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Top Chef - Las Vegas - Ep. #9 - Restaurant Wars! - 10/21/09 (Spoilers)

Rick Moonen is guest judge; QuickFire is a TagTeam cookoff. Jen and Michael are "captains":

Jen's team is Kevin, Mike I., and Laurine
Michael's team is Bryan, Eli and Robin

Each team member is blindfolded and one team member cooks alone (without speaking) until they're done and the next team member comes up to cook during the next 10 minutes. They are *not* allowed to discuss the dish while choosing in what order they cook.

Michael and Bryan are last for each of their teams. Kevin veered off of how Jennifer started their dish off, and Michael is taking his team's dish way differently. Ought to be interesting.

Most surprising to me was Robin cooking after Eli - and actually realizing where Eli was going and continuing in his thought pattern. Interesting. Not sure that'll help her standing with Eli, but she's smarter than Eli thinks.

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  1. i LOVE this QF idea. it's really fun!

    and as much as i dislike Eli, his comment about Robin's cooking style being "somewhere East of Mars" seriously had me LMAO.

    happy to see Moomen as a guest judge. i was really bummed that his stint on TC Masters was so short-lived.

    ETA: another thing i forgot to say about the QF...i swear, if Bryan does one more foam, air or emulsion i'm gonna SCREAM!!! seriously, enough already.

    21 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Interesting comment from Moonen - "this is like a game of telephone; you just have to leave clues along the way." HUGE compliments to Jen's dish and the inclusion of shrimp in her stock! Yay - congrats Jen!

      I enjoyed the challenge as well - and Restaurant Wars IN Moonen's restaurant? VERY interesting! Each team gets their own kitchen in a 2-floor kitchen? Cool! (And yay - no decoration!) And GOOD - FOH person also is required to conceive of a dish and is responsible for it.

      ETA: VERY cool high stakes! They get to let the $10K ride and if they win RW, they EACH get $10K!

      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        ETA: another thing i forgot to say about the QF...i swear, if Bryan does one more foam, air or emulsion i'm gonna SCREAM!!! seriously, enough already.
        ********
        Why? Good foam is fantastic....you smell it and it really enhances the flavor of the food.

        1. re: Ericandblueboy

          because i feel like he's made at least one in every episode, and after sitting on the plate for more than a minute or two it can begin to resemble the saliva of a rabid dog.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            I had many a foams at Joel Robuchon's L'Atelier....would you tell him to stop foaming too?

            1. re: Ericandblueboy

              i voiced my frustration about a chef's insistence on repeating the same technique time and again, in a competition where originality and creativity are supposedly valued. so sue me.

              and if you click on #7, you'll find i'm not the only one on the planet who thinks foam is tired & overused...
              http://www.chicagotribune.com/enterta...

        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

          The snotty comments about Robin are getting pretty tired. She may not cook in the style of the V-brothers or Jen, and she won't win this competition, but she's a decent chef and not a bad human being. It's gotten so that the comments are now a gratuitous insult for how the others bond at her expense. Those people are better than that.

          1. re: chicgail

            "Those people are better than that."
            ~~~~~
            you may be giving some of them too much credit...

            1. re: chicgail

              i agree to a certain extent but there still has to be some merit to her annoyingness since EVERYONE finds her that way. that said that doesn't make her a bad person and many of them are being rude.

              1. re: AMFM

                Right. The fact that you find someone annoying doesn't give you the right to treat someone as badly as a person and as disrespectfully as a colleague as they treat her.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  agreed.
                  but they are living with her 24/7 under the greatest stress of their lives.

                  1. re: AMFM

                    Great stress tends to bring out a person's true character--ask ER doctors and soldiers. This group is showing a real lack of human decency in their behavior toward Robin. It's not like she's a real threat, based on what we've seen of her performance so far. So why be so nasty? At least you attribute some of the Marcel-hatred to jealousy or his own arrogance. This is just nasty, ageist, sexist, misogynist (self-hating misogyny on the women's part) bullying. Go Robin!

                    1. re: newhavener07

                      From what the show's demonstrated so far, Robin, sadly, is one of those people who *just can't appreciate the sound of silence.* When others have said their piece (and when nobody's around) she's frustrated by the lack of "talk" and needs to fill the pause. Worse, at other times, she verbalizes *everything* that's going on in her head. She's like an open book; one that talks and talks andtalksandtalksand...

                      I've been around people like that, and it's *extremely* unnerving. I can see how it becomes *torture* to Robin's peers, given that they're in a very, very high-stress situation.

                      I find it sad that Robin's over 40 and either a) nobody in her life has cared enough for her to point out that she talks too much; or worse b) one or many have indeed tried to intervene on her behalf, but she's not taking the advice.

                      1. re: shaogo

                        Maybe she's not like that when she's in a less stressful environment surrounded by friends and co-workers, not competitors. I'm generally a rather quiet, laid-back person, but I tend to chatter when I'm under stress or when I'm trying too hard to get along with people.

                    2. re: AMFM

                      Being stressed doesn't give one license to be rude or unkind. I really hate the dogpile that's happened. She doesn't seem to have a single ally - although I've noticed that Kevin doesn't seem to participate so much in the hatefest. That just makes me like him even more.

              2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Cute commentary on Salon.com about the Voltaggio Bros. (note, contains vulgar language): http://www.salon.com/entertainment/to...

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Funny article - and not altogether untrue!

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    I think she really nailed the sibling dynamic. The bit about the reserved, superior older sibling making a snide remark that sends the more volatile younger sibling into a rage reminds me of me and my sister (of course, we outgrew that well before we were the Voltaggio brothers' ages ... mostly).

                  2. re: Ruth Lafler

                    I loved the article, Ruth! And besides the Voltaggio bros, I love how it also dealt with Don Draper's arrogance and swagger.I'll admit it--I like bad boys although of the two V. brothers, Bryan is probably more my type.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      LOL, "Glad rage pantry" is most descriptive.

                  3. C'mon guys, let's head to the M Resort!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ktb615

                      Let stop on the way to the M Resort and pick up some items from the Glad family of products!

                      1. re: grant.cook

                        They could have used the Glad Trash Bags for Jen's Fish and Kevin's Lamb dishes.

                    2. OK, best episode so far this season - they're no longer responsible for the decor?! hooray! more time to focus on the FOOD...and they're also being judged on their adherence to/execution of Moonen's sustainability philosophy? awesome!

                      40 Replies
                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        I am SERIOUSLY jazzed about this episode - I'm *so* glad they got rid of shopping at Pier 1 Imports to decorate their restaurant - this is a way cooler way to judge how they deal with RW.

                        Do you think Jennifer has an advantage with what essentially is a seafood challenge?

                        But I still think the Robuchon episode was best. :-)

                        ETA: absolutely phenomenal menus from both Mission and Revolt. Wow. I wanna eat at both restaurants! LOL

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          oy. the blue team is TANKING.

                          two thoughts:
                          - the collective gasp from the judges when they realized there was no dessert on the menu was NOT a good sign.
                          - i'm gonna be *pissed* if Jen goes home for this! i hope it's Laurine. at least Kevin's safe.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Jennifer's team is getting HAMMERED with the comments from the judges! Tom's comment "her mentor would be disappointed" after Jen's poor fish dish was a WOW moment.

                            And Laurene - ouch, she's really not good as FOH. Forgetting to describe the dishes for the judges? Yeah - the Red Team won this hands down.

                            But it *did* kind of tick me off that the judges said "Noticed that there's no dessert" when they saw the Blue Team's menu. You're damned if you do one, damned if you don't. That continues to bug me.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              I think the entire season people have alluded to the fact that someone (from our "Top Four" goes home way too early. I'll be really disappointed if it's Jen tonight.

                              1. re: QSheba

                                I will SCREAM if Jen goes home...and she's leader of her team, so she could. That would just be SO wrong - but Tom has alluded to surprises in this season that the audience will *never* expect, and this could be one of them. However, they weren't happy with Kevin's food either. Either one of them going home will really piss me off.

                                And I agree with the dessert - either tell them they MUST make one (didn't they require it one season? Either TC5 or TC4), or say it doesn't matter, and then don't comment if they don't make a dessert.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  Yes yes yes -- if you demand dessert, make that clear. There are a couple-three things I find maddeningly inconsistent on this, my favorite show. One of the most pressing is the complete dichotomy about whether you should put out food you aren't comfortable with. On one hand, they tell people all the time it was a mistake to send out something they didn't believe in. Then when you have four cooks who know dessert isn't their forte, the judges complain about no dessert.

                                  The winning team was lucky to have two competitors who make good sweets. Both of them sounded delicious to me -- and I don't even like mint ice cream normally. I'd love to try the elderberry with the crisp, as well as the fascinating-looking ganache. Well done, everyone.

                                  1. re: dmd_kc

                                    Hey this got to me too. In past episodeS they chastised someone for making a dessert that didn't turn out well by saying something like you were not obligated to make a dessert, why did you make a dessert and on and on.

                                    Now it's oh NO dessert

                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                      I suppose...but was that in past episodes of restaurant wars? after all, let's be real: aren't there a lot of Chowhounds out there who would be pretty darn disappointed if they went to a new restaurant and there were NO desserts on the menu?

                                      1. re: susancinsf

                                        totally agree susan. it's a restaurant. and i'd be annoyed if there was not even a dessert option.

                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                    This seems to be a Toby-thing, more than the other judges. He's made similar comments before in earlier seasons, and doesn't seem to be aware of the fact that many of the TC chefs are dessert-phobic, often for good reasons.

                                    1. re: jbw

                                      Well, it was Tom that made the comment upon viewing Mission's menu that there was no dessert, and then Toby elaborated on Tom's comment. Toby's only been there for 2 seasons; Tom's been there for 6....and the "why didn't you make dessert?" or "Why did you make a dessert if you knew you couldn't make it properly?" seesaws are getting tiresome. Pick one - and freakin' stick with it.

                                      Either the judges WANT a dessert or they don't. But don't chastise them or potentially penalize them if they don't have one. Granted, Jen's team did poorly all around, but I wonder what would have been said if their other courses were absolutely stellar and they still didn't have a dessert?

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        The one thing I'd say about the whole dessert/no dessert thing, though, is that if I were going to be on the show, you can darned well bet I'd absolutely perfect and memorize three desserts -- two rich, one light -- made with pantry ingredients. Desserts match menus more easily than other courses, so you'd have an ace up your sleeve if you really had to produce one. Though I wouldn't have one of them be a molten-center chocolate cake that you can get at Applebee's (cough ::HUNG:: cough).

                                        I must say that regardless of my objections to the inconsistency of the judging criteria, I do think it's a mistake not to have any dessert on your restaurant wars menu. And a cheese and fruit course wouldn't have been a good gamble in this context, though that's normally my favorite choice when it's offered.

                                        1. re: dmd_kc

                                          LOL! I do agree entirely with your first paragraph. :-)

                                          1. re: dmd_kc

                                            Memorizing recipes is one thing, but what if they throw some crazy twist into the challenge and you don't have pantry ingredients? If I were going to be on the show, I'd also find a great pastry chef, buy them an ounce/case of their favorite indulgence, and then goof around with them in the kitchen for an evening and see how their minds work with unfamiliar or unexpected ingredients.

                                            1. re: dmd_kc

                                              I agree -- sometimes I'm surprised at how little the chefs prepare to be on the show.

                                              Clearly they made a strategic error. Laurine should have made dessert. For one thing, she's a caterer, which means she must have some experience with desserts. For another, desserts can be made ahead of time, which means she could have actually taken responsibility for her own dish, instead of leaving it to someone else to execute.

                                              Of course, the obviously would have lost even with dessert. However, if everything else had gone well they would have been in a stronger position if they'd offered, say, a dessert and a cheese plate, since it looks like they were supposed to have two options for each course.

                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                agree about a caterer should be able to pull off dessert.

                                                can i just say that a caterer should also be able to serve a table or 2 of diners? engage the diners/sell the menu? i don't know what that was with laurine. she should have been able to drop the foh mask down and turn on the charm, no matter what boh's issues. she's a caterer to the wealthy elite, not an introverted line cook. . . she could have zeroed in on an ingredient or a presentation, anything to be engaging or attentive or dareisay present in the moment?

                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                          I think the whole thing with the dessert is that they give you points if you do dessert properly. A good dessert is better than a good savory third course. But if you screw up dessert, they would rather have a good savory third course. Michael V's team did wonderful desserts. So with everything else being equal, even if Jen's team had great third savory courses, the win would have gone to the dessert team because they did more than they are called to do.

                                          Personally, I'd rather end my meal with dessert than a third savory course. But if the dessert is going to be on par with something like a McDonalds sundae, I'd rather end my meal with a well-prepared lamb chop.

                                        3. re: QSheba

                                          i'm so afraid that Jen's going home i almost don't want to watch!

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            And Michael's team won - and Michael wins the individual win...he gets the $10K. AND he's going to split it with his team members? Damn! Good man.

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              Michael was generous with the money, but he was vile to Robin during the cooking and then tried to take credit for the recipe she used. Not so pleasant to watch. His brother is a big sulky baby too. "You just keep the money." Oh, grow up!

                                              1. re: Claire

                                                I really like Michael's cooking style, but he was sooooo obnoxious -- I really, really, really hate people who do something provocative and then make it all about your reaction to deflect from their original behavior. "Don't swear!" "Relax, relax, RELAX!" Dude, you were the one who was being a bully and a control freak!

                                                In Bryan's defense, by that point it was probably 3 a.m. after a very long, stressful day. I've behaved worse under those conditions.

