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Top Chef -Season 6 - Episode 7 - 10-7-09 (spoiler)

A so-so challege starts the competition.

Can we please get rid of scallops and ceviche?

I'm thinking Kevin will win the entire thing! Glad he didn't take immunity!

The main challenge looks interesting and I like some of the odder team pairings...

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  1. Mean Mike and Robin are paired off. Should be interesting. He's already coming off like a jerk....

    10 Replies
    1. re: jeanmarieok

      Yes - classic Reality TV villain and cliché -
      "my way or the highway"

      How many times have we heard that Jennifer is not feeling well... The editing this season has been sloppy and lackluster compared to past seasons.

      1. re: vinhotinto75

        if you think about it, feeling well usually affects your taste of smell and taste pretty strongly, so thats a big factor in her cooking abilities..... not to defend bad editing, but it is kind of a big deal

        1. re: kubasd

          That is a valid point indeed. Still, I think she would have to fail miserably to be sent home since she is always in the top.

          In any case, her dish with Kevin was a hit...

        2. re: vinhotinto75

          "How many times have we heard that Jennifer is not feeling well..."

          Per Tom's blog on Bravo, she *only* mentioned it on camera because she was asked point blank by the camera crew.


          Interesting comments re: Ash and how he looks at food vs. Michael. Reiterating that Ash essentially is saying he won't last in the competition.

          Also, looks like the judges didn't realize that Eli had re-salted the gnocchi, and Ashley did *not* say anything about it at JT. I'm thinking if they had known that, Eli might have been the one to go home. Eli *seriously* dodged a bullet!

          1. re: LindaWhit

            Tom said at JT that Eli was responsible for the saltiness of the gnocchi, but that Ashley screwed up even more.

            1. re: Ericandblueboy

              I'd have to re-watch last night's episode to know what he said at JT. From Tom's blog:

              "Most of the questions we ask don’t make it into the final version of the program, but we really do try to ascertain who was responsible for what. We didn’t know, as you did from watching the program, that when Ashley gave the gnocchi to Eli they were fine, and he then oversalted them. We knew only that Ashley had made the gnocchi. Ashley made a personal point throughout this competition to treat the team as a team and never ascribe blame to her partners, even when it was merited. She did so both with Mattin and, now, with Eli. This is admirable, but it would have benefitted her to say to us, “Eli oversalted the gnocci I’d made. I knew it the moment I tasted them.” "

              1. re: LindaWhit

                At one point, Tom says that Eli is the one responsible for the saltiness. Could that have happened at a later time and then edited to make it look like it was during JT? I dunno. I just remember Tom saying that.

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  Adding insult to injury for Ashley fans and Eli haters, Toby blog says that it was a close decision whether to eliminate Eli or Ashley. Sounds to me if Ashley had pinned the gnocci salt problems on Eli, it could have made all the difference in the judging. Tom knows Ashley knows how to make a proper gnocci from previous challenges.

                  1. re: dach

                    Crap. Haven't read Toby's blog yet (wasn't up earlier this a.m.), but I'm bummed. I would have much preferred Ashley staying. Eli's in my permanent dog house with Mike Isabella, the one who can't cook Asian and yet wouldn't listen to his teammate and said in confessional that he'd throw out whatever she had prepped anyway.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Gosh I missed that too!
                      (I tivo'ed it an was watching it this morning while I was getting ready for work!)

        3. I had started another thread just around the same time....my thoughts (a little bit more info here about the first 20 minutes)...

          Jennifer is REALLY sick - rut-roh!

          Tyler Florence is Guest Judge, and the Quickfire is sponsored by Cookster.com - a Top Chef slot machine where you pull the arm and get 3 keywords - Mood, Taste, and Cuisine. Seemed like Umami and Asian came up a LOT. It's also a high stakes QF.

          On the Low end? Robin, Eli and Jennifer. Ouch.

          Those who were in the Top 3 were Mike I., Kevin, and Michael. Kevin wins, and gets to choose his high stakes win - either $15,000 or Immunity....and he chooses the money!

          The Elimination Challenge? Padma shows up at their house to tell the chefs that in THREE HOURS they are going to be throwing their own home dinner party. They're working in teams - and Mike I. and Robin are a team....now THIS ought to be interesting!

          ETA: There's a LOT of confessional talk with Mike I. Hmmmmm....

          And Robin's right - there's a lot of "I" talk when Mike I. is speaking - even when he was talking to Tom Colicchio about what their team was cooking - it was all "I'm going to be doing...." - while Robin stayed off to the side, head down, and a wry grin on her face. He just proved her right. :-)

          Sounds like Jennifer/Kevin team did the best; I'm thinking Michael and Ash might be in the bottom. Rut-roh. Is this going to take out one of the favorites?

          10 Replies
          1. re: LindaWhit

            Laurene/Brian and Kevin/Jennifer were the Top 2 teams! Winning dish is Kevin & Jennifer's - and JENNIFER WINS for her sauce! Yay!!!

            Michael/Ash, and Eli/Ashley are in the bottom. Mike I. is saved.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              No Surprise! Kevin and Jennifer will be in the final 3 with one of the brothers!

              And Jennifer wins!

              1. re: vinhotinto75

                ugh, stupid me, i knew there would be spoilers, but i forgot to look at what time it was when i read these.... and i got started late watching the episode on tivo...... (hits herself in the side of the head... doh!)

                1. re: vinhotinto75

                  OK, did Ash just throw Michael under the bus? And interestingly, they (judges) came down hard on Eli and Ashley.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    This is one of the most awkward JT ever. Any of the four could go, but I think Ashley is safe and Michael is too good.

                    Yet - it was Ashley! I thought it would be Eli and the salted Gnocchi.

                    1. re: vinhotinto75

                      I think that was the most awkward stew room ever! The whole Keven/Bryan interaction was really uncomfortable!

              2. re: LindaWhit

                Good for Kevin in the QF - gets a nice chunk of cash rather than the frying pan he won for his last win! Plus his team wins. Doing great for having no Asian experience.

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  Was Jennifer sick because of a virus, hungover or pregnant with Michael V's love child?
                  Also, she gave Tyler Florence a peck when she won the $10K Macy's shopping spree. Now we know the true origin of Swine Flu! :-)

                  1. re: dave_c

                    >Was Jennifer sick because of a virus, hungover or pregnant with Michael V's love child?<

                    Thanks for the mid afternoon spit take all over my monitor.

                    1. re: dave_c

                      I didn't catch the episode, but love catching up here. Laugh of the day goes to you re: Michael V's love child. LMAO.

                  2. I signed on just to say that I KNEW it! I knew the brothers weren't as competitive as the editors tried to make them seem. Good for Brian getting all protective and defensive for his brother. I loved it.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: charmedgirl

                      I gotta admit that was pretty touching. Even after being in the top you could see he was not at all happy. He can't help but protect his little bro.

                      1. re: charmedgirl

                        I think he crossed the line from protective to hostile; I didn't get the vibe from Kevin that he was trying to bash the dish, but had been busy with his own dish and didn't know specifics about the other dishes, and Bryan jumped down his throat.

                        1. re: Foodie in Friedberg

                          Well, we're all entitled to our opinions. :-) I don't think he was overly hostile or "jumped down" Kevin's throat. He got a bit snippy and shut down the conversation, yeah. He just didn't want to engage in a post mortem about the dish that might send his brother home. I thought it was a perfectly understandable reaction, and showed some loyalty to his brother.

                          1. re: Foodie in Friedberg

                            I don't think anyone ever said Kevin was bashing the dish. It seemed Kevin was just trying to figure out what the dish was and why there might have been a problem. But Bryan was protecting his brother in the sense that he didn't want anyone projecting or dissecting the dish without actually knowing how it tasted. He abruptly ended the conversation and was probably more terse than he should have been, but Kevin clearly understood.

                            I watched the pre-game show for the Colts-Titans game last night and there was an interesting parallel there. Bob Costas interviewed Peyton Manning and asked Peyton about watching Eli play football. Peyton said that if he wins and Eli loses on any given Sunday, he (Peyton) doesn't feel completely happy. This is someone who is arguably the best, and most competitive, quarterback in football who competes for a living and even he can't shake the brotherly need to protect.

                        2. And Ashley is gone. Looks like the judges were looking at her and Michael as the responsible ones.

                          I don't think Ash is long for the show.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            Especially after he admitted that he isn't as creative or innovative. Even if that is the case, he should never have even have put that in the judges thinking for this episode or the future.

