue about time management.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't believe Ash was attempting mashed potatoes, but a desconstruction of traditional mashed potatoes by way of a puree. I'm not a chef, but I know that such a puree can be prepared, without gummy or gluey effect, in a blender.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                        LindaWhit, I think Ash's puree was already pretty liquidy by the time he realized it'd gone gummy, so he would have ended up with soup at that point. Potatoes get gluey when the starches in them are broken down too much by mechanical action, and I've never heard of any way to put them back together again -- though I bet you could salvage them somewhat by adding dry potato flakes.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Actually, you know, turning it into soup may have redeemed his overall showing and could have actually ended up interesting: Potato soup with lamb chops and vegetables as "shepherd's pie."

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                                                                                                                          Now THAT sounds like a great idea, dmd!

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                          I worked for Cuisinart for years, and one thing they ALWAYS stressed was that you could NOT make masked potatoes in the fp. Oh dear! that guarantees a gummy mess. and there is no way out once they are gummy, except to boil some more potatoes and start over.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Where were the food mills? That's what we use for mashed potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                            I have made those gluey mashed potatoes before. it is best to stop while you are ahead. I am not sure how to take the excess liquid from potato, even by adding more potato. In this circumstance all I have never been able to do is make potato soup. Even then....

                                                                                                                                                                                            I do make mashed in a stand up mixer, but ever so careful not to make a batch of Elmers finest.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                          Perhaps I should clarify and mention that while some of them do know the ingredients (such as Ash - minus the carrots), it is amazing how they can often go astray with simpler components like mashed potatoes and chips.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I certainly understand the logic for sending Ron home due to his lackluster imagination and paella, yet I think Laurine and Ash just as easily could have gone based on their performance and lack of execution.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: vinhotinto75

                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, I agree - I think of both the Top 4 and the Bottom 3 in last night's episode, anyone could have won or lost.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                              i've actually been REALLY conscious that this season (with the possible exception of hector last week) they seem to be considering past performance more. i know they're saying they're not but it just seems that way much more than other years - like they know who they want to keep. i thought i wanted that but it does kind of change the drama.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                "I think of both the Top 4 and the Bottom 3 in last night's episode, anyone could have won or lost."

                                                                                                                                                                                                I suppose, but even while they were still tasting and based on their comments, I was pretty sure Kevin would win and Ron would be axed. Kevin's dish sounded incredible, and more impressive than the somewhat predictable bells and whistles of Michael's molecular gastronomy; and I didn't believe for a minute that, despite the problems with her dish, they'd axe Laurine and not Ron or Ash, both of whom had consistently underperformed.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: vinhotinto75

                                                                                                                                                                                            This is my first season watching the show and I too am surprised by some of the chefs' lack of knowledge about classic dishes (especially Mike I.'s unfamiliarity with eggs florentine and definitely the lack of knowledge about French sauces).

                                                                                                                                                                                            I also like some of your suggestions for Bravo (definitely no need for ceviche). LOL @ the "dishes with some foam element" but I actually find it kind of interesting (didn't Mike V. make something good w/ foam?)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                                                                                              Yeah I don't understand the foundness for ceviche,since not everyone one likes fish,and scallops do seem over done, though I assume they must be cheaper than lobster, as you don't see them using lobster very much at all.
                                                                                                                                                                                              I figured Ron would be the one to go.
                                                                                                                                                                                              I never would make mashed potatoes in a food processor.I just boil them ,drain the water off when their done, and add milk and butter.I like mine lumpy anyways. All chefs should learn the basic french sauces and some classic dish just to be on the safe side.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: HollyDolly

                                                                                                                                                                                                They don't use lobster because it's simply a riskier ingredient. Takes much longer to cook, and can easily overcook. Time limitation is one of the main reasons why scallops are so popular.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: aser

                                                                                                                                                                                                  i think it actually has more to do with WFM not selling fresh lobster-- just some not-so-great frozen tails. . . you have to work with the ingredients you have, & whatever is fresher (non-frozen) usually wins out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Good point, I forgot about that too. No chef will want to work w/ pre-cooked lobster, I recall WF selling that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: aser

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I agree: scallops are quick to cook and easy to plate, plus they have a fairly neutral flavor that goes with a lot of different kinds of ingredients and spicing. That makes them perfect for the kind of challenges these chefs face.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    The proliferation of ceviche has got to stop, though. The judges seem to have forgotten eliminating what's his name way back in season 2 for "not cooking anything."