                                                1. re: Claire

                                                  IIRC, Michael did help Robin with her dessert concept. They were sitting at the house going over the menu and Robin mentioned that Micheal helped her elevate her dish. I don't think he was taking full credit, but he wanted it acknowledged that he did help conceptulize the dish.

                                                  1. re: jcattles

                                                    He did, and she gave him full credit for that. It was when he started talking about how he executed it (not even "we") that she got upset.

                                              2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                Jen should have gone home. Both her dishes sucked but thanks to past performances, they sent Laurine home for being a bad hostess.

                                                1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                  Read Tom's blog - they liked her halibut, so she only had one strike against her. Laurene was responsible for her lamb dish, and had said she would send it back if it wasn't to her liking...she didn't do that. So that, on top of not running the FOH well enough and making sure dishes were being fired at the appropriate time, sent her home.

                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                    The show shows their spontaneous and contemporaneous reactions. The blogs are written afterwards. I know what I saw...I don't believe everything I read.

                                                    1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                      And we also don't see the entire JT - so we're seeing what the Magical Elves editors gives us to see in 75 minutes. So it is highly probable they *did* like her halibut. Again - it's Moonen's and Colicchio's reputations on the line as well if they lie about it and it gets out.

                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                        It's not blantant and it certainly can be spinned a la Toms blog. I'm not the only person who feels this way but I wouldn't put my reputation on the line to defend Tom. I rather know what you think rather than have you defend Tom. I've been to Craft and I have no plan on going back. As for Moonen, I'm not even plannning on eating his food. So their reputation do not concern me at all.

                                                        1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                          Their reputation is THEIRS to care about. And they obviously do, as they make decisions based on food, not who they want to win the contest.

                                                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                            They actually did say her halibut was cooked perfectly while they were eating it and afterward at JT. They also mentioned that while her consomme was not clear, it was still good. Her trout failed altogether, but the halibut was a decent dish and they said as much while eating it. Not sure what you were watching, but you obviously couldn't have been paying that close attention.

                                                            1. re: gastrotect

                                                              Not sure what you were watching, but you obviously couldn't have been paying that close attention.
                                                              *****
                                                              Oh well. Must've zoned out.

                                                              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                It happens. Keep in mind, I don't think Jen did well. I just remember them specifically saying the halibut itself was good and the sauce was tasty. The dish had problems, but it was passable whereas it seemed Laurine didn't do anything passably.

                                                                1. re: gastrotect

                                                                  Was the bad shellfish served with the trout or the halibut?

                                                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                    I think it was the trout (undercooked mussels, IIRC).

                                                                    ETA: No, I guess it was the halibut - Bravo is having trouble displaying the recipes, but the name of the trout recipe was: "Trout with Brown Butter Emulsion, Hazelnuts, and Braised Endive" and the halibut was "Alaskan Halibut with Mussels, Clams, and Saffron Aioli in Consummé"

                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                      So while the halibut itself was fine, the entire dish wasn't. I knew there were complaints about both her dishes. Of course Tom then focused on the good (but he did mention the shellfish too) and only docked Jen for making 1 bad dish instead of 2. Yes I think Tom can be swayed by past performances and you disagree (since we now understand each other perfectly, let's avoid this same argument in the future).

                                                                      1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                        since we now understand each other perfectly, let's avoid this same argument in the future
                                                                        ~~~~~~~
                                                                        At least until next season, Eric. :-)

                                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                        Seriously... was "Consummé" misspelled on Bravo? I thought I saw the misspelling on the screen last evening, but thought it was just a trick of my eyes. Cannot believe they would miss that! (If anyone doesn't know, there is no "u" in "ConsOmmé."

                                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                                          Yes, that was a copy/paste directly from the recipe link, June. Not good. :-/

                                                                    2. re: gastrotect

                                                                      The blogs are pretty clear that you have it right, gastrotect. While we can't taste the food, we can certainly see that Laurine didn't have the manner of a good server at all. She came off as rude and aloof, not to mention the gaps in service. Mind you, I'm not saying she's rude -- but she just didn't seem gracious and welcoming at all. I could see the tension.

                                                                      More than once, she replied to the judges' "thank you" with a fairly terse "you're welcome." Something like "my pleasure" and a smile would have gone a long way, I predict.

                                                                      1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                        I didn't think Laurine came off as rude. Distant and perhaps overwhelmed, yes. I think the judges' characterization of her being like a deer caught in the headlights was spot on.

                                                                        And I have a pet peeve about "my pleasure". Some hotels (the Ritz Carlton being one of them) train their staff to say it so often, it comes off (at least to me) as insincere and scripted. Give me a simple and sincere "thank you' or 'you're welcome," and I'm good.

                                          2. Isn't that the way this always goes? The team that looks like it should be strongest blows the whole thing.

                                            14 Replies
                                            1. re: ktb615

                                              Isn't that the way this always goes? The team that looks like it should be strongest blows the whole thing.
                                              ***
                                              Guess you're not a very good judge of who's strong and who's not. Head to head, I think Kevin is as good as the Volt bros but Jen is showing she's not in the same class.

                                              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                I completely disagree. Jen almost always puts out well-executed food with sophisticated flavors. Judges consistently are impressed by her execution, palate, and creativity. She had an off-night, that doesn't mean she's not in the same league. If you go back and look at how many times the "Top Four" have been in the "High" group, how many wins they have and how many times they've been in the low group, Jen is not outclassed, statistically at least.

                                                Head to head, I think that most people would agree that as a TEAM the blue team were better if you were to add up their individual talent. Kevin and Jen are just as good as the V-Bros. I think if you were to completely disregard "personality"....Mike Isabella and Laurine outweigh Eli and Robin as far as cooking talentl..and it's not unreasonable to assume that the tension Robin brings to her group could throw things off for the entire team- that isn't the case for Mike I., Laurine, or Eli. The problem in Restaurant Wars was that the Red Team was greater than the sum of it's parts, whereas the Blue Team just apart- overconfidence + poor planning was their downfall.

                                                1. re: QSheba

                                                  Jen's been carried by Kevin several times. I don't think anyone's carrying either of the Volt bros....that's just my opinion. I'm increasingly sure that Jen's not as talented. And if you go read reviews of her restaurant in Philly, it bears out.

                                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                    I don't remember Jen being carried by Kevin. Can you site any specifics?

                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                      Jen has 1 elimnation win and it was when she was teamed up with Kevin. She's never won elimination on her own. Each of the Volt bros and Kevin has multiple elimination wins by now.

                                                      1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                        You are correct about Kevin and the V-bros having multiple elimination wins. I believe Jen won Episode 7 (dinner party) and she's been in the top 3 four times. I don't get the sense that Kevin or anyone else is carrying her, however.

                                                    2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                      Are you sure you're not confusing Jen Carroll with Jen Zavala? All the reviews I've read of 10 Arts have been positive. El Camino Real, not so much. Anyway, you don't get to work at Le Bernardin for 5 years without being talented.

                                                      1. re: Buckethead

                                                        I'm sure she's talented and the restaurant gets positive reviews but is it one of the best restaurants in Philly? If I'm from out of town, would I make an effort to eat there? Ripert also has a restaurant in DC called Westend and I can tell you from personal experience it's not one of the best restaurants in DC.

                                                        1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                          I agree with you about the Westend Bistro. I love the atmosphere and the bar, but the food isn't all that great and is hyped on Ripert's name, IMHO.

                                                      2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                        The "top four" and the stats... I think you should go back and watch the episodes again and see how they won. Jen has not been "carried" by Kevin. I personally think all four are extremely talented. You seem to have something against Jen, which is your choice, but don't let that bias blind you from the facts.

                                                        Quickfire wins:
                                                        Jen-3
                                                        Kevin-3
                                                        Bryan-0
                                                        MV-2

                                                        Elimination Wins:
                                                        Jen-1
                                                        Kevin-3
                                                        Bryan-3
                                                        MV-1

                                                        High Group:
                                                        Jen-4
                                                        Kevin-2
                                                        Bryan-3
                                                        MV-5

                                                        Low Group:
                                                        Jen-1
                                                        Kevin-1
                                                        Bryan-0
                                                        MV-1

                                                        1. re: QSheba

                                                          Nice stats, QSheba. At this point, (to me) it's Kevin and Bryan for the Final 2. Either Jen or Michael would be the 3rd person for the finale.

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            I'm fairly certain that Kevin will be in the final 2. I'm less certain about Bryan V. vs. Michael V.as one of the final 2. Maybe b/c I'm torn between Bryan's consistency and Michael's innovativeness. That's a tough one. To me, Jen is last among the four at this point

                                                          2. re: QSheba

                                                            Why are you using last week's stats? Actually, you're selectively using stats (you gave Jen this week's QF win but didn't give Mike this week's elim win). Jen's one elimination win is in partnership with Kevin. One of her QF win is from a team that includes Kevin, who finished a fish that she misidentified. (So 50% of her wins aren't her solo effort ).

                                                            Let's look at the up to date "real" stat s:

                                                            Elim:
                                                            Bryan 6 highs with 3 wins
                                                            Michael 7 highs with 2 wins
                                                            Kevin 5 highs with 3 wins
                                                            Jen 5 highs with 1 win

                                                            I think of the top 4 she's the weakest. I don't have anything against Jen and she has consistently been in my top 4 but now I'm narrowing that down to top 3.

                                                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                              i can't believe it, but you & i are in agreement on this one! ;)

                                                              Kvin was my pick from Day One to win it all, and i still see that happening unless he pulls a Richard Blais. the brothers round out my top three. i like Jen a lot and i'm hoping she makes it to the final 4, but i don't see her going beyond that.

                                                  2. Oh, class move by Michael in splitting the 10k reward, I like it.

                                                    14 Replies
                                                    1. re: mjhals

                                                      But's what up with Bryan telling him to keep it?

                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                        Bryan thought Mike should keep it since he won it. Bryan isn't hurting for money as far as I know.

                                                        1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                          Yeah, I know. I heard that as well. But it seemed to be an argument about it.

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            If you want to give someone a gift and they tell you no thanks, how would you feel? Mike probably thinks Bryan is being ungrateful. Since they're brothers, they have no problem telling each other exactly how they feel. If they're strangers, I'm not sure Bryan would tell Mike to keep the money, and I'm not sure Mike would have any issue with keeping the money if someone other than Bryan is rejecting it.

                                                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                              I don't disagree with you, but Bryan said "you won it, you should keep it!" I think it's sibling rivalry rearing its ugly head again.

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                To me, Bryan's expression said it all. He did not look happy for his brother.

                                                                1. re: Gigi007

                                                                  deep down I'm sure he's happy that his bro won rather than Eli or Robin, but would he rather have won himself? I'm sure he would prefer to win...

                                                          2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                            Bryan said something to the effect of "I'm tired of him getting rewarded for his behavior" or something like that...in other words, he resented his brother being the leader/arrogant/jerk in the kitchen and on top of that, winning. That's why he didn't want the money. Nothing to do with "hurting for money" or really believing that Mike deserved it- he was sour grapes.

                                                            1. re: QSheba

                                                              I caught that comment too. No one forced him to say that he was tired of his brother getting rewarded for bad behavior. I believe he has real issues with that. Earlier on in the show, I had thought it was due to the editors playing up the rivalry, but now I'm convinced that there is a real competition between the brothers.. Personally, I admire both brothers' cooking and have eaten at Bryan's restaurants. However, like the judges, I see more creativity in Michael's dishes. Bryan has the cooler head ,but also has a temper.

                                                              1. re: QSheba

                                                                I heard it as "I'm tired of him getting rewarded for his unprofessional behavior." Which I think puts a little different spin on things. I'm not sure he resented his brother for winning, I just don't think he was happy for the way Michael won.

                                                          3. re: mjhals

                                                            And they're ruining it by nitpicking each other! I can't stand it! Ok, I'm going to stop blaming the editing for the sibling rivalry, they just have a thing, I guess.

                                                            1. re: mjhals

                                                              I still can't tell them apart. I know one has fared better than the other, but I just can't recall which.

                                                              1. re: Reignking

                                                                Bryan's done better than Michael on the number of wins, but Michael's been in the HIGH group more than Bryan:

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

                                                              2. re: mjhals

                                                                I now think they have a thing too! It can't be just the editing as I thought it was before. It seems that they are very competitive and have extremely different personalities.

                                                            2. Isabella just said he should've had FOH. What an awful idea!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Reignking

                                                                I disagree, as people might dislike some of the things he's said, I think he's definitely a more charismatic guy and would have done a LOT better FOH. He would have had the dishes coming out better, more on time, would have schmoozed the judges and at least described the dishes...

                                                                Thank GOD Jen did not go home- I was going to cry if she did!

                                                              2. I'm sick to my stomach right now - I think it's going to be Jen or Kevin.

                                                                However.......now they're talking a lot about Laurene? Oh please??????????????

                                                                107 Replies
                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                    Oh my god, I should not be this nervous about a TV show, what's wrong with me?

                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                      THANK YOU!!!!!! Phew. Jen really lucked out. I'm sorry to see Laurene go, as I liked her, but overall (and I know they supposedly don't judge overall) Jen is a far better chef.

                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                        overall (and I know they supposedly don't judge overall) Jen is a far better chef.
                                                                        ***
                                                                        I agree but tonight she was atrocious but she got to stick around. I'd like to put those judges to a lie-detector test to see if they're only taking this contest into consideration.

                                                                        1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                          Wow, Eric, I'm sensing a pattern with you. It's very clear you do NOT like Jen. I however don't see this "atrociousness" you keep claiming. She had an off night, like most of the other chefs (I sincerely think Kevin is the only one who hasn't had an off night).