                            1. re: vinhotinto75

                              There are still a couple of weaker chefs than Ash, at least in my opinion. But I agree, he has drawn unwanted attention to himself with his comments.

                              1. re: jeanmarieok

                                I thought it Michael V's comments about Ash were sweet- when he said Ash's a good #2 and will be a great chef after he learns a bit more. It seemed sincere, not arrogant.

                          2. Toby is channeling James Carville w/those glasses. Padma is drinking water. Toby alludes to a dish as Monet, better from afar than close up. Ash is bromancing Picasso.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: edible complex

                              Then I'm guessing she was pregnant when they were filming or trying to conceive- I don't recall the media saying when she's due so....

                              1. re: QSheba

                                IIRC, I think I read that she's only 4 months along? The baby bump at the Emmys was still pretty small and unnoticeable. And I *think* this part of the season was filmed in early summer. So I'm not sure the two tie together.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  That's why I said she could have been trying to conceive and therefore avoiding alcohol. A lot of women who are actively trying to conceive will take prenatal vitamins and avoid alcohol "just in case" they get pregnant that cycle. Due to her infertility issues, that wouldn't be surprising. Or she could have been taking a medication that is contraindicated that day, something as simple as advil shouldn't be mixed w/ alcohol. Who knows....As far as having a big "bump"... it totally depends on the woman- I am 7 months and can still wear "normal" clothes - a "L" fitted shirt from Banana Republic instead of the usual "M", nomal yoga pants... The taller you are the longer it takes to show. (And my little one is measuring 1 week ahead, so I'm not starving him:))

                              2. re: edible complex

                                Toby's analogy is idiotic. The closer you examine a great painting, the more you appreciate the brilliance of the artist to create a masterpiece from thousands of individual brush strokes. The true art is in the details. Not even sure why he's on the show, other than to be a snark. How about Jonathan Gold if they want a newspaper critic on the panel?

                                1. re: tastyjon

                                  Ever heard of pointillism? If you examine it up close, it's just dots of color. You have to stand back to see the picture.

                                  1. re: tastyjon

                                    I understand his point. Monets, like most Impressionist works, are meant to be viewed from a relative distance. Up close they are nothing. Sure, talented artists and art lovers will appreciate the care, the strokes and the color mixing, but it's still a valid analogy I think.

                                    1. re: gastrotect

                                      The first time I heard something other than a painting being referred to as a "Monet" was in the movie Clueless. Alicia Silverstone says it of one of her classmates. Something to the effect of "from far away she's fine but up close she's just a mess."

                                      1. re: mojoeater

                                        Yea. "Monet" and "Butterface" are popular frat-boyish terms for girls that aren't as good looking as they may at first seem. I would imagine Monet could be just as easily applied to guys however.

                                2. Were you surprised by Ashley's departure? I have to say I was disappointed. I think she's a better chef than Ash (or Robin, or Laurine) so it's too bad she made such an early exit. She's the only one I thought didn't really deserve to go home. Ahh well. I guess we see again, you are only as good as your last dish.

                                  24 Replies
                                  1. re: QSheba

                                    Wildly disappointed. I thought she had a lot left to give in this show. _sigh_

                                    1. re: QSheba

                                      I think the fact that she didn't throw Eli under the bus reflects well on her character, but is probably the reason she went home. If she made the gnocchi and grilled the prawns, what the hell did Eli do?

                                      1. re: mojoeater

                                        Good point. He re-seasoned (and over-seasoned, it seems!) the gnocchi. I think both Eli and Ash skated last night.

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          Plus, as Ashley pointed out during cooking, Eli actively avoided taking responsibility to grill the prawns, as if he knew they were easy to mess up and would rather leave that to Ashley. Weak!

                                      2. re: QSheba

                                        At this point, I'm very attached to a lot of them, and Ashley was definitely among those I liked most. I will actively seek out her restaurant on a vacation some day. I'm confident she'll put out food I'd be happy to eat.

                                        1. re: QSheba

                                          I'm so sad Ashley's gone. She was one of the more interesting chefs to watch and her dishes were always a surprise--either good or bad. I'm not sure I get the reasoning behind the judges decision. This was a team challenge, but it didn't have an "executive chef" role clearly defined so one person should not have to take the fall for the entire team. I guess the raw prawns did her in, but doesn't Eli's oversalting and bad concept trump that? If she gets booted for undercooking, why didn't Mike get booted for overcooking? Which is a worse sin, in the age of sushi and "rare" seafood?
                                          I want Ashley back! There's no one left to get in the face of jerks like Isabella and Eli.

                                          1. re: newhavener07

                                            Mike at least recognized that he had overcooked the halibut. Ashely thought she had cooked the prawns correctly. Unfortunately, she didn't speak up, so the judges had no way to know it was Eli who oversalted the gnocchi.

                                            1. re: saeyedoc

                                              " the judges had no way to know it was Eli who oversalted the gnocchi"

                                              IIR Tom realized that Eli was responsible for the salt and said some thing to the effect of the gnocchi didn't get salty by themselves after Ashely made them. While Ashly made some errors I have no idea WTH either Eli or Ash did for their team.
                                              I'll put Eli, Ash and Robbin in the bottom three.

                                            2. re: newhavener07

                                              Cooking prawns is something Ashley claimed she's done before, and has done well.
                                              But she failed at that, something that IMO any of those chefs should be able to do correctly.
                                              I liked Ashley, I wish she was still there, but she was solely responsible for the prawns.

                                              Mike's problem with over-cooking was due in part to the electrical problems, and having to
                                              re-start the cooking process. So some of that was not under his control. I strongly disagree with
                                              the judges at the JT. They were comparing this to something happening in your restaurant.

                                              There's a big difference. A restaurant owner would be aware of any equipment/electric problems as they arise and have them corrected. Plus the chef could start over with other food to correct the problem. Here in their house, Mike had no control or foreknowledge of the heavy load from all the electric woks. He should not have been penalized for that. Given the proper stove to cook on, the outcome could have been much different.

                                              1. re: pacheeseguy

                                                But Mike chose to cook where he did -- he could have cooked in the kitchen, but decided to use the other stuff provided to them. Now, sure, the kitchen was crowded, but he could have done his best to work in there, or he could have done a better job to monitor what was going on with the unfamiliar equipment that he was cooking on. A good chef doesn't blame his tools, he tries well to work with what he's got.

                                                1. re: pacheeseguy

                                                  I think the main difference between a chef in a restaurant and a Top Chef challenge is that they don't have the time or, as Mike mentioned, the product to do it over. In a restaurant, if you misfire a dish you can dump it, get another piece of fish from the walk-in and start over, and the customer will be none the wiser. On Top Chef, that's not an option -- you have to serve the "first pancake."

                                              2. re: QSheba

                                                shades of Tre in season 3......

                                                1. re: QSheba

                                                  I totally agree -
                                                  I thought Ashley had a lot more to give - than say Ash, Robin and Laurine..........

                                                  ...but it is clear who the top 3 or 4 will be, so I think the last few episodes will be quite exciting!

                                                  1. re: QSheba

                                                    I hated to see Ashley go, too. Remember, it just wasn't a matter of underdone shrimp and oversalted gnocchi. They also questioned why she would even serve something heavy like gnocchi for a late evening summertime outdoor dinner.

                                                    1. re: dmjordan

                                                      I missed that (was having a hard time staying awake the other night) but I am not sure I agree. Really good gnocchi should be light and delicate. My sense is that the dish would have been perfectly appropriate had it been executed correctly.

                                                      1. re: dmjordan

                                                        I don't think gnocchi--when prepared correctly--is heavy at all. When it's good, gnocchi should be like light pillows. Oversalting ruins the dish, and even though I'm no pro, but even the worst gnocchi I've ever made hasn't been over-salted. Sometimes over cooked, but never over salted.

                                                        1. re: Gigi007

                                                          I've had some very light gnocchi during the summer that worked very well. But Eli and Ashley were frying their gnocchi, which would certainly make them heavier.

                                                          1. re: Nettie

                                                            I actually didn't see the episode. Anyway, to me, fried gnocchi is odd (although I understand it may be popular in some regions of Italy). I learned to make gnocchi from scratch in Italy, and the Italian cooks (one from Rome and the other from a town near Florence) who taught me prepared it in boiling water with the light quality of the pasta emphasized. So, I can only think of gnocchi as light.