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: vinhotinto75

                                                                                                                                                                                                Have any of these contestants EVER gotten good remarks from anything *sous vide*? And yet they do it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I dislike "culinary point of view". But I think I hear that more on Next FN Star.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MartinDC

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Actually... way back in the TC 3 Finale, Hung's sous vide duck was proclaimed to be a "three star Michelin" dish by Todd English.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                                                                    And Tom Colicchio remarked several weeks ago that Hung's sous vide duck remains one of the best TC dishes ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: MartinDC

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, as a matter of fact, Bryan's Trout in the French Cookoff was "sous vide" -- http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/blogs... and the dish was the winner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: vinhotinto75

                                                                                                                                                                                                    OK, the foams always seem to be a bad idea, but there have been some very good uses of molecular gastronomy -- this season in particular. Marcel was doing the whiz-bang stuff, but the V bros have been using the techniques and chemicals quietly and producing amazing results. They "get it" -- the new techniques are about bringing more flavor, better texture, etc., not just showing off new techniques.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  4. So how would you have "deconstructed" paella? I'm curious as to what ideas come to mind. I was thinking it might be interesting to do a kind of maki sushi with saffron rice and seafood inside, but perhaps that's not deconstructed enough. Or some kind of croquette with a seafood filling. Or, to beat the dead horse, a ceviche on a toasted rice cracker of some kind....what would you do for that challenge?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                                                                                                      <So how would you have "deconstructed" paella?>

                                                                                                                                                                                                      It seems almost a no-brainer that you could easily make a Bouillabaisse-y dish with the components of Seafood Paella (which btw, is NOT the "classic" Paella -- it is all meat). They use all the same components, save the Rouille.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I posted above that I'd have done arancini stuffed with some of the traditional meats and seafoods...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        And then I read that the much-maligned Brian Boitano did something very similar in the premiere of his show. He did saffron rice cakes, shrimp/chorizo skewers and mussels in saffron butter broth. He must be Top Chef material!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        In all seriousness, it's a fantastic idea. And since I always like the idea of paella more than the execution, it sounds like a perfect way to get all my favorite flavors together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I love the arancini idea, I was scribbling ideas during the show and was stumped on the paella.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          For the Eggs Florentine I was thinking he could've breaded and fried the yolks so the inside was still runny, and drizzled with herbed lemon butter. Maybe creamed spinach on the side and toast points for a deconstructed appetizer. This was a fun challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Niblet

                                                                                                                                                                                                            How about dehydrating the yolks into a powder or crispy sheet and layering them with spinach and a butter custard for an eggs florentine baklava or napoleon? Ok, I'm going nuts here, but a challenge like this seems to me a perfect time to whip out the molecular gastronomy. How about an egg-drop soup with globules of pureed spinach floating around in in and topped with a herb-butter "fog"?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                                                                                                              But Mike Isabella doesn't do molecular gastronomy, does he?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I thought all chefs did a bit of it in this day and age. I'm just letting my imagination run wild a bit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I would have made some form of the original paella: rabbit, snails and beans. I would have made an unctuous risotto with saffron and rabbit stock.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Reserve some of the risotto to make a thin crisp which I would lay tilted on the top of the plate. Roast the rabbit loin slice, tempura the escargot for extra texture, and make a herby green sauce with the butter beans..

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes. Nice work my friend. I was surprised there wasn't more molecular gastronomy used, but the rusty gears that are my brain couldn't make the leap as you did. It certainly would've been a lot more interesting than what Mike I. put out. He's a jerk anyhow (completely irrelevant but after the red kerchief thing I can't stand the look of him).

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                                                                                                            i actually think the sushi idea (or the arancini idea above) would be brilliant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                                                                                                              How would you deconstruct paella?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I would've cooked rice in a broth of saffron and parsley until it's mushy enough to make a chunkypuree.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cooked a thin layer of rice between 2 pans with a bit of rendered chorizo fat to cheat on making soccarat.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Plated it in a straight rectangle with the soccarat chunks placed organically on top. Added with sea urchin for that sweet briny seafood taste, lemon pudding, and fried calamari.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Finished with squid ink vinaigrette.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dreaming up dishes is one thing, executing it properly is totally another story though. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. So was is this Top Scallop?? There were so many scallops in the quickfire

                                                                                                                                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes and didn't Jennifer make the same butterscotch sauce that she made in the first episode with Wolfgang Puck? Perhaps there should also be a rule that says a certain dish, sauce, or idea cannot be duplicated. Much like Richard's Banana Scallop Ice Cream dish from Season 4.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                That would be an interesting twist to the rules of the competition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: vinhotinto75

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I didn't watch Season 4. Banana Scallop ice cream does not appeal to me at all!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It was banana that was made to LOOK like a scallop. not the two ingredients together! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks. Like I said, I didn't see the show, but going on the reference to the dish alone, it sounded very unappealing. Based on your clarification, if it was actually a banana shaped like a scallop (ice cream?), that sounds very interesting and probably was delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Here's the dish:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It was "Banana Scallops, Banana Guacamole, Chocolate Ice Cream"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wow! Thanks, Linda. It actually looks more like a work of art to admire than something to eat. Did the judges like it? The flavor combinations look interesting to say the least.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            IIRC, they did like it a lot - I think it won that particular course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It did win, and thus the recipe appears in the Top Chef cookbook, which contains recipes from Seasons 1-3 -- Richard's prize for winning that dessert (early in S4) was an entry in the cookbook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's right - I wasn't sure if that was the recipe that got into the cookbook (I wrote that at work and had the cookbook at home).