                                                                          1. re: rocks67

                                                                            I don't have a dislike for Jen either. Let's look the what Jen did on this episode:

                                                                            1. She couldn't identify the fish she picked out.
                                                                            2. Tom said she didn't lead well - "And as a result, Jen was unavailable to lead as effectively as I believe she otherwise would have."
                                                                            3. Her trout was a bust
                                                                            4. Her halibut was good but served with bad shellfish and she mislabeled the sauce.

                                                                            I call that an atrocious episode.

                                                                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                              You make an effective argument. Based on what you stated, I'd say that Jen had more than just an "off night". And in all honesty, as bad as Laurine was as FOH, I feel that Jen's performance in this particular episode was worse.

                                                                              1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                1. She identified, correctly, the fish when she initially picked it out of the cooler. Go back and check. She only spaced at the judging.
                                                                                2. I will give you this one. She was not as effective as a leader as she bit off WAY more than she could chew
                                                                                3. Okay
                                                                                4. How did she mislable the sauce? By caling it a consomme? It still tasted good. But I will agree on the off shellfish.

                                                                                I still don't see that as an atrocious episode, but whatever. We are entitled to disagree.

                                                                                1. re: rocks67

                                                                                  I believe you were addresing Ericandblueboy, but for the most part I agree with most of the points he made. To me, Jen had more than just "an off night". She had a terrible night and a poor showing. Considering how well she had done in earlier episodes, I for one, expected better from her.

                                                                                  1. re: rocks67

                                                                                    I have to rewatch the episode... I thought she identified the dish via a voiceover which is done after the challenge... instead of done real time while she's grabbing the fish, wrapped in Glad Family of Products, out of the GE Refrigerator to be cooked on the Sears Monogram range.

                                                                                  2. re: Gigi007

                                                                                    I agree with you (and Eric) and I think this is one time they let the overall performance get in the way of judging. Actually, I think overall should be part of the judging but supposedly it's not. Jen seemed to fail on her two dishes. I'm surprised at the blind support she got from everyone here when she really seemed to do the worst out of all 8 people.

                                                                                    Michael V. was kind of obnoxious and that bit about the money w/ his bro was weird.

                                                                                    I also thought Lorine would kill FOH but she was too stiff, just doing the basics. Eli was okay but I'm surprised no judge commented on him using "guys" all the time (not sure if this is mentioned in this thread as I'm only halfway thru >250 comments!). I think that's fairly unprofessional, esp. when he says it for like the 4th time. And what the heck was up with that outfit and them saying leaving it untucked was the way to go?

                                                                                    1. re: Joanie

                                                                                      "Eli was okay but I'm surprised no judge commented on him using "guys" all the time."
                                                                                      That's one of my biggest pet peeves when dining out. Drives me batty.

                                                                                      1. re: Joanie

                                                                                        I totally agree with your comments. Down thread see what I and someone else have to say about why Jen is still around.

                                                                                        Re: Michael V, he was super-obnoxious. I think Bryan should have slapped him! He was especially annoying when he kept patronizing Robin, tellling her to, "relax, relax". I would have told him STFU in no uncertain terms. And then maybe Robin should have spanked him.. but then he would have thought of that as kinky...LOL

                                                                                        1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                          "And then maybe Robin should have spanked him.. but then he would have thought of that as kinky...LOL"

                                                                                          Wow! Eli would be so jealous after all the flirting he did with Robin in Ep. 8.

                                                                                  3. re: rocks67

                                                                                    I believe I've said some very flattering things about Jen including:

                                                                                    "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'm still interested in checking out Jen's restaurant but I'm just not as enthused as before.

                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                PHEW!!!!!!!! *huge* relief.

                                                                                did you see the way Kevin & Jen both basically started to cry when Padma said Laurine's name? :(

                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                  I *know*. I think Laurene was genuinely liked as she seemed like a very nice person.

                                                                                  And next week's preview - Jen says it could be "any of us that go home" - are nerves, tiredness, and the competition getting to everyone?

                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                    Huge relief for Jen and Kevin, although I agree Laurene seemed like a genuinely nice person. Looks like next week might be another vegan challenge. I can see where none of them would be completely comfortable.

                                                                                    1. re: lizzy

                                                                                      No, I think the challenge is at Craft - a steakhouse. :-)

                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                        Interesting, I just assumed since Natalie Portman was part of the episode, and the reactions from the cheftestants it would be a vegan challenge. Well you know what they say when one assumes.....'-)

                                                                                        1. re: lizzy

                                                                                          Whenever they haul out some underfed 20-something actress, isn't it going to be vegetarian or vegan? Remember Zooey Deschanel during the Masters?

                                                                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                          It might be at Craft, but I'm pretty sure that Natalie Portman is at least vegetarian, if not vegan, so it may be a vegan challenge in a steakhouse.

                                                                                          1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                            She is definitely vegetarian, famously so, and has a line of vegan footwear.

                                                                                            Will be interesting. These chefs are totally up to a vegan challenge.

                                                                                            1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                              So they had the gluten & dairy-free challenge, and now they're having a vegan challenge - at a steak house. I guess that's the big twist. Ugh.

                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                Vegan is doable, but att least it's not raw. Can you imagine a raw-food challenge? I'm not even sure that stuff counts as cooked stuff.

                                                                                                1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                  RAW? they'd all just do ceviche again. . . ;-P

                                                                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                    And Tom would say "they didn't cook anything! It's a cooking show!"

                                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                      ::::snort:::: I'm very thankful it's not a raw food challenge. I don't think even the Elves would stoop so low.

                                                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                              Most steakhouses serve vegetarian and vegan dishes, too -- pastas, salads, soups, vegetables, etc. It's not all steak.

                                                                                              1. re: fdsh

                                                                                                Ummm...yeah, I'm completely aware of that. Usually the challenges have something to do with the type of restaurant they're at (seafood at Moonen's restaurant; French classic sauces at Robuchon's restaurant). Hence, my thought pattern that it would be related to beef.

                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                  Yeah, but along the vein of "many surprises" this season, wouldn't it figure that they'd make them cook vegan in a steak restaurant? Lets speculate: They'll probably set it up so that the contestants get to think they'll cook red meat, then haul out Natalie as the big SURPRISE!

                                                                                                  1. re: MartinDC

                                                                                                    Yeah, I agree. I was tired after a 75 minute episode last night and posting about until almost midnight (and then my brain wouldn't shut off when I *did* finally go to bed). That would be a major surprise - going from meat to...not. :-) And based on the previews, it seems that's exactly what they do (and exactly how the cheftestants react).

                                                                                                2. re: fdsh

                                                                                                  Vegan dishes at a steakhouse? Aside from salad, which tends to come with cheese and/or a cheesy dressing, steakhouses tend to throw cream, butter or cheese into all their side dishes. Add the smell of charred meat, and most vegans I know stay far away from them.

                                                                                                  1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                    I personally was thinking more along the lines of there being vegetarian dishes vs. vegan. But if anyone can submit a few links for vegan dishes in steakhouses, I'll believe 'em.

                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                      Vegans are very picky in where they choose to eat out--to the point of driving their omnivore friends crazy! Most avoid steakhouses and BBQ joints because a restaurant centered on meat doesn't make any sense for them. That said, I feel like TC just did a vegan challenge so I was a little bummed to see Portman. It would be one thing if there were several vegan chefs in the bunch but I don't think this kind of challenge plays to this group's talents.

                                                                                                      1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                        I agree....although was the Zoey Deschanel episode a vegan challenge? I thought it was gluten-free/dairy-free?

                                                                                                          1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                            Nope. It was worse. It was vegan (which includes dairy-free), gluten-free and soy free!

                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                              Oh man, I forgot about the soy free!

                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                So that was the vegan episode, this is the vegetarian episode, so they'll have a bit more leeway. A bit.

                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                  I feel like it may be similar to the Masters episode. Both Deschanel and Portman contributed endorsements to the Babycakes cookbook, which is vegan, gluten- and sugar-free. I'm not sure Portman eats anything!

                                                                                                          2. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                            Also, the challenges seem to be designed to NOT play to the chefs' talents. That's what makes them challenging and good TV. They don't normally cook on campgrounds, in a military kitchen with canned goods, with pre-made snack foods, with ingredients they had 15 minutes to shop for at Whole Foods, etc. So really most of the challenges don't play to their talents. Besides, every other episode of all previous seasons of Top Chef and Top Chef Masters besides the Zooey Deschanel episode of TCM have not required vegan food, so I don't think one more is overkill.

                                                                                                        1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                          "Add the smell of charred meat, and most vegans I know stay far away from them."
                                                                                                          ~~~~~~~
                                                                                                          so true. back in my vegetarian days, the smell of any flesh cooking made me want to hurl...dining in a steakhouse was hardly appealing.

                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                            My Ex-husband is a vegetarian (thankfully post divorce) and for several years his daughter worked at Flemings and was always wanting him to come in, but just the smell of meat cooking like that makes him queasy.

                                                                                                            The one exception is bacon. He still loves the smell of bacon cooking and it's the only meat that is a temptation for him.

                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                              I was vegetarian for a long, long time and vegan for part of it. Ironically, the few times I visited a place like a steakhouse, I found them to be remarkably amenable to my requests. One I visited for a fancy Christmas dinner even had a standard vegan dish (a truly delicious vegetable brochette and bread pudding combo) always at the ready. My omnivore friends at the table were very jealous, in fact!

                                                                                                              I would love to see what Pork Boy Kevin might come up with for a vegan challenge.

                                                                                                            2. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                              Yes, but sometimes your omni friends or family want to go to a meat-centric place and you have to make do. Perhaps this challenge is partially about coming up with a good veggie option on Craftsteak's menu.

                                                                                                        2. re: lizzy

                                                                                                          The preview showed Natalie Portman describing something as "disgusting" Somehow I had the feeling that it was meat that slipped in, or a meat broth, or the smell of meat, or something...

                                                                                                          True vegetarians/vegans can be very discerning. My husband was raised vegetarian, and never ate meat until he was an adult....and still doesn't like much meat...although he'll eat it. He can still tell if I've eaten beef in the last few days simply by kissing me...so his sense of "beef smell" is very adept.....this could be the case with Portman as well....

                                                                                                          1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                            or it could just be that someone puts out another dish bearing a striking resemblance to cat food...

                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                              Haha, that's a good one. Somewhere on CH there's a thread about people serving cat food as pate.

                                                                                                          2. re: lizzy

                                                                                                            Looks like the episode is entitled "Meat Natalie". So it could very well be a "meat" challenge. Or a low-budget porno.

                                                                                                            1. re: ktb615

                                                                                                              Except I think she's a vegan, so... I'm thinking fake meat.

                                                                                                              1. re: ktb615

                                                                                                                Brings another meaning to the term "food porn".

                                                                                                                1. re: Reignking

                                                                                                                  The bearded one's contribution could be "Porking Kevin."

                                                                                                          3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                            They both realized it should have been one of them. As much as I like Jen, she should have been sent home tonight. She screwed up both dishes, especially the trout. I think her past performances saved her.

                                                                                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                              As much as they claim to only judge on the current performance...eh, I don't really believe it. I think you're right, Jen's past performance eeked her through tonight. But frankly, I'm glad it did, and I wouldn't really have a problem if they openly admitted that. I don't think it makes the show more or less fair, just a different standard (and it would be better for me nerves, damn!)

                                                                                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                I agree. The judges broke what I think was their own rule--which was not to factor in past performances. As much as Laurine didn't do a great job as FOH, I think the seriously bad dishes by Jen and Kevin too were worse offenses.

                                                                                                                1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                  Maybe they can't look back. But can they look forward? Perhaps the producers would like to ramp up the finale by having the four top performers compete. To me, that's Jen, Kevin and the V-bros.

                                                                                                                  1. re: MartinDC

                                                                                                                    I've always thought of Jen, Kevin and the V. brothers as the top four too, but speaking strictly of this particular episode I still think the judges' excuses about Laurine were a bit much. Personally, I feel that it was a total team failure. Although Mike I's dish was OK, it wasn't outstanding, and couldn't he have helped Jen or Laurine out? I dunno. Just my impression.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                      Great point about Mike I. He did two apps at the beginning of service, what did he do the rest of the service. Why didn't he expidite( and catch the undercooked lamb) or cook the lamb himself or make dessert. Screw the comment cards, he should have sat on the judge's table to make sure they got the best the kitchen could produce,

                                                                                                                      1. re: stuartlafonda

                                                                                                                        Yeah, as a team member, it seemed that he did the least. I would also have liked to have seen the judges take into account team work since one of them (Tom, I think?) mentioned leadership as lacking (in reference to Laurine and/or maybe Jen?) I can't recall. In any event, one of the reasons that the winning team won was because their team work was better (even though I could have done without Michael V.'s obnoxiousness and the exchange with Robin).

                                                                                                                  2. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                    The judges are only human and have subjective biases. But I don't think this was an exception to the rule. They do it all the time--being influenced by past performance--but it's not about Jen, it's about Laurine. Laurine made "cat food" rillette the challenge before. But they let Ash go instead for his clammy pork because the episode right before he'd landed in the bottom 3 for doing nothing while likening his partner Michael to Picasso. During the French challenge, Mattin should've gone for his bad veloute but it took the camping elimination right afterwards to eliminate him for his bad ceviche. In the episode, Robin's shrimp tasted like chlorine, so she arguably should have gone. But the judges are always catching up, like the Oscars. Ron also left after he'd been in the bottom 3 twice in a row. I guess Robin's just lucky she's only in the bottom 3 every other time.