                                                        2. re: dmjordan

                                                          I get so sick of the seasonal comments. As others have said, correctly made gnocchi really isn't that heavy. Those of us who live in warm climates year round don't plan on rearranging our lives to eat light/cool dishes just because something is too heavy. I have a feeling if the chefs did follow that philosophy in that show, they'd get chastised for being one note.

                                                          1. re: queencru

                                                            I agree. Howie tried to make that point when he was criticized for making a braised dish in Top Chef Miami. Although he didn't express himself well, he tried to point out that he lives in Florida, and if he only ate braised dishes in cold weather, he'd never eat them.

                                                            1. re: queencru

                                                              not to take anything away from your (good) point, but i think maybe the judges kinda tend to put the smack-down on chefs who show signs of being "one-trick." not that ashley can't make lots of stuff, but someone commented in the episode that she makes gnocci daily in her restaurant, and hasn't she make gnocci many times already in the show? maybe the negative "heavy" comments were really the judges trying to say they didn't like to see this menu item repeated by this contestant.

                                                              i wish the judges would put the smack-down on ceviche for the season. gawd i am sick of looking at ceviche on this show.

                                                              1. re: soupkitten

                                                                She had made gnocchi once before, I believe.

                                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                                  She made it once before. I think in this case where the cheftestants are handed a set of ingredients, it's not so egregious. I don't remember what her ingredients were, but perhaps gnocchi was what made sense with what they were provided. At least she's not like Mike I who seems to complain whenever he can't recreate a dish from his own restaurant.

                                                                  1. re: queencru

                                                                    my bad. i thought she'd done it 2x, not just once. never mind in that case.

                                                          2. Agreed... Scallop and ceviche are overused this season.
                                                            Kevin is my pick for front runner. He's a cooking savant.

                                                            Interesting that Ashley goes home, but Eli didn't want to cook the prawns.
                                                            Like Mike I, Eli's been a lot of talk but really hasn't done anything to prove his abilities, other than pick the right partners.

                                                            39 Replies
                                                            1. re: dave_c

                                                              Interesting when you look at the progress on Wikipedia; Ash has definitely not been as good as others:


                                                              The closest he's come to a win is being on a team win, but was not picked as a judge favorite. Whereas Ashley was at least in the High side several times.

                                                              Robin and Mike I. also seem to be skaters, although Mike I. did win one QF. Jennifer, Kevin and Bryan are the three who have *never* been in the bottom during the Elimination Challenges. I'm thinking those are the Top 3 unless something drastic happens.

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                I hope Kevin wins the whole shebang. He is so talented, not to mention humble unlike some of his other competitors--hello, brothers. The brother who has less personality than the other, I forget his name, sorry to say as I know it's a cooking competition, is an ass and needs to take a class in cooking up a sunnier disposition. He is way too intense and it bugs t he crap out of me. When he snapped at Eli in the waiting room while his brother was before judges' panel, I was so annoyed. Calm down, kid. It's ok. Ugh. Go Kevin!

                                                                1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                  Oh I missed that bit! (about the bro snapping at Eli)

                                                                  I agree I really like Kevin - I would love to hang out with the guy and watch him cook a meal for me!!

                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                    I'm trying to recall that part as well - Jane, are you talking about Bryan snapping at Eli? Wouldn't Eli have been in the Bottom group with Bryan's brother, Michael? Or am I mixing up the brothers in my mind again? LOL

                                                                    ETA: Oh wait - you're talking about Michael snapping at Eli when Bryan was in front of the judges for the winning dish.

                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                      yes yes! That's it. Michael is his name and all Eli was asking was how the dish was made. It wasn't like Eli was asking Michael what he thought of the dish. He needs to chill. Meanwhile how about next week's preview when Eli gets into it with Robin? "You're not my mother," Eli shouts. "I don't want to be your mother," snaps Robin.

                                                                      PS: Ash's effusive deferral to the brother (again I cant seem to remember their names) was pathetic and stupid. He dodged a big bullet there, too.

                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                        I don't remember Michael snapping at Eli while Brian was in fron of the judges for the winning dish -- what did he say?

                                                                        1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                          he was asking michael about what was in brian's dish. how the asparagus and something else were utlized. to which michael nastily snapped something to the effect of 'did you taste it?' i would have snapped right back at him . it was just a question!

                                                                          1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                            A slight mix-up I think- Kevin was asking Bryan about what was in Michael's dish, and Bryan was the one that snapped at Kevin, defending Michael.

                                                                            I for one thought it was a) nice of Bryan to stick up for his brother, with a valid point that no one had tried the dish in question; and b) considering the amount of time they spend in the stew room waiting, I'm not particularly surprised that even the usually quiet Bryan would snap at some point.

                                                                            1. re: gyozagirl

                                                                              I didn't see it as sticking up. Based on what we saw, Kevin merely asked a question about the dish, he didn't criticize it. No need for V the Elder to turn into the conversation police.

                                                                              1. re: gyozagirl

                                                                                ah, EVEN WORSE that he snapped at Kevin! The nerve! I don't know why I thought it was Eli.

                                                                                Bryan and his brother are tools.

                                                                                Talented tools, but tools. :)

                                                                              2. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                No, that was Brian snapping at Kevin when Michael was at JT for being in the bottom. I posted about it above -- I actually liked seeing that. Yeah, he was a little out of line (Kevin probably didn't deserve the attitude), but I liked seeing Brian get all defensive and protective of his little brother. He was just worried for Michael and he (admittedly, unfairly) took it out on Kevin. But I liked seeing it because, to me, it is an indication that all the petty "rivalry" we've been seeing largely is a creation of the editors. I had suspected, and hoped, that all along, since the brothers seemed too mature, focused and level headed for such childishness.

                                                                                And for the record, I don't think they're boring or lacking in personality. I think they're like Harold: they're there to cook.

                                                                                1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                  Yes, but how would Michael know what was in Bryan's dish or how it was made? He was busy cooking his own food! I don't fault Michael for snapping back at Eli - it was kind of a dumb question on Eli's part.

                                                                                  I'm going to have rewatch this episode. The whole stew room part was confusing.

                                                                                  1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                    Ah, no. It was Kevin and Brian. Kevin was obviously trying to figure why Michael of all people would be on the bottom, but Brian was too stressed to hear it. He probably didn't need to snap, but he was protecting his little brother by squashing any talk of him. Perfectly acceptable IMO. I actually thought it was sweet to see that the brothers aren't all sibling rivalry. They obviously care about each other a great deal, otherwise Brian wouldn't have been so sullen after a good finish.

                                                                                    1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                      I think we should stop referring to them as Michael and Bryan. Monotone Boring and Monotone Boring with Tattooes would make it much clearer.

                                                                                      But I really like both of them! And their food isn't boring at all

                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                  Wasn't it Bryan snapping at Kevin when he was asking what his brother's dish was? It seemed to me that he was stressed out about his brother being in the bottom and took it out on Kevin.

                                                                                  Kevin reminds me of my son and for that reason alone I adore him.

                                                                                3. re: NellyNel

                                                                                  Yes - it was certainly an uncomfortable moment and I also agree that Bryan might be a great chef, but he is not a fan fave because of his lack of personality and color. I still think he will be in the final four with Kevin, Jen, and his brother.

                                                                                  What is odd this season is that most of them already have high level positions or own their own place unlike most of the past winners. Even Jen has a position with one of the most famous chefs in the US.

                                                                                  I'm wondering if Mike Isabella or Robin will stay around longer in order to provide more drama...

                                                                                  1. re: vinhotinto75

                                                                                    I actually like Bryan more than his brother. I just think he's one of those people who take things seriously, and doesn't talk unless he has something to say.

                                                                                    1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                      I have the exact same impression. He does come off rather serious, but as others have commented previously, he likely has a dry, wry sense of humor. And I've heard from people who have dined at the Chef's Table of his restaurant (Volt) that he's actually quite personable.

                                                                                      1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                        I think they both are focused on the goal they've set for themselves, and so they come across as "serious."

                                                                                4. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                  Bryan snapped at Kevin, not Eli. Bryan said he was sick of dissecting other people's food and if you didn't taste it, you can't pass judgement.

                                                                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                    But was Kevin passing judgment or just asking about how a dish was made? (I still thought it was Eli who asked the question of Bryan. I'm so confoozled! LOL)

                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                      mea culpa for confusing everyone but Kevin, yes, Kevin, was just asking how the dish was made. That was it. harmless. And then uptight brother snapped.