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Left out of all the threads so far is the fact that Robyn easily would have been in the Bottom 3, if not the person kicked off for her interpretation of deconstructed clam chowder. While I applaud her on the QF win, if not for the immunity this would have been 2 consecutive weeks on the bottom 3.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                On a side note, I don't get how Jennifer's deconstructed lasagna was in the Top 3. The other 3 up there deconstructed the dishes expertly and made each ingredient distinct on the plate while keeping the presentation neat. Jennifer's looked like she put a serving of lasagna on the plate, mashed it up with a fork, and said now it's deconstructed. I know that the taste was good; but didn't Tom mention that they judge on presentation too?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gmk1322

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  not all of them it's in mine and janet's above.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And I agreed with you, AMFM. WIthout the QF win, I do believe she would have been cheftestant #4 in the Bottom group.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: gmk1322

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If her dish was bad enough, she would have been in the bottom, immunity or not. They've brought people with immunity to the bottom or not, even though everyone was clear that they wouldn't be able to lose. I think it was just that the three dishes in the bottom were worse than hers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. my favorite moment:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    the look on collichio's face when penn said "i bet you have" after padma said she'd eaten many bull's balls

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      that was brilliant. Tom really seems to be enjoying the company of the guest judges this season!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Why couldn't we have gotten Jay Raynor back, instead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tom does seem....happier? this season

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LaLa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree. Perhaps just less disappointed all the time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No, happier to see and chat with the chefs. Perhaps less uncomfortable?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LaLa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As he mentioned, he's a new DAD. That would make any man happy! (I hope)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just caught up, with "On Demand" and I LOVED that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. I'm surprised that no one has thought that Kevin probably had the easiest dish to deconstruct -- after all, moles have 30ish ingredients. I think the toughest ones were the others in the top 4 (lasagna, pot roast, caesar salad) were extremely tough due to the lack of ingredients. At least the caesar has some very distinct flavor profiles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Reignking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Actually, I was thinking the opposite... where the mole is the most difficult because of all the ingredients and the long cooking process to meld all the flavors. You have more ingredients to separate/deconstruct, but will they combine properly to taste like a mole instead of chocolate candy bar with nuts, chilis and raisins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I thought that too.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                With so many ingredients - it seems much more dificult to deconstruct.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Fish & chips on the other hand - with so few ingredients seems like it could have been so easy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I could think of a million more interesting things she could have done with fish & chips!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That one seemed among the harder dishes to me, simply because there's not really a heck of a lot you CAN do to a dish that's not constructed to start off with. It's fried fish and chips -- period. There's no classic herbs, condiments or anything else like that to play with. Just fried and fried, very plain in its classic state.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That one sets off zero creative ideas in my own head. Of course, I'm not a chef!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Just read that Padma's pregnant.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Have to say that this one doesn't seem much better in the looks dept. (JMO) than Rushdie was. But I'm happy for her after dealing with endometriosis for so many years. But I guess no more ceviche or sushi for Padma if they're filming TC7. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Linda, just a heads-up that the link you posted is incomplete/broken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  but good for Padma!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks ghg - I'll blame it on Boston.com probably moving/removing the link. Oh wait. Maybe it was user error. :-) Looks like it didn't copy/paste the first time properly.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Mattin was likable, but the guy screwed up bacon, the holy grail ingredients which its use is almost assured to win a cooking competition. His food was so bad for the desert challenge that Judge Tom actually had to spit it out, which I think was a first for on Top Chef. That is why he was kick off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Rule #1: Make your food edible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So after Mattin's ground breaking screw up, the Top Chef's wear his neckerchiefs to honor him, while at the same time they prop up Robin as the person who should have not been picked on the playground to play kickball.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Robin wins the quick fire which is given away in the original post. Her win gave her immunity which provided an ultimate "So There," to all of the neckerchief wearing people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  With that said, I feel this is best season yet. Ash, Robin, Laurine have come in last or in the middle. Unless they dazzle, they probably will not last. Eli and Michael Isabella seems to be in the middle most of the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The rest are pretty strong cooks