                                                                                                                    1. re: traceybell

                                                                                                                      This is my first season watching the show (and I haven't caught all the episodes), but I've heard from other long-time watchers that judges have been known to evaluate cheftestants based on past challenges and not just the current one, And sure the judges are human, but IMHO, the excuses they gave for booting Laurine just don't cut it with me. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Jen's performance last night was awful. It seems they want to keep her around for the final 4, and I see that as TV and ratings.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                        I've heard from other long-time watchers that judges have been known to evaluate cheftestants based on past challenges
                                                                                                                        ***
                                                                                                                        There's no proof...the judges do what they do and you see what you see (which is what the producers want us to see)....maybe they suck at editing...maybe they want us to disagree with the judges...controversy is good, no?

                                                                                                                        1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                          Suspense makes for good TV. WIth the Stephanie/Richard/Lisa finale, they made it seem like Lisa was a close second but from the blogs, it sounded like she was a close second only in her head. All reality shows do it--"the toughest decision yet" or the Bachelor/ette's "I'm not sure who I'm going to pick, I love them both!" Yeah, right. We kow that 1) from the editing, it looked like Jen should go and 2) from the blogs, it wasn't. But, almost everything we say here is speculation, manipulated by the editors/prducers.

                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                            Think compared to other judged reality TV like American Idol, except AI we all hear the same 5 min song as the judges. Here we only get to see flashes of food, hours of judging distilled into minutes, a few soundbites, some perhaps ADR planted.

                                                                                                                            Everyone weighs differently which narration is more trustworthy, which more credible. I know the editors and producers POV is intended to squeeze drama, extended storylines, and deliver ratings from the audience . This is not a neutral documentary, educational or the news where accuracy and completeness are high priorities . And the judges and contestants blogs and interviews can be self serving, in selling themselves with their personal POV and peeves.

                                                                                                                            For me, I'm really into TC so I read and watch everything TC on the web to detective out a more complete extended story. I consider the experienced judges via their blogs, which is their own complete words, as the most credible and complete truth of the matter I have available. Whatever, it's reality tv, not reality, it's all in fun.

                                                                                                                          2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                            Eric, again, you make a good point. A friend of mine who's a lawyer (I think you may be too) and long-time watcher of the show is one of the people who happens to think that the judges have been making cumulative assessments for some time. She is also of the opinion that much depends on Tom C.'s preferences.

                                                                                                                            Ad you're right, we only see what they want us to see. That's the thing about "reality TV". It's largely the producers' and editors' reality. And they definitely spun this last episode to justify the judges' decision about which cheftestant had the worst performance. I've already said what I think about that, and we seem to be in agreement.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                              I did not feel they spun last week's episode to justify the judges' decisions but rather to make us wonder if one of our favorites would go home. I'm still not sure why folks are so adamant on this. They both messed up terribly. Jen did some things well. Laurine did nothing well. Based on what we saw, either could have been sent packing. And I'm not sure that being a lawyer would give one anymore insight into the judges seen and unseen deliberations.

                                                                                                                              1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                For whatever reason the producers and editors spun the show (and actually it is their job to do so), my point is that we aren't seeing all the footage--only what they want us to see (drama, certain comments, flattering or less-than-flattering sides of the cheftestants' personalities and behavior, etc.). In fact, as someone else on this thread has already said TC isn't a documentary. As for both Laurine and Jen messing up, I think it's a question of what you feel is worse. IMHO (and apparently in the minds of others too), the dishes Jen prepared and her timing issues were worse than Laurine's not handling FOH as well as she could have.

                                                                                                                                P.S. I mentioned that my friend, a long-time watcher of TC, is a lawyer as my comments were directed at Ericandblueboy, who I believe is one as well. In any case, his arguments resonate with me as lawyer like.

                                                                                                                          3. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                            The judges claim that past performances do not affect their decisions and I believe them. There have been very strong cheftestants that get sent home on the basis of a poor performance, Tre for example.

                                                                                                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                              And, last season, they had Hosea and Carla in the final three, neither of whom did well in the beginning. I'm stil unhappy about Hosea winning it last season. And, RW seems to have done it in for quite a few good chefs in the past. From the way she acted, Jen knew she was likely to go and skirted it.

                                                                                                                              1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                I haven't seen past seasons of the show, so I can't comment on that. But based on what I saw in this most recent episode I have no doubt whatsoeever that the judges factored in past performances in their decision. Even Jen herself behaved as if she should have gone home, but then again in recent episodes, she's been showing (or has been portrayed) as severely lacking in confidence.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                                  Jen made one bad dish and one good dish. Laurine did a bad job at FOH and "her" dish was mediocre to bad. I think the right person went home.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                    I think we'lll have to agree to disagree on whose performance was worse. As for Jen's two dishes, maybe I missed something, but I don't think she had a "good" dish. If you mean the halibut, I recall the judges saying it was good, but together with the sauce and the shellfish, it didn't work or come together. I also recall Tom C. noting Jen's lack of effective leadership, and because she was supposed to be her team's leader, I considered that in my assessment of her performance as well.

                                                                                                                                    In any event, because I had always seen Jen as a strong contender and generally competent chef, I didn't want to see her sent home. But strictly on the merits, I feel that her performance in this particular episode was worse than Laurine's. Even Jen herself seemed to believe that she was going home because of her poor performance.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                                      Yup we'll have to agree to disagree but at Judge's Table Rick Moonen said. "I think you cooked the halibut perfectly it was glistening in the middle and I enjoyed the flavor of the broth." Toby thought the broth and fish "nullified each other."

                                                                                                                                      ETA: From Colicchio's blog
                                                                                                                                      Laurine’s lamb was the worst dish of the night by far, and she gave us all terribly inattentive service. So – it’s a simple math problem. Laurine had two strikes against her, versus Jen and Kevin’s one strike each and Michael I.’s no discernable strikes. Laurine’s performance contributed the most to the overall failure of the restaurant, to our overall poor experience there, and so it was she whom we asked to leave.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                        I know what Tom wrote but did they not realize that Laurine was caught beween a rock and a hard place? She didn't cook the lamb so blaming that on her is absurd. You can blame her for serving the lamb even though it's too rare, but if she were to ask Kevin to refire the lamb, she would get hammered for not being able to bring the food out. She's in a no win situation. That and overlooking the bad mussels made me think they "rationalized" their decision.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                          The food was late already. It might as well be cooked properly.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                            I think we saw her discussing the lamb much earlier in the night. The judges were the second sitting, so if she had addressed the lamb the first sitting, those dishes would have been out much later but the only difference with the second sitting would have been the extra time it took to cook the lamb properly.

                                                                                                                                            I didn't think Jen was a leader and that's where the team failed. No one was the executive chef in that situation and they really needed one.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                              It was her choice that her dish was to be cooked by someone else -- she could have chosen something else that only had to be plated (as I pointed out elsewhere, as a caterer she should have at least one dessert up her sleeve that she could have made well in advance of service). It was a choice Colicchio questioned from the start, and she assured him that if it wasn't cooked right it wouldn't leave the kitchen. So she was aware it might be a problem, had a plan for dealing with the problem, and then failed at that as well.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                              Sorry, but Tom's "simple math problem" argument doesn't hold water with me. Again in my opinion, it goes back to the food, and Jen's and Kevin's poor showings speak for themselves. And I also agree with Eric that the judges were making excuses and rationalizing their decision.

                                                                                                                                              Furthermore, I find it disingenuous on Tom's part to cite Laurine's performance as contributing most to the overall failure of the restaurant, especially as he also specifically mentioned Jen's poor leadership (albeit I felt he wasn't tough enough in his commentary) in addition to at least one badly prepared dish. I'd say that if it were only a question of simple math, then Jen should also have been given two strikes for her two failings.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                                      Laurine's dish sucked; she said if it sucked, she'd send it back. She didn't. She had two sucky dishes prior - the pasta salad that most of us laughed at and the pork rillette that got called cat food. She sucked at FOH - the judges had to ASK her to come back to explain the dishes. Jen may have sucked too, but don't tell me that you can be SURE that Jen deserved to go home versus Laurine. Why exactly doesn't the logic cut it with you.. Tom's extensive experience with judging and this competition somehow just isn't up to snuff with you?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: grant.cook

                                                                                                                                        She was also asked by Tom how she was going to judge the quality of her dish and she said she'd be careful to check it before sending it out. Why pick a dish like lamb that depended on someone else cooking it properly? It's so much harder than something like a braised meat where you have more control. She picked a poor dish to do as her signature.

                                                                                                                                        Given that they have sent better chefs packing with bad performance in challenges, I'm not convinced that they'd bend the rules for Jen. Let's be honest--Hosea won last season. That should be convincing that it's not about being the better chef.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                          Why pick a dish like lamb that depended on someone else cooking it properly?
                                                                                                                                          ~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                          Yes, I totally agree. This is also part of how I think Laurine failed. I believe when Padma described the EC to the cheftestants she said the person who was in the FOH was "responsible" for 1 dish, and I am almost 100% certain she used the word responsible. It was Laurine's choice to have Kevin cook the lamb. She could have conceptualized and executed a dish on her own without any help from anyone else on her team, but she didn't. So regardless of whether Kevin cooked the dish, she was on the hook for the lamb.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                            And that's exactly why the FOH person was given a dish to cook. So he/she couldn't hide in the front and just shmooze. Laurine didn't do well in the FOH and her dish was the worst of the night according to the judges.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                              I'm just sorry it took them 6 seasons to make it mandatory for the FOH person to create a dish.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: grant.cook

                                                                                                                                          Yes, both Laurine's and Jen's performances sucked. Regarding who deserved to go home, that's a matter of opinion, not logic.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                                            I don't know why anyone would characterize Jen's performance as sucking. She cooked her halibut "perfectly" in the words of Rick Moonen.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                              Yes, Jen cooked the halibut perfectly while Laurine did nothing right, including picking the lamb dish that Kevin had to cook.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                Yes, but she served a dish with a broken sauce and it sounds like her shellfish weren't cooked through. She definitely was on the go-home bubble with Laurine.. Maybe sucking wasn't the best description, but she stumbled, and if she stumbles again, that becomes a trajectory. Going into the final few episodes, you want to be firing on all cylinders.. Carla last season seemed to get better in this time frame.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: grant.cook

                                                                                                                                                  We agree on this point. Several people have said that Jen had one good dish and one failure. I say that because the sauce was broken and the under-cooked shellfish, neither dish was good. And as I've said before, having seen Jen perform so capably in the past, I expected better from her.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                                                    I must have missed the part where anyone complained that the shellfish was undercooked. I know there was a complaint by a diner that the shellfish was "fishy" and that the dish took too long to come out but who complained it was undercooked?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                      Tom Colicchio did complain about the shellfish, it's referenced in his blog but he toned it down. All of this has already been discussed.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                        I've gone back and watched the comments during the meal and at judge's table and there was no mention of undercooked shellfish and I've re-read the blog. Unless I'm missing something no one mentioned undercooked shellfish during the show. Please tell me who complained about undercooked shellfish. Just because it "has been discussed" doesn't make it accurate.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                          From Tom's Blog: "Jennifer could have gone home for making the mistake of choosing to steam the clams and mussels to order"

                                                                                                                                                          The keywords are "making the mistake." That's a part of the halibut dish. It's accurate. What I don't know is what you're watching.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                            Cooking the clams and mussels to order delayed the dish. Maybe you don't understand the difference between undercooking and having the customer wait on a dish but I do.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                              You don't know what you're talking about. This has been discussed. She screwed up the shellfish. I pointed you to the blog and yet you're still in denial. Unfortunately I don't have the show on my DVR anymore and I'm tired to proving people wrong. BTW, I'm going to Ko on Thurs night. I'm bring a Nikon D60 with flash, a FLIP and maybe another camera. I'll be cussing up a storm with David Chang. Maybe you ought to bring a tape recorder.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                If you you can cite any place where "undercooked" was mentioned in context of Jen's shellfish on the show or in a blog. The only place this happened was on this thread. I'm not tired of proving you wrong because it's not very hard.

                                                                                                                                                                You'll have a better chance of seeing Chang at the Momofuku Office then at Ko. I see him there constantly.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                  If you you can cite any place where "undercooked" was mentioned in context of Jen's shellfish on the show or in a blog. The only place this happened was on this thread. I'm not tired of proving you wrong because it's not very hard.
                                                                                                                                                                  ***
                                                                                                                                                                  Well there must be some mass hallucination going on if a bunch of us heard the critique.

                                                                                                                                                                  Ok, so you're best buds with David Chang, tell him that Wu's Garden sucks.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                    There will be many more showings of this episode. DVR it and prove me wrong. I'll bet you can't.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                      No need to dvr it, there are clips on Youtube. At the Judge's Table Tom Colicchio states that he can't believe she (Jen) "was steaming mussels and clams to order" then Rick Moonen follows by saying "Out of her mind ... that's why the mussels were undercooked".

                                                                                                                                                                      [edit] i just saw on another post that we can show links - i hope this is is ok (and works) - this is the last ten or so minutes to S6 E9 where they talk about the losing dishes - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvMLd3...

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: blackoak

                                                                                                                                                                        You are absolutely right. I missed that segment on the multiple times I flipped through the episode. Thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                          Perhaps it was one of the 75-minute episodes that you saw a shorter 60-minute version of (not sure if they did that this week).

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: blackoak

                                                                                                                                                                          I couldn't remember which judge made the statement., but thanks to your post there should be no doubt that the mussels were undercooked and that the dish as a whole didn't work.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                              I do recall someone mentioning that the shellfish was underdone.