                                                                                      1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                        You have to understand where Brian was coming from. His point was that none of them had the dish, so no one could really say what went wrong. He didn't want to play a guessing game, least of all about his brother. He was worried about his brother and he felt the need to protect him. He obviously didn't want to hash it out. No matter how old you get that feeling for a sibling never leaves you. Did he have to snap? Of course not. But I don't hold it against him really and I'm guessing Kevin didn't either. Afterward he apologized realizing where Brian's head was.

                                                                                        1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                          Gastrotect, you are too kind. i just found it par for his uptight course and somewhat offensive. but kevin was a class act and backed off whereas Mike I. would probably have gotten in his face. Now that woulda been something, huh?!

                                                                                          1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                            Haha. I think MIke I would back down too, but for a different reason: he probably only picks fights he can win.

                                                                                            As for Brian, I think he would have responded a bit differently had the convo not been about his brother. He probably would have been uptight still, but most likely brushed it off by saying he didn't really know about the dish rather than snapping. I think the emotion came from protecting his brother. That was my immediate thought anyway.

                                                                                            1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                              Gastro--had the convo not been about his bro, he woulda remained mute, which is what he usually does. So wait what's the general consensus here? Which brother is the better cook? Michael, yes?

                                                                                              1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                                I think Michael is more innovative, but I'm sure I could say either one is "better" per se. In fact, between Kevin, Jen and the bro's I think there is barely a sliver of difference in terms of talent. I'm not sure there is enough space between them all for light to pass through.

                                                                                              2. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                I think SOME (not all) of Brian's reaction was from the fact that he didn't win. He seems pretty competitive and it was a close decision. I don't doubt that he was defending his brother also.

                                                                                              3. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                                I'll have to agree with you that Bryan's got a stick up his butt. I've known quite a few people like him -- fiercely loyal but incredibly rigid. Overall, I think he's a good guy but I wouldn't want to get on his bad side.

                                                                                                I really do like Kevin. He seems really talented but has such a nice disposition (at least from what the editors decide to show us). I thought he was really diplomatic when they asked him about the contestants' beef with Robin. He's the one I'm rooting for.

                                                                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                  He was also very diplomatic when they tried to quiz him about which foods the chefs at the table liked and didn't for the French meal. I also think that it's so cute that the crew went out and bought him the suit that he wore to that dinner that day (as per Gail's blog).

                                                                                                  1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                    Oh yes! I forgot about them quizzing him! He did handle himself very well. Not sure if he will win the whole thing as there are so many talented contestants this year, but I he's getting my vote for Fan Favorite.

                                                                                              4. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                I don't hold it against him - whether it had been Eli or Kevin asking the question of Bryan, my original point upthread (although it was about Michael, not Bryan) still stands. HOW could Bryan know what Michael's dish tasted like, putting him in the Bottom group? Bryan was busy cooking his own dish! I still think the way the question was put was idiotic. But as you said - Kevin didn't seem to hold it against him, and did apologize.

                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                  my original point upthread (although it was about Michael, not Bryan) still stands. HOW could Bryan know what Michael's dish tasted like, putting him in the Bottom group?
                                                                                                  I thought that was Bryan's point - that none of the contestants tasted each other's food so there's no basis for critcism.

                                                                                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                    Most of you are missing an important point, Brian knew why his brother was in the bottom group but refused to share the info and instead snapped at Kevin. After the food was served, still at the house and before JT, Brian went over to Mike and asked what was wrong. Mike told him he had overcooked the fish and made another comment about the raviolo on top of it. Kevin did not ask how the dish tasted, he asked about the elements of the dish, that is why Brian said he didn't want to dissect the dish. I wouldn't be surprised if next week we see an apology from Brian to Kevin. No reason to think Brian is a jerk, just an intense talented guy focused on winning.

                                                                                          2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                            yes yes I stand corrected but I still think Bryan is a tool. Bad TV. Bad, bad TV. good cook, sure, but bad for TV. Or not, because I am irked enough to talk about it today. hehehe.

                                                                                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                              Part of me thinks Bryan overreacted, I don't think Kevin was passing judgement, but I can see Kevin as a info nerd. Wasn't Kevin the engineering geek that passed on a full scholarship to MIT to become a chef? Those type of folks are analyzers using every little it of info to not make the same mistake. However, Bryan's bro was up on the chopping block so emotions were probably running high.

                                                                                              1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                I think that was the Bryan V equivalent of Dale's wall punching. I bet that's about as explosive as "Iceman" gets.

                                                                                                1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                  Part of me thinks Bryan overreacted
                                                                                                  I agree with that. I think Bryan could have declined to discuss Michael's failure without being snappy.

                                                                                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                    While I agree he could have been less snappish, we also don't get to experience the stress they're under. Long days/nights in a hot kitchen or elsewhere, filming the entire season in 30 days or so, cameras constantly in our faces, producers asking inane questions trying to get sound bites....yeah, I think most of us would have snapped as well.

                                                                                        2. I was just reading through Tom's blogs and boy you can really tell he is very excited by Jennifer. I think he admires her and respects her allot.

                                                                                          I'd agree I think she is really really good, and she is confident without being arrogant.
                                                                                          I'd love to try her food

                                                                                          Oh and read Jamies most recent blog too -
                                                                                          MAN her language is pretty disgusting!!
                                                                                          Wow - Zero class!!

                                                                                          17 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                            Not sure what you mean by the zero class, but I do have to agree with her re: Mike Isabella. He's a complete a$$hat.

                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                              ew i just don't think "douche-bag" is a word I'd associate with class

                                                                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                OK, fair enough. But Jamie has always said it as she sees it. I can look past how she writes to determine if I agree with what she's writing. Her observations are spot-on, IMO. "Class distinction" isn't one I'd draw here.

                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                  Believe my I can curse like a truckdriver sometimes - but there is a difference between the heat of the moment cursing and actually writing the words "dick head" and "douche"!
                                                                                                  And I am sorry - he may be a dick but he's not a douche - to me a douche is someone knowingly evil - and poor Mike I isnt really.
                                                                                                  He is just a dumb, simple guy.

                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                    Hah, to me a douche is someone exactly like Mike I -- he doesn't seem dumb or simple at all, or anyone to call "poor." I'm really so tired of him, his whole thing isn't entertaining, it just makes me roll my eyes.

                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                      Well, that kind of *is* the definition of a douche: "a word to describe an individual who has shown themself to be very brainless in one way or another".

                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                        HA HA!!
                                                                                                        Is there really a definition of "douche"????!!

                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                          douche - 6 dictionary results
                                                                                                          douche  /duʃ/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [doosh] Show IPA noun, verb, douched, douch⋅ing.
                                                                                                          Use douche in a Sentence
                                                                                                          See web results for douche
                                                                                                          See images of douche
                                                                                                          –noun 1. a jet or current of water, sometimes with a dissolved medicating or cleansing agent, applied to a body part, organ, or cavity for medicinal or hygienic purposes.
                                                                                                          2. the application of such a jet.
                                                                                                          3. an instrument, as a syringe, for administering it.
                                                                                                          4. a bath administered by such a jet.

                                                                                                          –verb (used with object) 5. to apply a douche to.

                                                                                                          –verb (used without object) 6. to use a douche or douches; undergo douching.


                                                                                                            1. re: jcattles


                                                                                                              ok I guess you are all correct then - Mike I IS a douche!

                                                                                                              1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                Bingo - it was an Urban Dictionary definition. :-) But now that I've read the alternative definition, I do believe the "bag" can be added! LOL

                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                  ha ha!

                                                                                                                  I swear I laughed so hard I nearly fell off my chair!

                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                    And we can extend that definition in ways that still apply: heavily marketed but ultimately bad for women....

                                                                                                        2. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                          Haha. I don't know that I'd associate it with class either, but I also think it's the perfect description for guys like Mike I. Truth be told, very few people (if any at all) are all class, all the time. Jamie has always been outspoken though, so certainly no surprises here.

                                                                                                      2. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                        She used the words jackass and dickhead, but other than that it was pretty clean. And she used the words appropriately!

                                                                                                        1. re: mojoeater

                                                                                                          Well, she did call Mike I. a douche in the title of her blog as well. :-) I still think Jamie's observations are spot-on, as I said above. ;-)

                                                                                                      3. 2 brothers, Kevin and Jenn. The rest can GTFO. Michael V is my favorite to win it all.

                                                                                                        16 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Evilbanana11

                                                                                                          I don't think anyone who has been watching the show carefully will argue with your top 4.