                                                                                                                                                              When they realized Jen cooked the shellfish to order - Tom I think says "That explains why it was under-done"

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                Moonen said it. Blackoak provided a clip.

                                                                                                                                        3. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                          Jen's halibut was cooked perfectly or nearly perfectly and her sauce, while not actually a consomme, was good. the dish didn't come together, but it wasn't a disaster. there was nothing about Laurine's night that wasn't a disaster however. I think it was the right choice based on their comments just while eating.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                        I like how quick they are this year.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                          Hmmm... interesting that Tom doesn't address Jennifer's broken sauce and that awful trout dish.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                            He doesn't but also explains why she stayed - they liked her halibut, just as they liked Kevin's pork dish.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                              I really felt they were reaching to find reasons to send Laurine home because they couldn't get rid of Jen at this stage. He talks about Laurine's lamb dish. She may have conceived it and have done the prep. But wasn't Kevin the one who actually cooked it and cooked it too rare?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                I think so too. In Tom's blog he even goes as far as to say that the judges had the impression that Laurine was ready to go home. Please.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                    You mean Tom is making excuses about cutting Laurine ?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                                                      You mean Tom is making excuses about cutting Laurine ?
                                                                                                                                                      ***
                                                                                                                                                      Yes.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                  Yes, but as I said to Eric upthread, Laurine had also said she would send the lamb back if it wasn't to her liking - she wouldn't serve it. She told Colicchio that. But she didn't do that....she served it. You could SEE the lamb was way too rare on TV...how could Laurine have missed it? She even said it was more rare than she would like herself when questioned about it at JT.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                    I can understand why you would feel that way. But deep in my gut, I know Laurine shouldn't have been sent home based on tonight's performance. I felt that the judges already pre-picked who they wanted to send home and tried to find excuses to send her home and have Jen stay. This is the first time in Top Chef history that I ever felt this way. And I have a feeling that Jen is feeling really guilty over the decision. Of course, I could be wrong as we are only shown snippets of what really happened. But based on Tom's blog, I think he's skirting the issue.

                                                                                                                                                    ETA: I should clarify and say that the judges already pre-picked who they wanted to stay, and tried to find excuses to kick out Laurine.

                                                                                                                                                    ETA #2: Thinking about it some more, I take back about what I said about this being the first time in Top Chef history that they didn't send the worst performer home. In Season #2 Restaurant Wars, I think Sam should have been sent home for that disgusting watermelon and gnocchi dish instead of Midgely.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                      Perhaps. But if you're looking at no strikes (Mike I.), 1 strike (Kevin and Jen) and 2 strikes (Laurine), it would be Laurine to go.

                                                                                                                                                      And without hearing a full 3 hour JT discussion, we'll never know. Again, I'm just going to have to go on the desire and hope that what Tom Colicchio has said in the past is true - they judge on each competition. Again, it's his and Moonen's reputations on the line here as well. Why would they screw around with that just for a TV show?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                        I don't think they consciously say, "Oh, we can't get rid of Jen so we'll try to come up with reasons to get rid of Laurine." They try not to be biased, but I think it's harder than it seems.

                                                                                                                                                        And I think Jen has more than one strike.

                                                                                                                                                        Strike #1: undercooking the mussels
                                                                                                                                                        Strike #2: screwing up the trout dish with the broken butter sauce -- I think Colicchio implied it was the worst dish of the evening
                                                                                                                                                        Strike #3: even though she wasn't appointed leader, it seemed that from Tom's blog that she was the leader and wasn't assertive enough
                                                                                                                                                        Strike #4: her menu was too ambitious for the time constraints they had -- eg. steaming mussels to order; While admirable, a good chef has to know what his or her limits are

                                                                                                                                                        Plus #1: they liked her halibut

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                          another strike, how did Jen describe black cod as trout when she picked the fish in QF?

                                                                                                                                                          to Linda:
                                                                                                                                                          The reputation of Tom and Rick being on the line is pure B.S. imo. You really would go to their restaurant or not go based on your perception of their fairness on top chef? Have you been to either one? Are you making plans to go to either one?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                            I think public perception and professional perception can be two separate things.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                              I noticed that she got it right at the very beginning, when she was pulling the ingredients out of the fridge-she knew immediately it was black cod/aka sablefish. I think she just spaced out for a second in front of Moonen.

                                                                                                                                                              PS- challenging whether someone has been to the judges restaurants, or is planning to go is pretty snarky. Someone's ability to go (financial, geographical, etc.) has no bearing on whether their opinion of the show/the judges is valid or if they know good food.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: QSheba

                                                                                                                                                                PS- challenging whether someone has been to the judges restaurants, or is planning to go is pretty snarky. Someone's ability to go (financial, geographical, etc.) has no bearing on whether their opinion of the show/the judges is valid or if they know good food.
                                                                                                                                                                ****
                                                                                                                                                                If you have't tasted the food, how do you have a valid opinion?

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                Eric you obviously have a major chip on your shoulder regarding whether Tom is telling the truth in his blogs. I choose to believe he is telling his readers the truth about what their decision was; you obviously do not.

                                                                                                                                                                Unless either of us sits with the judges during the long discussion period of JT, *neither* of us will know what is true or not. So you go ahead and believe Tom is lying; I choose not to.

                                                                                                                                                              3. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                In the end, this kind of debate is sort of useles..but I'll engage in it anyway

                                                                                                                                                                First, the end state is that EVERYONE except one person packs up their knives. So whether Laurine went home tonight or in two weeks, the end result is the same.. the judges don't have to beat themselves up too much about sending home someone who pretty likely wouldn't survive until the top 5 or so.. it was just a matter of timing.

                                                                                                                                                                In the early stages, you get very little slack because you are an unknown. As you build a record, of COURSE the judges should factor that in a bit, just as if you've sort of flown in the middle and never stood out. If you've shined, you sort of get one "benefit of a doubt" moment.. and Jen just burned hers. Laurine, if she had a benefit of a doubt chit, burned it a few weeks back with a pasta salad.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: grant.cook

                                                                                                                                                                  Not to mention they would have loved to send her home for the "catfood" last week!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: grant.cook

                                                                                                                                                                    If that's the case, why have a competition? Why don't you just take the top 4 (Bryan, Michael V, Jen and Kevin) and just have them duke it out in the finale? Competition is unpredictable. I don't believe the top contenders all make it to the finale. Season 1: Dave should not have made it (and I say that because I've actually had his food), and even Tom C went on record to say that he was surprised that Dave made it to the final 3. Season 2: While Elia made it to the Top 4, she was clearly a better chef than Ilan who made it to the Top 2 (he even admitted it in the finale). Season 3: Tre got kicked out too early and should have been in the finale. Season 4: Believe Richard Blais should have won the entire thing. And Lisa? Come on -- there were much better chefs out there! I think even Jen Biestly (who got kicked really early) would have been a worthy contender for the Final 4. And Dale was definitely a better chef than Lisa. Season 5: Well, we all know how most people feel about Hosea winning the entire thing. But I think Jamie or Jeff could have made it to the finale as well. Jamie lost replicating somebody else's dish -- a dish that was so far away from her own style. Jeff lost during that ridiculous Top Chef all-star challenge. It wasn't really fair how that challenge was designed as the worst chef of that group didn't necessarily go home.

                                                                                                                                                                    So while I'm pretty sure that Laurine wouldn't have won the whole thing, we really don't know if she wouldn't have made it to the Top 4. Stranger things have happened. I believe Robin should have been eliminated weeks ago. But she's still plugging away in the competition.

                                                                                                                                                                    Top Chef isn't a show where the best chef wins the entire competition. And it isn't a show where the worst chef gets cut each week. The worst performer of that particular episode gets cut. Jen was the leader of that team -- didn't do a good job planning out the logistics of the menu, undercooked the mussels, screwed up the trout (they said it was not very flavorful) and screwed up the sauce. And while Jen is light years ahead of Laurine in terms of cooking chops, her performance was the worst of the evening. I totally acknowledge that Laurine's performance wasn't too hot as well. But I think the main reason why that team lost was because of food, not FOH (different from Season 5 where they liked the food but didn't like FOH).

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                      Well, I think that the ultimate problem with Top Chef is that none of us watching the show got to taste the food, only the judges and the lucky restaurant goers that night did. So we can say all we want that one person deserved to go home over someone else, but since none of us actually tasted the food, and only saw the edited reactions to the food, we don't really know. I'm not sure how anyone who just watched the show thinks that they can definitively say who should or should not have gone home, or who should or should not have won.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                                                                                        You're definitely correct about us not tasting the food and us not being there. Unless you're there, it's hard to say who really deserves the win and who deserves to go home. And it seems the judges are in disagreement all the time! The reason I came to my conclusion about me disagreeing with the judge's decision was not solely based on the episode but after reading Tom's blog. Things do not add up in his blog. I know a lot of you think that his blog answered your questions. For me, it actually raised many.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                        "Top Chef isn't a show where the best chef wins the entire competition. And it isn't a show where the worst chef gets cut each week. The worst performer of that particular episode gets cut. Jen was the leader of that team -- didn't do a good job planning out the logistics of the menu, undercooked the mussels, screwed up the trout (they said it was not very flavorful) and screwed up the sauce. And while Jen is light years ahead of Laurine in terms of cooking chops, her performance was the worst of the evening. I totally acknowledge that Laurine's performance wasn't too hot as well."

                                                                                                                                                                        ***
                                                                                                                                                                        Well said, I completely agree. th wost performance of the episode was Jen's. Laurine's wasn't good either, but iMHO, it wasn't as bad as Jen's.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                  While I can kind of understand why you feel this way, I have to disagree.

                                                                                                                                                                  First, we saw Laurine was missing from both the kitchen and the FOH during the episode. Her own teammates were not happy that they did not know where the judges were in service, and how things were going out front. The judges seemed to think she was MIA.

                                                                                                                                                                  The judges also had to pull her back to get her to explain their dishes to them. In other words, they had to ask her to do her job.

                                                                                                                                                                  Laurine told Tom point blank, she would send her lamb or anything else that was not prepared up to her standards back to the kitchen. She did not follow through on her promise. Also, the judges seemed that they could take or leave the rest of what was on the plate.

                                                                                                                                                                  Maybe, and this is just my opinion, it seems like Laurine was an easy target because we never expected that much out of her in the first place. Kevin and Jen fell hard, but they had a much longer fall.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                    Kevin has cooked meat brilliantly up to this point. I think Laurine second guessed herself.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                      Jumping in at the end of this subthread to mark my surprise at what might be a partial agreement with EricandBlueboy. Note might. The overall dismissal of Jen's apparent chops notwithstanding (really, I can't believe anyone is doubting her ability here but this would be in keeping with a certain tendency I've noticed in this hound's criticisms), I do wonder if the judges struggled to find a legitimate justification to pick Laurine. It was legitimate, and I have no quarrel with them, but Jen was making some questionable decisions.

                                                                                                                                                                      That said, it looks like she managed one dish and just cocked up the other. Much as Kevin did. Perhaps the success with one reflected better than an overall disappointing show by Laurine? One could argue that Mike I's wasn't stellar, but it wasn't impeding enjoyment in the way that a distance from both FOH and BOH did,

                                                                                                                                                                      I have yet to read Tom's entry, but I don't so much claim that he is lying as that he is still working to justify his decisions and catch criticisms that come his way. What he writes is true to him, so truth/lies isn't really the best way to approach that one.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                      I totally agree with you that Laurine screwed up that evening. But I'm still adamant that her performance wasn't the worst of the evening. The main reason they lost was because of the food, not service. And while the FOH duties contribute to bad food being sent out, it was Jen by herself who ultimately undercooked the mussels and broke the butter sauce. And if Jen (who was the team leader) planned better, she wouldn't have arranged it so that she cooked the 2 seafood dishes for the second course while Kevin cooked the 2 meat dishes for the third course. And she should have known better than to steam the shellfish to order. While admirable, it wouldn't have worked considering the circumstances.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                        Her performance may not have been the worst, but that's a fine point - and one that's very debatable - there's not enough there to be adamant about. She didn't insulate herself by doing SOMETHING well - Kevin had one sharp dish, Mike a couple of decent ones - and she had a history with some black marks (aka pasta salad). And this episode they made it a point to tell the FOH person they were responsible for a dish - and she made a point of saying she'd send it back if it wasn't right. Toby made a good point in that she didn't even ask the table if they wanted the lamb - her dish - rare. Whereas they knew Jen was busting tail in the back prepping two seafood dishes. So Laurine did simple things badly, and Jen did tough things badly. So time for Laurine to go.. and for Jen to sort of lose her "she's always done so well.." benefit of a doubt..

                                                                                                                                                                        And steaming to order might be tough in a chaotic restaurant environment - but it was an attempt to do something a notch above. In some food environments, you need to insist something is steamed to order - e.g. crabs. Not sure about shellfish as much, but I assume Jen knows more about that protein than most of us.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: grant.cook

                                                                                                                                                                          Well, we're going to just have to agree to disagree. I believe that Kevin and Mike shouldn't have been in consideration at all to be eliminated based on what happened during Restaurant Wars. Laurine didn't do anything well, but neither did Jen. While Jen did tough things badly and Laurine did simple things badly, the overall result was (at least to me) that Jen's bad things contributed more to the detriment of the team than Laurine's. It may not seem fair, but the nature of this competition isn't always fair. I think that's how some competitors managed to squeak by because other competitors took greater risks. Sometimes the risks pay off and sometimes they don't.