                                                                                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                              I don't think anyone who has been watching the show (carefully or not) will argue with your top 4 ;-)

                                                                                                              1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                I think those are the four strongest chefs but I'm pretty sure at least one will screw up enough to allow a dark horse into the top 4. Perhaps Laurine or Mike I. Talent doesn't guarantee survival in TC. Remember Ilan...

                                                                                                                1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                  I think those are the four strongest chefs but I'm pretty sure at least one will screw up enough to allow a dark horse into the top 4.
                                                                                                                  What is enough? I think the top chefs get to make at least 1 mistake. Mike V made his last night so he might get the heave-ho next time he screws up.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                    True, the chefs with a lot of wins get a few strikes before they're out. But if there's a big team challenge a strong chef will likely take a leadership role and could be out if his/her team screws up. I'll be very surprised if there aren't a least a few surprises in the final group--Robin, anyone?

                                                                                                                  2. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                    Ilan was on a season with pretty weak cheftestants compared to this year. IMO, none of the top 4 from season 2, Ilan, Sam, Marcel, nor Elia would crack the top 4 of this season.

                                                                                                                    1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                      During the first episodes I felt like the producers cherry picked Jen because they wanted to ensure a female winner this year.

                                                                                                              2. re: Evilbanana11

                                                                                                                Definitely the strongest 4, but i'm guessing one will not make it to the final four. My guess is that one of the four will be the executive chef on the losing team of restaurant wars or some equivalant challenge.

                                                                                                                1. re: s0memale

                                                                                                                  I'm just hoping they skip Restaurant Wars this season. Mix things up a bit.

                                                                                                                  1. re: LJBTampa

                                                                                                                    Restaurant wars is coming up soon, they're def. not skipping it.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                      Next week, after the Charlie Palmer episode, I believe.

                                                                                                                    2. re: LJBTampa

                                                                                                                      why don't you like RW? i think it seems much more "real" than some of the silly challenges that get thrown at the cheftestants because it actually involves creating a menu and a dining experience, rather than (william shatner voiceover): "one. plate of food. using these, 3. unfamiliar to you, ingredients. in just 30 minutes. . . with a circus animal theme, prepared in this. little. room. with no electricity, just this butane torch." i know it's a contest but who works like that? RW is one of the only times we actually get to see any type of cohesive menu-vision, wrt theme and overall dining experience, from these folks-- and chefs absolutely need to be able to put together a cohesive, executable menu that's also exciting and enjoyable for the diners, these are real essential skills for the real world.

                                                                                                                      btw the above is just the reason *i* like RW-- and i am curious about why others don't like it, not trying to shut anybody down, or anything. is RW boring to watch? very curious about this, thanks for any responses.

                                                                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                        I enjoy the whole show, but RW is a particular favorite. As you said, they've got to work together - planning, creating and executing a menu; planning a cohesive look for their restaurant (which often, chef-owners have to do as well in the real world), making sure the entire restaurant runs smoothly. Whoever is chosen as leader of each team needs to ensure that they pick the right person for each job.

                                                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                          I think I might like it more if each contestant were to run their own restaurant -- executive chef and supervising all aspects. I don't think it is the best representation of a person's ability if they only run the front of the house, for example.

                                                                                                                    3. re: Evilbanana11

                                                                                                                      I completely agree on the final 4. However, I'm still torn between the brothers as the winner. I feel that Michael V. might be more creative than Bryan, but I'm not entirely sure about this given the creative, delicious food I experienced at Bryan V.'s restaurant. If I exclude my impressions of my firsthand experience, then I'd probably go with Michael.

                                                                                                                    4. A so-so challege starts the competition.

                                                                                                                      I will say, though, that I like the fact that the challenges seem to be more general this season: more thematic and less "cook with this weird ingredient." It may be less interesting, but it gives the chefs a better chance to show off their individual style of cooking.

                                                                                                                      1. So I learned something new...Indian food isn't considered middle-eastern cuisine. I feel like a total idiot. Ergh.

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: soypower

                                                                                                                          she so needs to go home. i will miss ashley.

                                                                                                                        2. I was sorry to see Ashley go.

                                                                                                                          I never read the bios but after she left I read Ashley's. I was really surprised that she's 32. Heck, I'd card her at a bar. Yeah, I realize they flash the cheftestant's ages on screen when they ID them, but that's a detail that apparently I've been ignoring.

                                                                                                                          My big question (I always have questions) this week is, why didn't Eli taste the gnocchi before he wrecked them? When will TC contestants learn to taste their own food?

                                                                                                                          1. So there is an Iron Chef rerun on right now.... Blais vs Batali. And who is sous chef no 2 on the Challenger's team? Why it is Eli! He has put on a few pounds in the intervening years, but it is clearly this year's Top Chef Eli.

                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                              IIRC, Blais had said in one of his blogs that he had worked with Eli in the past and respects his cooking. I can't recall if he said he's worked with Kevin or not (same city).

                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                Yes, Eli was his best man for his wedding, they are both in Atlanta. The sous thing was just a surprise.

                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                  I know he said he knew Kevin well from working in the same city and really respected his food. Not sure if they worked together though.

                                                                                                                                2. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                  FYI, the Batali v. Blais/Eli Iron Chef repeats today (10/10/09) at 5:00 p.m. Eastern. And Harold has three new blogs up on the Bravo site (catching up on recent episodes).

                                                                                                                                  1. re: intuitive eggplant

                                                                                                                                    Blais's viewpoint on this week's show (Halftime) is up as well. Gives high marks to Kevin and Jennifer and Bryan.

                                                                                                                                3. I wonder if Kevin and Jen would've won if Kevin took the immunity rather that the $15k. Hmmm.....

                                                                                                                                  1. I like Ash seems like a decent guy but he is coming across like Hossea did last season. Constantly in the lower half of the field but some how managing to get by.

                                                                                                                                    Like Kevin from day one. He is being portrayed as the one to beat. But you never know if your being set up because of the editing.

                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                      it can't be a total set up if you win as much as he does. :)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                        Hosea was a cocky guy, probably in the top 7 but not a winner that slipped in with the right confluence of events - other chef's screwing up, etc. Ash is basically admitting he shouldn't be there much longer. The difference is Hosea believed he was the best..

                                                                                                                                      2. Jen impressed me--with cooking while sick, to sharing her prize with Kevin, to being teary when Ashley was leaving. I think she showed a lot more humanity this episode.

                                                                                                                                        I was sad to see Ashley leave. I know, to beat others to the punch, that this isn't Top Integrity but I was impressed that she didn't throw her teammates under the bus, even if it meant she left. When they picked her and Michael as the ones who lost for their teams, she must have known she'd be the one leaving. I think she's far better than Ell and the fact is that he oversalted the gnocchi and left her to cook the prawns because he couldn't. He was lucky she was a team player and not looking out for herself.

                                                                                                                                        I also liked Bryan more this episode--the whole brother rivalry disappeared when one of them was in danger. That was nice to see. Yeah, Bryan was snappy but aren't they in the stew room for hours, with way too much to drink? Kevin seemed to forgive him. I think the final four are obvious but I want to see Kevin in the final two. Consistent, innovative great food, plus who could root against Kris Kringle?

                                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                          i agree with all of the above. :)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                            "I also liked Bryan more this episode--the whole brother rivalry disappeared when one of them was in danger."

                                                                                                                                            As some have commented previously, I personally feel that the whole rivalry angle was a fabrication of the shows' editors and producers. I think Bryan is a low-drama kind of guy and is serious about cooking and isn't much interested in becoming a character on a reality TV show.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                                              I agree. I know I give my husband a hard time and we pretend to be competitive. It we had cut and paste lives, people would think we were in serious trouble. I really like that most of the contestants this season seem to be into cooking their best, not the Spike like drama of trying to beat the game. As Ashley put it when Kevin chose money over immunity, they want to be there because they deserve to be there, not because they won the immunity card (or playing games).

                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                I like it--"cut and paste lives"! And I agree that most contestants--certainly the top 4--are giving it their best. Although I want Bryan or his brother Michael to win, I'm becoming increasingy impressed by Kevin and Jen. It reminds me of some seasons of American Idol (which I definitely don't watch regularly) when there are so many talented runner ups. I just hope the TC judges don't pull a Taylor Hicks. That would suck.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                                                  Hosea was the Taylor Hicks of TC!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                    At least Taylor Hicks was likeable! Can't say the same for Hosea...