                                                                                                                                                                          And I don't think this is the first time in the competition Jen screwed up. She overcooked the pork in one quickfire and I believe she screwed up another dish -- but I just can't remember what it is.

                                                                                                                                                                          And as I said before numerous times, I admire Jen for attempting to steam shellfish to order. But both Tom and Rick Moonen thought it was crazy -- and I think they've got more experience than Jen does with this.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                            At La Bernardin, you get lots of things done to order.. if they hadn't gotten into the weeds, it would have been a bonus to her.. but strategically, perhaps a lay-up with pre-cooking the shellfish would have been better risk management.... they didn't think it was bad-chef crazy, they thought it was "you don't have the time to do this" crazy

                                                                                                                                                                            And yes, Jen had made some mistakes at Quickfire's, but nothing that was a disaster.. and she also has earned numerous moments of praise. But I'll tell you what Jen didn't have - Jen didn't have her partner, in a 2-person team competition, sent home for having the worst dish - aka Preeti and the Pasta Salad. She also didn't stand in front of Charlie Palmer the week before and have him basically tell her she didn't know what the heck she was talking about - aka the Pork Rillette.. so even if Jen and Laurine are close, even if Laurine has a bit of an edge for that evening, I'd not fault the judges for deciding in Jen's favor. Its only in the absolute beginning and the absolute end episode where the judges only go by what's on the plate at that moment..

                                                                                                                                                                            The judges take their work seriously... they are sitting at judges table sometimes for hours, late at night. I don't mind if they factor a bit of prior performance in, as long as this week's performance hurts competitors going forward, and I am sure this will hurt Jen's image a bit..

                                                                                                                                                                            And per your last comment, if you want to give Tom and Rick the benefit of a doubt because they have more experience than us, then give it to them on more than just one point - they decided to send Laurine home using that same experience..

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: grant.cook

                                                                                                                                                                              At Le Bernardin, you've got sous chefs and line cooks helping you cook your seafood to order. Jen was the only one doing the seafood dishes. That was her error for failing to recognize that this would have been impossible to do given the parameters of this challenge. And I think it would have been impossible to execute as it was structured that she would be responsible for both dishes of the second course, even if they weren't in the weeds. A more prudent decision would have been that both Kevin and Jen would take responsibility for each dish of the second and third course instead of having Jen do the entire second course and Kevin doing the entire third course. Very poor planning.

                                                                                                                                                                              You don't have to convince me that Laurine's the weaker chef. There's no doubt in my mind that Jen's the superior chef between the two. But I hear time and time again that this is a competition and it's like the superbowl. The better team (or chef) of that night is chosen the winner and the worst one goes home. So I do have a problem with the judges sending Laurine home for Restaurant Wars, even if Jen is the superior chef. I believe if you had a judging team who didn't know these two chefs' backgrounds and histories, Jen would have been packing her bags. I wouldn't have a problem with it if they openly acknowledged that they take past performances into account. But the judges are the ones who keep stating that it's based on the performance of that particular episode.

                                                                                                                                                                              And as I noted elsewhere in this thread, I don't believe this is the first time something like this has happened. While the judges try to be impartial as possible, it is human to let our emotions get in the way. The strongest case I have is Season 1, Episode 1. Everybody (me included) was happy that Ken was sent home. But I really believe that Andrea should have gotten the boot.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                I don't think they do state that formally.. you get nebulous comments like "anyone could go home this week" but I think of it like MLB or the NFL - you've got a regular season and the playoffs.. you can take a few losses in the regular season. Is it a formal thing - no, it could never be..and its probably subtle in this case, two people did badly, Jen just took a loss - if she had botched cooking the halibut as well, she'd be gone; Laurine already had a few "losses" under her belt. Once in the playoffs, its single elimination. I think the playoffs sort of start with the top 5-6... everyone at that point has shined, done something really well..

                                                                                                                                                                                In this case, I can't say for sure whether Laurine or Jen should have gone home - what I can say is that no one else can say for sure either.. this wasn't one of those situations where the replay shows that the call was a travesty. It was a close call, and sometimes you just let the refs decide.. if they factored in a bit of prior performance, well, as long as they can sleep at night, its fine with me..

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: grant.cook

                                                                                                                                                                                  "I don't think they do state that formally.. "
                                                                                                                                                                                  ~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes it is stated formally and unequivocally: no consideration of prior performance is given when making their decisions about who should pack their knives. The decision is based solely on the cheftestants' performance in that specific elimination challenge. Tom has addressed this point repeatedly over the years in his blog on the Bravo Top Chef site.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Even so the judges are human. It would be nearly impossible for their feelings about a chef's performance not to be shaded by their prior experience with that chef. I believe that on a conscious level Tom is truthful when he says his votes are based on the elimination challenge alone. Unconsciously he may have awarded a larger strike to her undercooked lamb than to Jennifer's undercooked mussels.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kmcarr

                                                                                                                                                                                    I think it was shown (and backed up in Tom's blog this week) that they liked the halibut and sauce in Jen's dish despite the problems with the shellfish, and this balanced somewhat the bad trout dish, while Laurine's bad FOH performance and not taking control of the lamb as she stated she would together were worse. That said, when I was watching, I thought it seemed like they thought Jen's performance on her dishes was worse.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kmcarr

                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, that's my take on it as well. I don't think the decision was made consciously. It is really difficult to be totally impartial. I understand that the judges don't converse with the contestants so they will be unbiased (well, as much as they can) when they judge the challenges. But it's hard not to take Jen's great history and background into account.

                                                                                                                                                                                      If I just saw the show alone, I think the decision could have gone either way with Laurine and Jen. But it really wasn't until I read Tom's blog where I felt that it should have been Jen. Tom boils it down to "a simple math problem" with Laurine receiving two strikes (bad lamb dish -- one that she didn't even cook, and the FOH) while Jen only received one (steaming the shellfish to order). Tom left out the crucial terrible trout and broken butter sauce. And he also mentions Jen's ineffective leadership -- something which was also omitted from the strikes.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                        Other things that may have factored in to the "strikes" were the comment cards. Say, for example, that although the plate of trout the judges got was "terrible" the comment cards indicated that was a fluke and the other servings were executed well and well-liked. The comment cards may also have been very critical of Laurine at the front of the house -- imagine if the judges were unhappy with the treatment they got from her how the poorly the regular customers must have been treated! Finally, she explicitly told Tom that if Kevin didn't prepare her lamb dish correctly it wouldn't leave the kitchen, but when the time came she served it -- that in itself may have been enough to send her home. If the portions the other guest got were as underdone as the ones we saw, the customers may very well have ranked the lamb dish last out of all the dishes on the comment cards.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: kmcarr

                                                                                                                                                                                        Well said.I had made the same point somewhere else in this thread. There is no doubt in my mind that prior performance was a big factor in the decision in who the judges sent home in this particular episode. And I too have a problem with the act that it is stated that this would not be done, but actually is being done. You make the point well about conscious vs. unconscious actions here on Tom's part.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                                                                                          As I've said prior, they were too close to really say that the judging on performance in this particular episode was flawed. There is no clear point that one can use to justify that Jen's previous successes were a BIG factor in why she stayed. It (both Jen's record of success and L's record of, well, lack of success) may have played some role, but the fact that there is a lot of debate here and elsewhere indicates people felt it was close between the two. Laurine had nothing to trumpet as a success; Jen had some decent halibut. If prior performance comes in, and I think to some extent it does, its subtle and probably only comes in when the call is very close.

                                                                                                                                                                                          And I suspect its really only a worry in this period of episodes - when the competitors have some established track record, and you still have some people who have floated in the middle or near the bottom but not yet packed their knives. In the later episodes, you are left with some really solid people - with 7 left, you'll see people like Kevin or Bryan or Eli more often at judges table - a good person HAS to go, but all of them have had good prior moments. And in the final, I think the judges expressly limit their perspectives to just that one meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                  "But both Tom and Rick Moonen thought it was crazy -- and I think they've got more experience than Jen does with this."

                                                                                                                                                                                  Really? You don't think being Eric Ripert's Chef de Cuisine for 5 years didn't give her some pretty amazing experience? She may be young, but she's been working with one for the best seafood chefs in the world.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                                                                                    Rick Moonen is not Eric Ripert but he knows a thing or two about cooking fish.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, I do. I agree what KTinNYC says about Rick Moonen. And this wasn't really a thing about knowing something about seafood. This was an issue about running a restaurant with what works and doesn't work logistically for a dinner service.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                      Actually, Miss Needle, Jen DID do one of her dishes well. Not as well as normally, but it was still properly prepared and tasted good. Laurine messed up both on her lamb and on her service.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                Actually I thought of a couple of more times where I think the wrong chef went home.

                                                                                                                                                                                Season 1, episode 1: Ken sent home. His attitude sent him home, not the dish. I believe many contestants said that Andrea's dish was much worse. Harold stated in the reunion show that Ken's dish wasn't the worst, and I believe he's a straight-shooter.

                                                                                                                                                                                Season 4, Film Episode: The episode where Manuel went home. That could have gone either way with Manuel or Spike being sent home, but I think that it should have been Spike as he was the one who conceptualized the entire dish. This is one instance where I think the producers got involved and offered their input to sending Manuel home because Spike is better for TV. But I don't feel as strongly about this one (because it really could have gone either way) as I do about the others.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                  "ETA: I should clarify and say that the judges alrady pre-picked who they wanted to stay and tried to find excuses to kick out Laurine."

                                                                                                                                                                                  I definitely think they had a few people in mind who could be sent home as well as some who absolutely couldn't be sent home regardless of how poor a performance they had. Somewhere in this thread, my intelligence was called into question for having this opinion. I hope the poster who did so can see that clearly I'm not alone in my thinking and reasoning.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree. As you know, there's a lot of discussion at judges' table that we don't see, and one factor that goes into choosing what we do see is the need to create a little bit of suspense about who is going home. There may have been a *lot* more criticism of Laurine for the lamb dish that they chose not to show us because then it would have been too obvious that she was going home. Conversely, there may have been more praise for Kevin's pork dish, Jen's halibut, etc. that again, they didn't show because they wanted us to wonder if one of the "favorites" was going to go.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Remember, in the past people who were considered strong contenders have taken the fall at restaurant wars, most notably Tre, so the judges have shown that they can and will send someone home based on a single bad performance. For those of you who like to think the producers have a hand in the decisions, from a producer's standpoint, they'd love to have an "underdog" make it to the final (like Carla last time), and for that reason probably wouldn't have minded sending one of the top contenders home when they had a chance.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                    I'll say this as a statement of fact, because I've asked a producer this very question - they do not play a role at judge's table, and the judge's take their role too seriously to let them if they tried.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: grant.cook

                                                                                                                                                                                      Just to clarify: I believe that as well, my comments were aimed at people who make the "producers made the decision" claims that invariably crop up when there's a controversial elimination, including elsewhere in this thread. And yes, I know says in fine print in the credits that the producers may have some input, but that's mostly just a disclaimer to cover their butts legally in case someone does try to claim producer interference. Actually, there was one occasion when the producers interfered: the Marcel attempted head-shaving (aka assault) incident, when Tom apparently want to eliminate all three of the participants and the producers wouldn't let him.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                        Trust me, there was quite a bit of debate on that issue.. and the producers didn't take that incident lightly at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                  I, too, thought Laurine's ouster was unfair, and based more on Kevin's and Jen's previous performances...until I was reminded that her dish was that lamb dish. Had that been just ok, she might have survived.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I thought Jen's major problem was that she tried to do too much -- as they brought up a few times, they couldn't believed she steamed the shellfish to order, and her dishes seemed too complex for one person to be doing.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. I think they got it right by sending Laurine home. Still expecting a Kevin, Jen, and Voltaggio bros final four.

                                                                                                                                                                            Is it just me or is Toby not as annoying this season?

                                                                                                                                                                            32 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chimayo Joe

                                                                                                                                                                              No, you're right, he's less annoying. Either he read (or was told about) all the comments about his labored attempts at being clever going over like lead balloons, or they're editing them out because of those comments, or he's simply more comfortable in front of the camera (something I've seen before in "reality" shows where the participants aren't professional performers and often don't have much on-camera experience).

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                Actually, it does seem like he is more comefortable...
                                                                                                                                                                                not as uptight as last year...not as "forced"..

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                  Excellent point. I often forget a week for us is a day or two for them.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                  Excuse me if I'm wrong, but I thought Top Chef was taped fully (except for the finale) long before it actually airs. There is no way Mike I could've read the comments and changed his behavior. I also believe the Magic Elves have already edited the show, and I doubt they would re-edit just to make someone look better. Too much extra time & extra money

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                                                                                    Ruth is talking about Toby, not Mike I. And I agree that he's much less annoying this season.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                                                                                                      Ha-That'll teach to me to not expand the posts when I'm replying. . My apologies Ruth. My bad, lesson learned....

                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: Chimayo Joe

                                                                                                                                                                                  Having seen the episode twice, Jen should have gone home. I think the producers got involved with the bikini shot in the beginning, and the determination at the end. Jen is gorgeous and tough. She could have cooked catfood and would have stayed.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: aadesmd

                                                                                                                                                                                    The more that I think about it, the more I think that you may be righ about the producers wanting to keep Jen around--although I don't completely agree with your reasons. I don't think Jen is gorgeous; but she is good looking and has shown talent early on. However, in more recent episodes, her self-doubt and lack of confidence, at least to me, have hurt her image. She's not looking tough at all. I daresay that the producers want to keep an attractive female chef on the show as long as possible and it doesn't hurt that Jen works at an Eric Ripert restaurant. She fits the bill for several reasons. However, I don't see her making it past the #3 or #4 ranking. After last night,she's lucky to still be in the competition. I see her as #4 right now.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                                                                                      The producers have no say at judges table. The judges might want to keep Jen around, might have cut her some slack based on prior performance, but the producers' opinions means zero at JT.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I would agree she's not looking at strong at Kevin or the 2 brothers.. but that's for the judges to decide over the next few episodes.. Hosea was kind of weak and turned in a surprise ending, whereas Carla was on a nice trajectory and botched a few things. The last episode is a free-for-all..