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                                                Reality TV contestants can't win. If you speak up, you're a douchebag. If you keep your mouth shut, you're a tool. If I was on TV, I would not say much since everything you say can be used against you. Even if don't say a thing, it can still be used against you.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                  So true, although most of the tools I know (LOL) have big mouths. Actually, on another web site some time ago, I had an interesting discussion with someone about the technical difference between tools and douchebags. For all practical purposes, I don't see much of a difference, but then again I never use the term "douchebag" . I now remember that omewhere in this thread or an earlier one there's a discussion about a certain "douche".

                                                                                                                                            2. The grouping seems obvious, but I've been trying to find a way to describe their qualities.

                                                                                                                                              Top Chef Final Four - imaginative, self-sufficient, takes risk and gets the job done.
                                                                                                                                              Mike V
                                                                                                                                              Bryan V

                                                                                                                                              Top Sous Chef - Not as imaginative, rides coattails, but has some skills.
                                                                                                                                              Mike I
                                                                                                                                              Both Mike I and Eli think their the bomb but so far have not really put up.
                                                                                                                                              Ash - intimidated by the "learned chefs". He keeps emphasizing his lack of culinary degree.

                                                                                                                                              Top Bistro/Cafe Chef - These are the loners or the chefs outside of the clique. They'd do great in a one chef kitchen.
                                                                                                                                              I believe Robin and Laurine are the older chefs of the group. Maybe they're beyond cliques and dealing with the younger pups.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                I would slip Ash into your TopBistro category, otherwise, concur completely.

                                                                                                                                              2. All I can say about this episode is that I actually cried when they eliminated Ashley. I like her approach to food and found her to be a great competitor.

                                                                                                                                                I am sorry but that fact that Robin is still there is insane. INSANE!!! I am sure she's a lovely lady but she just does not have "it". . whatever "it" is, she's got none.

                                                                                                                                                I think Kevin or Jen will win. Jen leaves me cold as far as her personality goes but I think she's a solid cook. Kevin has "it" and so he will go far no matter what.

                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: pastryqueen

                                                                                                                                                  I don't know if by winning this show people from far and wide will come eat your food, but the free advertisement is worth much more than $100k, which is abut $60k after taxes. I think the bros, Kevin and Jen have already done wonders for themselves at this point. The next time I visit Atlanta, I'll be checking him out and Blais' joint. And when I next go to Philly, I'll be checking out Jen. I've already been to Bryan's restaurant. Too bad Mike works in LA - not going there any time soon.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                    You're right. I've also been to Bryan's restaurant and really liked it. I would SO like to try the restaurant where Mike V. works. Has anyone been to the current one or to Bazaar when he was working there?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                                                      My friend, who does not watch the show, ate at Mike V's new restaurant last week and said it was the best meal of his life.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JonDough

                                                                                                                                                        Ooh, I'm jealous! Tell your friend to post about it ! Inquiring minds want to know! :)

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                                                        I ate at Michael V.'s restaurant at the Greenbrier- Hemisphere a couple years ago. All tasting menus. It was really good and very creative. Lots of molecular Gastronomy even then. I can't remember each dish now, but right away you knew that it was going to be a good evening because the quality of food from the beginning of the meal was really up there. I do remember the sugar sphere that Hubby's dessert was encased the whole thing was very interesting.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ktmoomau

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks, ktmoomau. I'm trying to get my brother who lives in California to check out Michael V.'s current restaurant. I know a few people who ate at Bazaar when he was there, and they said their meals were out of this world. Closer to home, we have Bryan V.'s Volt. I've only been once, but it made a real impression on me. Very innovative and well presented, delicious food.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Do you think Bryan will quit his job, move to Canada, adopt a vegetarian lifestyle and marry me? I am holding my breath.

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Jetgirly

                                                                                                                                                      you forgot...divorce his wife after adopting a vegetarian lifestyle. i'm pretty sure he's married.

                                                                                                                                                    2. http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/seaso...

                                                                                                                                                      If you get a chance, you should watch the videos at Bravo re: the cheftestants being stir crazy....they start out with the most recent, and work backwards, so you get to see Ron, Preeti, Jesse, Mattin, Hector, and Jennifer Z. Pretty funny stuff!

                                                                                                                                                      Until the last video (actually I think the first filmed - "Don't Record Us") - Mean Mike Isabella remains a jerk, including being pretty damn nasty about Robin in several of the videos. But it does seem like he's on good terms with Jennifer N. in the first video, so perhaps his initial remark about "being beat by a girl" is just his enormous male ego talking.

                                                                                                                                                      AND Bryan and Michael Voltaggio are both a lot more relaxed, as well as Jennifer...they definitely are much more relaxed and personable than what we see during competitions. Makes me like them even more. Kevin? Well, he's just a big ol' teddy bear - his personality shines even more in these relaxed settings.

                                                                                                                                                      47 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                        I dunno...Mike I seems to be doing a lot more talking than Robin. Maybe that's the real female competition he's afraid of ;-)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                          ROFL! Oh, I can only imagine the number of F-bombs Mike Isabella would drop if that was ever suggested to him!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                            It would be funny if Eli or Mike I were eliminated before Robin, wouldn't it?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                                                              To me it really wouldn't matter when any of those three were eliminated. The fact is none of them have a real chance of winning the whole thing but IMO Robin isn't more talented then either Eli or Mike.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                i think JeanMarie means that it would be funny-ironic; if they were eliminated before robin, because of their respective attitudes toward her-- mike i's comments (robin's being an "old lady" etc.) and eli's comments (cancer "sob story" blah blah). . . it would be kind of humorous if she outlasted her detractors in the competition, i think. i certainly don't think any of these three has a prayer to win, but i would be entertained if robin manages to outperform either or both of these snide dudes long enough to have the last laugh on them. i agree that they all perform at about the same level, but mike's ignorance about the basics (eggs florentine, huh?) and eli's playing-it-safe could trip them up as the competition intensifies-- robin could conceivably edge them out-- but it's all a competition for fifth place, so who really cares, i agree w you on that point too!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                  I'm suspicious of how much the producers are setting Robin up as the underperformer/annoyance. She may go a lot farther that we all suspect. Remember that the producers know who the finalists are when they edit the show and they may be trying to set up an underdog going into the finals to gin up drama since the top few have been dominating so thoroughly this season.
                                                                                                                                                                  Or perhaps I just spend far too much time thinking about this show!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                                                                    I think I'd be REALLY upset if Robin's in the Final 3. No more so than 2 seasons ago with Lisa making it to the finale...or last season when Hosea made it and won it. Ugh.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                    I'd take a perverse pleasure in seeing Robin manage to outlast either Eli or Mike Isabella. :-) It does look like Robin and Eli get into it this coming episode being snippy with each other...Eli being a little PITA in the preview on the Bravo site but Robin being a PITA as well.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                      "but it's all a competition for fifth place, so who really cares, i agree w you on that point too!"

                                                                                                                                                                      Exactly, who remembers any of the other 5th place cheftestants from the previous seasons?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                        LMAO. i think the top 3 (or 4) have been so solid. . . that we're all just searching for something to speculate about while we're all twiddling our thumbs waiting for the final episodes. barring any major upsets, my prediction for the final 3 hasn't changed from the first episode: brian, jen, kevin, with kevin to win. assuming mike v comes in 4th. . . 5th place is the best any of these other folks can hope for-- so they're playing to last at this point, not to win. even though it's predictable or who cares or whatever, i'm still entertained! :)

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                          I think we can all agree on the top four..

                                                                                                                                                                          After that i really do think Anyone can win.
                                                                                                                                                                          I am really thinking Jen, will win (as Tom really loves her) and she has the chops. Then I think about Bryan - and how great some of his food has been.... and then I think about Kevin and think he could win too -
                                                                                                                                                                          And even the younger brother has the chops.

                                                                                                                                                                          So i really think the final episodes are going to be very exciting, and I am hoping none of the above chefs screws up enough to allow any of the other chefs into the top four. (no disrespect to any of them)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                            In case anyone was interested, I was at Tom Colicchio's demo this weekend at the NYC Wine and Food Festival. Gail did his intro, which was really cute, they seem like they genuinely like each other. Some interesting moments overall, but, relevant to this thread, at the end Tom opened it up to Q&A. He specifically said the only thing he couldn't talk about was who won this season's Top Chef because he didn't know yet. He said that he knew who the finalists were, but that they didn't compete for another several weeks. So it's kinda funny that we can examine the editing to try to figure out the finalists, but it's not going to tell us who wins! Not yet, at least.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                                                                                              Did Tom say anything abuot TC? How did he look in person?

                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                                                                    The hatefest on Robin really makes me uncomfortable. It seems way over the top. I don't know that she's done anything to deserve it but it seems to be less about her abilities with food and more about personality conflicts.

                                                                                                                                                                    I finally had some time this past weekend to go to the Bravo site and watch some of the extra videos, particularly the "Stir Crazy in Sin City" ones that show a lot of the behind the scenes/after the producers leave action. The other chefs were being nasty about her almost from the beginning (before any of them had really had the chance to prove their ability in the kitchen).

                                                                                                                                                                    There were some snide comments about her being in the guys' bathroom hot tub (the outside one was broken) just waiting to pounce on anyone, male or female, who happened to walk in the room. It wasn't clear if she'd made an unwelcome pass at someone or if she's just comfortable and confident in her own sexuality and that rubs some people (Mike I.) the wrong way.

                                                                                                                                                                    I may be hypersensitive to it but over-40 women who enjoy sex seem to skeeve some younger folks (exceptions for those coo-coo-ka-choo people). Maybe Mike I. has deep-seated fears about cougars...

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

                                                                                                                                                                      It's not just the men that dislike Robin it seems all the remaining women dislike her as well. Maybe she is just annoying.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

                                                                                                                                                                        Basic group dynamics says that when you bring a group of people together, as the group coalesces least one person is going to be scapegoated and ostracized. In reality shows in general, although not always (Marcel) on Top Chef, that person is usually an older woman. Even when they are accepted, it's usually in sort of a condescending way. For example, Ariane was labeled a "cougar" (and was supposed to take that as a compliment) and a Jersey housewife. Despite the fact that she's a CIA graduate with her own successful restaurant, the fact that she was woman, over 40 and working outside a big city caused the chefs who saw themselves as younger and hipper to treat her patronizingly and dismissively.

                                                                                                                                                                        And yes, there is a certain segment of the population (mostly, but not exclusively, men), who seem to find dealing with any woman they don't consider attractive to be a personal affront.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                          Wow - I think you are really hyper-analyizing things.

                                                                                                                                                                          I agree with you to at certain extent - certainly, - but In Robins case, they have shown her to be super annoying only because she talks incessantly when the other chefs are trying to focus and concentrate.
                                                                                                                                                                          Someone who jibber-jabbers is going to becaome annoying its as simple as that.

                                                                                                                                                                          The "cougar" lable being given to Ariane was all in good fun. To a married woman of 40odd with kids who has not been seen as a sexual figure in quite some time - yes this would be a compliment - and why shouldn't it be?
                                                                                                                                                                          She was labled a Jessey housewife because - she was!
                                                                                                                                                                          She has the Jersey accent for sure which is a dead give-away.
                                                                                                                                                                          It doesn't take away any of her sucess.
                                                                                                                                                                          And for me, it doesnt cause me to respect her any less.

                                                                                                                                                                          We all have labled Mike I as a dumb Jersey guy - but he too is sucessful.
                                                                                                                                                                          I can respect his sucess no matter what "lable" he or anyone else has been given -

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                            She's not a "housewife" -- she's a successful restaurant owner. To call a woman a housewife implies that her primary role is to be a wife and take care of a home. If that's your choice, fine, but to apply that label to a woman simply because she's married and lives in the suburbs is a deliberate attempt to belittle her professional status, especially when it's applied to her by other members of her profession: they're chefs, she's a "housewife." And not all women find the label "cougar" flattering (nor should they). It doesn't just mean an attractive older woman. Again, it's belittling: at the very most positive, it means you're attractive ... for an old lady. In its true meaning, it carries the connotation of being predatory and somewhat desperate. In this case, again, it was an attempt (subconscious, I'll concede) to label her with her in a way that detracts from her professional status by concentrating on her age and sexuality and not her skills and accomplishments.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                              I wonder if some of the negativity toward Robin is cultural: She's from Seattle, which has a good restaurant scene but is very provincial compared to SF and other big cities. She also has the West Coast airhead thing down without the edge of the SF chefs. So she's not only older than the other chefs but from outside the major U.S. food centers and from a city reknowned for its PC smugness. Add in a hefty dollop of misogyny and that could explain the hostility. Just a thought...

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ginnyhw

                                                                                                                                                                                  She does have a tattoo! When they showed Robin doing pilates at the start of last night's episode I noticed that she had one on her back at the base of her neck. I had a little fantasy that she and Mike I could bond over their tattoos.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                Honestly, I think of any woman who is married with kids as a housewife - regardless of what her professional title is - because let's face it - that is our primary role - no matter what.
                                                                                                                                                                                You certainly may disagree with that -
                                                                                                                                                                                But to me - thinking of someone as a housewife is not an insult when it is such an important role.
                                                                                                                                                                                You comments seem to imply that to think of her as a housewife is insulting. Which in actual fact is very insulting to all of us housewives.

                                                                                                                                                                                Arriane, herself was not insulted, so why should you come along and tell everyone that she should have been?
                                                                                                                                                                                You imply that she is stupid for not being insulted.
                                                                                                                                                                                I don't think this is the case. In Ariannes case it was a light-hearted thing and she treated it as such.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                  There's nothing wrong with being a housewife. But there's something wrong with being identified as a housewife when she's in a professional setting acting in her professional capacity.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Just because you enjoy being treated that way doesn't mean other women do. According to what she said in her interview she was taken aback by being labeled a cougar, but decided to not make a big deal out of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                    I think she talked about her kids and hubby allot so she portrayed herself that way...I don't think anyone on the show referred to her as a housewife as oppsed to a chef (not that i remember anyway)

                                                                                                                                                                                    She herself said she was complimented - I distinctly remember that -
                                                                                                                                                                                    Perhaps someone with your point of view had a chat with her and she later changed her mind!

                                                                                                                                                                                    If someone referred to yourself as a cougar and you were insulted by it, I would not try to convince you that you shouldn't be.And just because you would be insulted doesnt mean every woman should be. We all think differently. and we all see things differently.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                      I didn't see Ariane as being any different from any of the other mothers we've seen on reality programs. Even mothers with full-time careers don't typically leave their families for a month+ at a time with almost no contact with family members. It's understandable that they'd be missing their families a few weeks into the competition.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't have kids, but I feel like most of my female friends who have careers and children would be insulted by being called a housewife. Some of them make far more than their husbands and they split the housework evenly. Do they still talk about their children a lot? Certainly, and I see no problem with that.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                                                                        She wasn't any different from any working mom.
                                                                                                                                                                                        She got the Jesrey Housewife lable because it fit.
                                                                                                                                                                                        (to a certain extent)
                                                                                                                                                                                        Just like Stefan had the "arrogant European" lable and Faboi got the "Charming Italian" lable" and Carla got the "Kooky new age woman" lable.
                                                                                                                                                                                        They are all chefs yes, but their peronas got them labled.

                                                                                                                                                                                        And on a personal note - I for one am saddened that I live in a society that considers one who chooses to devote herself to the happiness of her family - a failure.
                                                                                                                                                                                        An "insult" to be called a housewife.....indeed.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                          Nobody said "failure" or "insult" but you. Apparently, despite the fact that you don't think it's an insult, you are overly defensive about how the term is used.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                            From queencru: "don't have kids, but I feel like most of my female friends who have careers and children would be insulted by being called a housewife."

                                                                                                                                                                                            Oye Vey - Maybe I am sensitive to it because I am not a professional woman (although I do work in an office full time) - but I do have professional friends who still proudly refer to themselves as a "housewife"!

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't think that to be called a housewife, per se, should be considered an insult. In my opinion, one of the most important jobs, period, is raising children. I am currently a lawyer who hasn't worked for over a year, and has no children. I think that makes me a housewife - a wife who is at home. I cook, and, fortunately for me, don't clean because I pay someone to do that. Or, to be more accurate, my husband pays for someone to do that. I never expected to be a "housewife" with no children.

                                                                                                                                                                                            All of this said, if I were still a lawyer at a major Wall Street firm, even if I did have children at home, I would object to being called a housewife, because I would have a role in society that is different (not more or less) than being a house wife. So, I can see how using the term "housewife" in reference to a woman who has a career/job outside of the home is interpreted as denigrating her role as a professional/working woman, as it implicitly ignores that role.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                    Well said, Ruth! (Lafler and MM)

                                                                                                                                                                                    The point is not to question what she is or isn't, but to think about the choices of terms that are used and thus preferred. (And in a general, not personal sense. Nelly may think of Mike I as a 'dumb Jersey guy' but no one is naming teams 'Dumb Jersey Guy' or dismissing his cooking based on that assessment.)