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: grant.cook

                                                                                                                                                                                        The producers have no say at judges table. The judges might want to keep Jen around, might have cut her some slack based on prior performance, but the producers' opinions means zero at JT.
                                                                                                                                                                                        ********
                                                                                                                                                                                        You believe everything they say is true? (that's like believing everything you read on the internet) I don't and you cannot convince me otherwise. There's too much endorsement money at stake.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                                          "Too much endorsement money at stake" -- are you saying that the endorsers care who wins Top Chef? If they did, then I can think of several people who won who wouldn't have. You think that Fabio, or even Carla wouldn't have been a better winner from an endorsement perspective than Hosea? Apparently Bravo thinks Fabio was the winner from that perspective, since he's working for them doing pretty much that now. The telegenic Casey over the unpopular Hung? Ilan over Sam Talbot?

                                                                                                                                                                                          All the sponsors care about is whether people watch the show. They want colorful or controversial characters, but that's taken care of mostly through casting, editing, and providing copious amounts of alcohol.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                            "Too much endorsement money at stake" -- are you saying that the endorsers care who wins Top Chef?
                                                                                                                                                                                            ****
                                                                                                                                                                                            Jen nearly went home and lots of you are up in arms. Imagine what would've happened if they did send her home instead of Laurine. You think the endorsers who paid for the show and advertise on the show won't be hurt by pissing off their loyal watchers? If the judges left Eli, Mike I and Robin as the final 3, would you watch? The endorsers don't have to tell the judges to keep the best chefs. This is season 6, they have lots of data now. Everyone should know by now what draws.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                                              If that had happened, the could have edited the whole show to slant it differently -- made Jen out to be an arrogant whiner and Laurine a plucky underdog. That's the genius of "reality" television -- the editing creates story lines and characters to fit the results after the fact.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                That's the genius of "reality" television -- the editing creates story lines and characters to fit the results after the fact.
                                                                                                                                                                                                ******
                                                                                                                                                                                                They did just that. I don't think any other episode has a 400 post thread this season. Controversy sells.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                  My point is, they don't have to play fast and loose with the rules in order to make the "favorite" win -- they can edit it so the person who does win is the favorite, or at least, interesting/compelling in some way, including being a villain you root against, like they tried to do with Stefan last season.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                Jen nearly went home and lots of you are up in arms. Imagine what would've happened if they did send her home instead of Laurine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                ****

                                                                                                                                                                                                Erm, that would have made them even more ecstatic. The point is we're invested in the drama. As for letting go a chef of possibly greater talent, go back to watch the Dale/Lisa restaurant wars episode.

                                                                                                                                                                                                While I agree that producers on long-running narratives listen to viewer outrage (Nikki and Paulo on Lost, anyone?) the JT is simply too small-- that would be micromanaging a programme that has maintained an enthusiastic following for 6 seasons already.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                                                                  There are plenty of other episodes where people went home too early- Tre for instance. I can't think of any other episodes off the top of my head, but I remember watching them and getting angry at who went home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Jen, Bryan, Kevin, Mike, Eli.. ALL but one of them is going to go home in the next few episodes. The advertisers don't care what order - they just care the show draws X number of viewers in the right demographic. And the don't want any scandal. And this isn't Nike or Coke and a 1 minute Superbowl commercial - its a moderately popular show on a moderately popular cable network - the advertisers aren't taking a huge risk, making huge investments, and they trust a quality show will get them moderate returns.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sending Jen or Laurine home at a tactical level means a hill of beans to Glad to Swanson or the M Resort - its not like there is an "endorsement officer" on the set the way there used to be a political officer hanging around in Russian cold-war movies. They probably aren't even watching the show day to day, just looking at ratings sheets at the end of the week. And this was an exciting episodes - contenders falling flat, some underdogs shining, Mike yelling at Robin.. it had lots of flair.. hence, ratings.. we are up in arms because of the Jen / Laurine debate - not because we all don't see that Jen's in a trouble; perhaps we are rooting for her to come on strong, the way Carla turned it up last season.. and if she does, well, ratings! And if she doesn't, well, Ratings! We like the wild outcomes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    MLB and the NFL knows what draws views to a World Series or a Superbowl - and if they had Tampa Bay playing Kansas City in the WS, they'd have a rather depressed look on their face, but they don't weight the scales. We've had fan favorites go home early, and people they disliked stay on.. do you think every woman over 40 is cheering on Mike I right now, and yet he's still around...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    A good example is the continual goal of gender parity in the winners - they start with an even mix because of fairness, even in an industry that's 70% men. And in the first 4 episodes, they sent 4 women home in a row. Of the original group, only 2 are left.. you think that plays well with the female side of the audience? No, but the judges did it anyway - because they were the right decisions (we trust). They could have nursed a few more of the women along in the early episodes, dumped a few of the weaker men on excuses, but they didn't.. The producers will probably milk some storylines (the Hosea kiss - too bad they couldn't have been making out on top of a pile of boxes of the Glad family of products), but the judging is fair and distinct.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: grant.cook

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Another poster on the Next Iron Chef wrote this:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Over the weekend we watched Top Chef Las Vegas on Bravo. I noticed that at the end just before the credits, they run a disclaimer. I had to run it at 1/15 speed and then stop it to read it, but it said something to the effect that program participants to be eliminated from the program each week, are determined by the judges (Colicchio, Lakshmee, et al.) as well as the show's producers -- (next Page) and by the Bravo Network"

                                                                                                                                                                                                      If he/she is correct, then whatever Colicchio and other judges truly think can be trumped.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                        You really don't know as much as you think you do, do you? That disclaimer does indeed run at the end of the show (and at the end of Project Runway as well). It's been widely discussed since the series began. It's essentially a CYA provision: by claiming that they may have input on the decision they protect themselves from accusations that they do. According to Colicchio the only time the producers had input on the decision was when they prevented him from eliminating everyone involved in the Marcel attempted head shaving incident. The fact that someone reserves the right to do something does not mean that they actually exercise that right -- as a lawyer you should know all about CYA provisions like that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Are you trying to antagonize me? Do you really need to tell me what I should know? I don't read every post here so if I bring this up now, it's pretty obvious that I was not part of the discussion regarding the disclaimer. According to Colicchio - of course it's true if Colicchio spoke it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I actually respect your opinion on food and your insight on psychology (dunno if you're a shrink or not). I prefer not to get petty and I'd appreciate it if you indulge me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, there is a provision about producers having impact on the show, but that doesn't necessarily mean Judges Table (except say, for such instances as when TC was ready to call everyone a lose and give Marcel the prize-- then, the producers stepped in).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            But even if the producers had influence at the Judges Table, which is highly unlikely given the number of credible sources stating otherwise (beyond Colicchio), there also isn't any logic. This demand for influence would alienate the opportunity to get the guest judges they want-- the guests judges who assure eyes on the screen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Your over concern with the judges table has lead you to ignore some very controversial decisions made in the past. Also, it seems you are a champion of micromanaging. In the grander scheme of such a programme, individual decisions aren't really important as long as there is enough drama, excitement and debate to keep people chattering about the programme all the way into the next week (well, lookee here).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            My guess is that while you have some knowledge about food, your knowledge about the industry is more of the lay kind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            As fr how much those endorsements are at stake that every single move must be agonised over and monitored by producers? Doubtful. Check this out:

                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.avclub.com/articles/top-ch...

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: grant.cook

                                                                                                                                                                                              Do you seriously believe that the producers' opinions "mean zero at JT"? I'm sorry, but if you watch enough of these reality TV shows, you'll understand that they are productions and not documentaries as someone else on this thread wisely stated. The producers are concerned about ratings and so are the "judges," who play an integral role in the production.

                                                                                                                                                                                              And I think everyone is entitled to his/her opinion about how the judging is being done and how the cheftestants are performing. If you want to believe everything you see (and remember what is shown on the Top Chef episodes is edited), that's your perogative, but I don't happen to see it that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                                                                                                "Do you seriously believe that the producers' opinions "mean zero at JT"? "

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, I seriously believe that the producers opinions mean zero at judges table. Chefs like Rick Moonen, Eric Ripert, Andre Soltner et al would not put their reputations on the line and go on a TV show if the results would just be manipulated by the producers

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm with KT, I have no problem accepting the lack of input of the producers at the judges table. It's been discussed many times, and most notably, was a position also averred by the former employee whose online statements about TC have since been stricken from the Internet. (And yes, it seemed a fairly credible source-- I do think about such things) .

                                                                                                                                                                                                  It strikes me that people who insist that producers direct every decision are possibly not very interested in documentary and reality programming (there are connections, and if you'd like the scholarship, I'll provide. There is potential for continued drama no matter which way eliminations go. There is simply no endorsement money at stake in such little decisions such as this. Or not enough to make the Judges Table a real issue for the producers. The entire programme is a walking talking advertisement. Our ongoing interest from week to week and from season to season suggests that micromanaging the JT is unnecessary from a financial standpoint.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Yes, I seriously believe that the producers opinions mean zero at judges table. "
                                                                                                                                                                                                    ~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Agree with KTinNYC - this is what has been stated over and over and over again in threads throughout the 6 seasons of TC. For chef judges of this caliber to "go along" with what producers want just for the sake of ratings and ad dollars is ridiculous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    The *only* time that producers have intervened is the Marcel head-shaving situation in TC2 when Tom was effectively going to end the season, disqualify everyone, and declare Marcel the winner. The producers ended up either convincing him not to or overruled him. But again - that was because there was still a good third of the season left to film. Yes, the fine print in the credits say the producers do discuss decisions with the judges; but the judges are the final arbiters of who wins and who is told to PYKAG.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Yes, I seriously believe that the producers opinions mean zero at judges table. "
                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well you can count me in with those that believe this as well. It seems like this comes up every season when someone believes a cheftestant was unfairly told to PYKAG.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Now I could be wrong with what I am about to say, and maybe a lawyer could correct me if I am, but considering there is prize money at stake wouldn't TC be considered a game show under the law? Therefore, wouldn't producers interference also be considered rigging the outcome, which would be illegal? I would appreciate any insight anyone has.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                                                        That's actually a very good point, lizzy, re: whether this is ultimately, under the law, a "game show". This link seems to group "elimination/game shows" together:

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Modern game shows like Weakest Link, Greed, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, American Gladiators, Dog Eat Dog and Deal or No Deal also lie in a gray area: like traditional game shows (e.g., The Price Is Right, Jeopardy!), the action takes place in an enclosed TV studio over a short period of time; however, they have higher production values, more dramatic background music, and higher stakes than traditional shows (done either through putting contestants into physical danger or offering large cash prizes). In addition, there is more interaction between contestants and hosts, and in some cases they feature reality-style contestant competition and/or elimination as well. These factors, as well as these shows' rise in global popularity at the same time as the arrival of the reality craze, lead many people to group them under the reality TV umbrella as well as the traditional game show one.[15]

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Interesting, it looks like there is no clear cut answer. I'm going to do a little more digging when I get the chance, and if I come with anything I will post here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                                                            There doesn't appear to be a clear-cut answer, since it's never been legally adjudicated. A lawyer who writes about reality shows wrote an article in which she concluded that Survivor was "probably not" subject to gameshow laws, but I think a show like Top Chef which is much more clearly marketed as a test of skill and where the winner is decided by production and not the other contestants is much more likely to qualify.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://public.getlegal.com/articles/s...

                                                                                                                                                                                                            In addition, the shows sign contracts with the contestants which presumably set forth the legal parameters of the competition. Even though I'm sure they're loaded with disclaimers and other ass-covering provisions (like the infamous one about the producers having input into decisions, which as far as I can tell is only there to protect against people claiming that they do), they're still open to charges of fraud/breach of contract (and the attendant bad publicity) if decisions start looking to unfair or arbitrary.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Even though the producers will fight tooth-and-nail not to be covered by these laws, they probably follow them as closely as possible, since the risks of legal action and bad publicity are much higher than the benefits of rigging the competition, especially since characters and story lines can be created after the fact with editing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Top Chef is operated under a strict set of "game show" rules. All the competitions, twist and turns, have to be planned and documented ahead of time. When that clock gets to zero, they are serious about people stopping work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I am not sure of all the legal ins and outs - they obviously changed things up a bit in the episode where the refrigerator failed and they didn't send someone home, sending two home in the next episode...but they definitely can't wing it, or weight the scales unfairly. Now storylines - Hosea kissing someone, someone being portrayed like an ass, that's fair game.. and I am sure a bit of house wine gets passed around before they go into those individual video commentary shoots - there is probably not a rule about getting the competitors a bit sloshed after the competition is done for the day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: grant.cook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                As I said, the question of whether the federal quiz show rules apply to "reality" shows is legally unsettled, but they have nothing to gain and a lot to lose by not following them.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Loved the QF. Very interesting this idea of playing telephone. I would have liked it more if they had taken the time to talk to the chefs about what they were thinking when they started their 10 minutes and seeing where the idea went off on a tangent.