                                                                                                                                                                                    One does not obsess on the domestic status of the men here (except for maybe Eli, who has now outed himself as a bit of a little prince who has yet to move out of his parent's house).

                                                                                                                                                                                    I hate the term cougar-- especially as it seems to be trying to be 'nice' in telling older women that they might still have value if they wax and workout and manage to be attractive to younger men...

                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                    "To a married woman of 40odd with kids who has not been seen as a sexual figure in quite some time - yes this would be a compliment - and why shouldn't it be?"

                                                                                                                                                                                    Ow, what a slam to all women over 40. Dried up old prunes who've been sitting on the shelf desperate for sexual attention.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                      Gosh!!- I didn't mean anything like that!!

                                                                                                                                                                                      I myself am a 43 year old woman - far from being a dried up old prune!
                                                                                                                                                                                      And far from being someone desperate for sexual attention -
                                                                                                                                                                                      Yet I still smile if someone winks at me - or notices me in flirty way.
                                                                                                                                                                                      There is nothing wrong with that and I refused to be embarrassed to admit that. If someone did call me a cougar - I'd laugh!
                                                                                                                                                                                      The fact that you interpereted my comments in such a way is far more of a slam to woman of my age then my actual comments!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                        Would you feel the same in a professional setting with someone winking or flirting? I didn't appreciate it when I was younger or now. It's a personal thing but I never, whether it was happening frequently or infrequently, appreciated being referred to sexually by co-workers/peers. I was commenting on the "who has not been seen as a sexual figure in quite some time," that 1) it's irrelevant to being hit on and 2) that it's very possibly not true. And, I think it's the same for women and men on treatment. Jeff said he was taken aback by the number of shots of him w/out a shirt, even though he was behind the door for a good number of them. He said his wife noticed and was the one to tell him. I think it would have been wrong for them to call him a gigolo.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm sorry Chowser -
                                                                                                                                                                                          I know allot of folks think any sexual references are not appropriate in the work place - I totally get that.
                                                                                                                                                                                          They were in a different situation. Sitting around smoking, drinking and joking around.
                                                                                                                                                                                          Regarding the second part of your post - I lost you - I am not really sure what you mean!! lol

                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't know - I kind of though Jeff was amused by the shirt-less situation and really - if he had been called a gigolo - it would have been kind of funny!
                                                                                                                                                                                          I mean - where's everyones humor gone?!?!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                            They weren't in a social situation when they named the team Ariane was on "Team Cougar" -- without asking her if it was okay. That was work. It was part of the competition. They made her sound like a mascot instead of a member of the team.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Apparently you don't work outside the home. Perhaps you aren't aware of all the subtle ways that woman have their professional stature diminished in the workplace.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh forgive me - I don't remember that bit....

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                I've become lost in all of the "reply nesting." I have two children (now grown and with children and homes of their own). I was married (now, thankfully, I'm not). If I were called a housewife while I was at work, I would be livid. If I'm doing contract negotiations or crawling under a radar, it would be very dismissive of me and and attempt to diminish my importance in the workplace.

                                                                                                                                                                                                As for "cougar," the most popular definition at Urban Dictionary includes, "The cougar can be anyone from an overly surgically altered wind tunnel victim, to an absolute sad and bloated old horn-meister, to a real hottie or milf." I don't think the folks on Top Chef are being complimentary when they use that term for one of their competitors, especially when they very distinctly put her down every chance they get.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Am I flattered when someone calls me a milf (or even a gmilf)? Sure - but only if the setting isn't work. If someone tells me that my house is lovely or a meal I prepared was fantastic, I love that, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Housewife? Nope. Not for me. Being a wife can be wonderful, as can being a mother. To me, the term "housewife" implies that one is wed to the house and the chores associated with it with very few outside interests and is used to describe what one does.

                                                                                                                                                                                                "What do you do?"
                                                                                                                                                                                                "I'm a logistician."

                                                                                                                                                                                                "What do you do?"
                                                                                                                                                                                                "I'm a teacher."

                                                                                                                                                                                                "What do you do?"
                                                                                                                                                                                                "I'm a chef."

                                                                                                                                                                                                "What do you do?"
                                                                                                                                                                                                "I'm a housewife."

                                                                                                                                                                                                Being a housewife, if that's what you've decided to do, is admirable. Having a different career and being described as a housewife would be incredibly insulting. Another example: I work on cars in my spare time. I built the engine in the sports car I have now. That's not really that common and several of my co-workers know about it. However, I'm a logistics analyst and I would also be insulted if some (in my workplace) called me a mechanic. It would be disrespectful and not give me the proper credit for my contributions and abilities at work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                As for the other nicknames associated with other chefs - those nicknames were not about "what they do" but about other things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Great response. It's wonderful that some women (and men) decide to stay at home and watch their children, but it's not for everyone. Calling someone else a housewife or giving her a nickname based on her sexuality is quite simply insulting and disregards her ability in the workplace. It's very hard for women to earn respect in a workplace once they've been labeled a cougar, housewife, workplace hottie, or other gender-based stereotype.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Unfortunately, many careers are still very sexist. I know from having experience in one of those career fields that it isn't cute or entertaining after about the first second. I've worked in places in this decade that were no better than the environment at Mad Men, and it's ridiculously difficult for women to succeed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I work part time at home while my kids are young, and I interact in the community/at school with other moms who have full-time, part-time, and, shall we say, on-hold professions. In my suburb, I never, ever, hear the term "housewife." Stay-home mom is a much more common term. "Housewife" sounds dated and, to me, has a load of unappealing connotations. Apparently, YMMV ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                      What if the woman doesn't have kids? I really can't think of any other term than housewife. I remember when I was a kid and watched those morning game shows (over 30 years ago) where "homemaker" was the appropriate term.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                                        As someone said, the term "housewife" makes it sound like she's married to her house! Which, in the '50s, may have been true. I hope that even women who don't work outside the home these days are being valued for more than how sparkly their kitchen floors are!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                          My sister is a stay at home mom and if I ever called her a housewife she'd slug me!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ariane is no more a housewife than Tom Colicchio is a househusband, just because he has a baby at home now. Although they share the same network as the Housewives of various cities, there's no comparison. LOL, the "Housewives" are also not valued for how shiny their kitchen floors are but how shiny their jewelry is--is that a step down or step up?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I know housewives and househusbands, and I don't think they personally take offense to that label, especially since that's what they use when they refer to themselves. If they have kids, they refer to l themselves as either a stay-at-home mom or stay-at-home dad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I know today isn't like the 1950s where the majority of women weren't working outside of the home. But these days there are those women (and men) without kids who do stay at home. Not everybody has desires of having children and working outside of the home -- note that this isn't a value judgment; it's merely an assertion. I think some people tend to place value judgments if somebody decides not to have kids or not work outside of the home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              So if a married woman with no kids and who isn't working appears on The Price is Right, and Drew Carey asks her what she does for a living, what would the appropriate answer these days be? Is today's answer, "I don't define myself by one word."? I don't watch The Price is Right anymore, and would really like to know what the proper term is these days. Any morning game show watchers out there?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              P.S. I'd like to add that I feel Ariane being called a housewife wasn't very accurate as she had a career outside of the home and had children. But I don't find anything intrinsically wrong about the word "housewife" if that's what one person is. If there's a more PC term these days, I'd like to know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                P.S. I'd like to add that I feel Ariane being called a housewife wasn't very accurate as she had a career outside of the home and had children. But I don't find anything intrinsically wrong about the word "housewife" if that's what one person is.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                And I think that's the issue at hand here - most of us didn't see Ariane as a "housewife" because she has a career *outside the home*, whereas a few people did. Her sole job is not just to take care of children; it's one of them (part and parcel of being a mother).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                But in the context of the situation she was in on TC, she was *not* a housewife - she was a chef/owner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Interesting how the older women chefs have been marginalized in several seasons of TC--Ariane, Robin, Betty. Carla was older but had a very youthful vibe so she seems to have escaped "biddyfication." Does anyone remember any older male chefs getting the same treatment? As a 40s woman I find it very disturbing to watch the real contempt the younger chefs have for the older women. But having read Bourdain et. al. on the machismo of most kitchens, I'm not terribly surprised. As diners, MANY of us older women, we just don't see this ugly side of kitchen culture. In all, unappetizing. I'm going to seek out women-run restaurants in the future.