                                                                                                                                                                                          They are down to 7, but I think six of the seven are good enough to be top chef. Yes, even Mike I and Eli. They all have the chops. I don't think Robyn has the temperament, and after this episode, I wonder about Jen's temperament. She came off as the Ice Queen early on but she is really straining under the pressure.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Getting really sick of the brothers act.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Kind of interesting for me to see that theybig "challenge" has been to take away the meats and placing certain restraints on the ingredients, but they have not tried to force them into different styles, like making the French trained chefs into making something Japanese.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I also liked the challenge where they were sent to a diner and had to short order cooking for a QF, like that idea a lot.

                                                                                                                                                                                          As much as I would hate it, I don't think Jen will last for very much longer, she is losing it progressively.

                                                                                                                                                                                          24 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm worried about Jen's stamina. When she said she was broken at Judges' Table, my heart went out to her. I would like to see her or Kevin take it all, but I don't think she is going to last (physically or emotionally).

                                                                                                                                                                                            I feel like I've been in the house with the contestants too long.......Robin can say hello and it pisses me off. I think the same holds true for her housemates.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                                              I haven't watched every episode, but Jen's lack of confidence and self-doubt get to me. I can understand being nervous and worried, but I guess in that situation, it doesn't pay to show it. Has she shown enough consistency to be the Top Chef? At this point, I say no, and certainly not when compared with Kevin, Bryan, or Mike V.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                              Sad to say I agree, Phaedrus. I'm struck by how haggard Jen looked in this challenge--I don't remember seeing a chef degenerate so much physically during a season. I think see feels a tremendous amount of pressure representing Ripert in front of a national audience and it's getting to her. Most chefs on the show don't have a world-class chef's reputation resting on their shoulders--Tom's comment on her mentor being disappointed was very cruel.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Can I just give a small victory dance for Robin? Yes, she was annoying with the "domination" comment at the end but she scored with that dessert. Yay Robin! Show the nasty kids that an "Old Lady" can perform under pressure!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                                                                                                You thought Tom's comment was cruel? I thought it pointed, but not cruel. Moonen's and Colicchio's astonishment that she was cooking the mussels (and something else?) to order and they weren't pre-steamed for easier and quicker plating...well, I think even Ripert might have been astonished at his Chef de Cuisine doing that as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I thought Jen's self doubt schtick was getting old until last night when she truly blew it! PS: Girl is skinny! Did you see her in that bikini?!
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Brother Bryan's attitude and behavior is deplorable, juvenile and completely uncomfortable to watch already. His brother won the 10 grand and offered to split it with the team. Your team just won, Bryan, and you look like you just found out that your bro was sleeping with your girlfriend or something. Enough with the 'tude. Cook and lighten up!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I thought she filled out her bikini nicely. She does seem fatigued though and seems to be in a downward spiral. Her best bet seems to be to stagger into the finals and come back rejuvenated after the break.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    V the younger seems to have a peculiar understanding of team work. Based on what we've seen it seems his definition of working together is everyone listening to him and doing what he say's. He's lucky Hector is gone, I don't think that condescending in your face style of his would have gone over too well with him.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Two years in a row the front of the house person has been sent packing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    I missed the decorating aspect, there were some hilarious design schemes over the years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                                                                                                                                      LOL re: Bryan looking like he just found out that his brother was sleeping with his gf.... The look on his face made me think he was constipated or something. Definitely he needs to take a chill pill and be proud that his brother won and had enough class to want to share his winnings!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                                                                                                                        you're spot on. forget splitting the ten grand and give Bryan some Senekot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Good grief!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                                                                                                    One thing I forgot to add, and to me it speaks to the character of the people involved: both Kevin and Jen looked genuinely sick that it was Laurine that had to leave. More Jen than Kevin, but both of them seemingly got into the spirit of being on a team and taking on the good and the bad together. Even Mike I showed some humanity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    While the leering misogynist in me was leering at Jen in a bathing suit, was that shot really necessary?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Phaedrus, I see the cheesecake as equalization to the many pieces of beefcake the editors have served up over the years! There's a reason all these shows put cameras in the bedrooms and bathrooms as people are waking up, and Top Chef has happened to cast a larger number of attractive male contestants than female, I think. Let 'em show Jen's bikini bod! I love that girl -- possibly because her plagues of self-doubt remind me sooooo much of myself in tense situations. I totally cop to being a pill when I'm in the final stages of a difficult meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Don't forget she's been sick. It's been a couple of weeks our time, but only a few days their time. When you're already tired and stressed out, even a relatively minor illness can take a lot out of you and take a while to get over.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Good reminder, Ruth. Had forgotten she was sick last episode - which would be just a few days earlier for her IRL.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was a classmate of Robin's in college, and it really bugs me when they call her "grandma." I almost choked on my Senokot last time I heard that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nsenada

                                                                                                                                                                                                          LOL! I'm older than Robin, and if someone called me grandma there would be blood spilled!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Unless it was one of your grandkids. If you had any....

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: nsenada

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think I am older than Robin (I am 45) but IMO the "grandma" comes more from her attitude and demeanor and the entire package than her age. She's a bit rough around the edges (disclaimer: I can't stand her and find her Pat Benetar hair cut very aging) and a whiner. She's like an annoying grandma or aunt in many ways.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Does Robin talk too much? Absolutely I think she's nervous and compensating for the atmosphere around her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              But she doesn't occur for me as annoying and I get that you are annoyed. I am much more annoyed by the intolerant snide nasty cracks of the others. It seems like they cement their relationship and perhaps agree on their more similar approach to the kitchen by taking aim at Robin who has a different style.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I didn't really find that Robin's team was too horrible to her this week. Mike was over the line with the pastry, but it seems like his behavior overall during the challenge wasn't the most professional. He wasn't acting any better to his brother. Robin's also not innocent with her incessant eye rolling and insistence on getting the last word in. She actually didn't bother me all that much until this week. I still don't feel like her behavior is really grandma-like though. I saw the eye rolling/last word behavior all the time when I was teaching 9th grade.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Take scallops and ceviche away from Jen, she loses a lot of luster. Personally, I don't fall for that girl power schtick or the "we need another female Top Chef" bit.. She's at best #3 or #4. Maybe if #2 if the Brother's V start beating one another with saute pans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Disagree, she's received praise for non-scallop/ceviche dishes. The deconstructed lasagna and pork belly come to mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Her chasseur sauce for the rabbit was also praised and won her the elimination, didn't it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Totally disagree -
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Actually I think Jens strongest asset is her ability to make lovely sauces.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Other than last night - every sauce that she has made has received raves.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have been meaning to mention that weeks ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Even last night, her sauce (while dinged for not being a true consumme, which is just an issue of it not matching the menu description) was praised for its flavor, and it was her stock that was singled out for praise in her team's winning quickfire dish. I think that definitely shows the influence of working in a classic French kitchen for so long.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Agreed. They even liked the consommé although they took issue with her calling that broth a consommé because it wasn't clear.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Wow -
                                                                                                                                                                                                              I really enjoyed this episode!!
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Seriously, I was on the edge of my seat - and really nervous at the end!!
                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm so glad to read some other people were feeling the same as me - I was thinking to myself "get a grip!!!" lol
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Regardless of whether it was the right or wrong decision - I am super happy they choose Laurine to go!
                                                                                                                                                                                                              My personal opinion was that is WAS the right decision!
                                                                                                                                                                                                              I thought Laurine was a HORRIBLE FOH.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Instead of her personality coming out and shining - I think it shrunk and slithered away - and that was before things got hectic. I really thought it was a terrible choice for the team. Mike I would have been FAR better in that role.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Even Kevin said he was having issues with Laurine!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              As for Revolt, their food looked really good, and I think they pulled it together as a team. I was happy that they didnt show too much moaning and groaning over having Robin on the team, and I was happy her dish was not a failure!
                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was pleased that Michael decided to share the winnings with his team, but I thought Bryan was really obnoxious is saying he should keep it. (If he was bitter and didnt want the $$ he could have refused it for himself - but why spoil it for Eli and Robin??) I don't like Bryans passive aggressive style - even though I do like him otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've been liking Toby this year too...I thought it was cool how he said he would have given Revolt 3 stars! I also liked the brothers reaction when Tom said it was the best restaurant yet of RW - they both showed some smiles and enthusiasim.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              32 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was surprised that the only comment we heard about Eli’s attire was the brief mention Toby made. I’m pretty casual myself but if I’m going out to a nice dinner and I’m greeted by a hobo, my first impression is a negative one. What does it say about a restaurant’s attitude when the first person you see can’t be bothered to tuck his shirt in?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was surprised the brothers said it looked fine and let him go out looking like that - the bros seem quite neat and tidy in their appearances

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A couple of reasons
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1) They are gaming him, not likely since they seem to like the guy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2) He looked fine for Eli. They know that if they bitched they couldn't improve the situation so just roll with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      re: Eli's attire

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I had no problem.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      His looked very hipster to me. I'm often around NYC Chelsea hipster/clubster ground zero, and Eli management attire of cool/casual would be much more in place in Chelsea NYC than a button down business suit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Remember Volts and Eli are 20, young 30 somethings. They do fine culinary, but fine culinary for 20/30 crowd is generally the hipster scene.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dach

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Eli did not look anything like a hipster. You are confusing hipster with b&t (and for you looking to get offended there bridge and tunnel is no longer reserved for outerboroughs, LI and NJ, there are plenty in Manhattan as there are plenty of hipsters in those places.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dach

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The judges aren't twentysomethings and they weren't doing a "hipster" restaurant. Even if they were, Eli's didn't look like he put the slightest thought into what he was wearing. He looked like he just rolled out of bed and couldn't be bothered to take his job seriously.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          There was a funny scene on Curb Your Enthusiasm where Edward Asner walked into a lawyers office on a casual Friday and wouldn't do business with the lawyer because he was dressed like a cowboy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If you are front of the house you have to realize that how your clientele perceives you is more important than your comfort or need for self-expression.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            They just don't know any better. They are chefs being asked to work front of house. You get what you get. Chefs aren't known for their dress sense and why should they be?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Well, along that vein, how well did the other FOH people dress in the previous restaurant wars? I didn't seem to recall anyone making comments about what they wore. The fact that people noticed means that it was a distraction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: dach

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You're making a lot of assumptions about people in their 20s/30s based on your experience. None of the three work in Manhattan, and while hipster may go over well in Chelsea, you'll probably find far fewer places like that elsewhere in the US. The majority of the contestants on this show are in that age bracket and do fine dining without being part of the hipster scene.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The hipster vibe is probably not going to work in a Vegas hotel restaurant. I don't think he necessarily needed a tie, but how hard is it to put on a belt and tuck in your shirt?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Was no one else surprised that they didn't comment on his constant use of "guys" when addressing the judges while hosting?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I noticed that. But since the judges seemed to think he did a great job at FOH I didn't dwell on it much. It obviously didn't bother them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I had noticed that. Was wondering what he was thinking, other than the fact that he wasn't thinking (but I thought his immaturity came out yet again with that look). But who on his team "approved it" - the team leader, Michael?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree. Remember how dashing Fabio looked when he did FOH?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Very charming compared to Eli, or anyone else!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pacheeseguy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You can put a flower on a turd and call it a blossom, but that doesn't necessarily make it so. Even if Eli put on a decent suit, its not going to turn him into Fabio.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              By the way, why is it that these guys show up with suitcases in hand and both Kevin and Eli neglect to bring something formal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pacheeseguy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Fabio could wear a suit of monkey ass and still be charming.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Debbie W

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  particularly if it's accessorized with scallop shell cufflinks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's one more reason I felt the judges were too hard on Laurine. Compared to Eli, she looked far more presentable. I'm not saying it would have been enough to carry her, but c'mon, Eli wasn't that outstanding. He did OK, and he benefitted from the fact that his team mates delivered great food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And you would have thought that at least Bryan would have tried to straighten Eli up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not to be rude, but I'm seriously unsure whether Eli could have possibly tucked that shirt in. The boy's very round, and those shirttails weren't very long.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Isn't it quite trendy for men to wear untucked dress shirts? I'm not saying it's a professional look but I see men dress like that all the time at "business casual" restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Under a jacket? Yeah it's common on its own or under a sweater, but not when the shirt tails hang out below the jacket. I was surprised the V's said it was an okay look. I wasn't overwhelmed with Laurine's look either. The dress was very short and not all that flattering, but at least it was dressier than Eli's look.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've seen that look before. I don't like it, but I've seen it. However, as a large person it's always been my feeling that a person who is, shall we say, on the chunky side cannot afford to look sloppy, no matter how fashionable the look is. The stereotype of the overweight person being a "slob" is too ingrained in our culture for an overweight person to be able to get away with being less than impeccably neat and groomed in a public-contact role.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The V's probably live in their chef's whites and don't pay much attention to fashion!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I may have misspoken. I think I've see the look on Gregory House, but that's not the look I'd want to present in the FOH unless it was a very casual restaurant. That is not the case here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I actually hadn't considered his weight in the general level of appropriateness. I thought it would have looked just as ridiculous on a 130lb man as it did on him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think the weight thing is not something you'd be aware of unless you'd lived with the stigma.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You don't like the style on anyone, but even if you (and other people) did, it wouldn't be a good choice for someone with Eli's body type.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ruth, I'm with you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have a friend who leaves his shirt untucked (by itself, under a sweater *and* under a (yecch) sportcoat). The hipsters who flock to his restaurant *worship* his "purposely unkempt" look, "just-got-outta-bed" hair and tanning-bed glow. How does he get away with what boils down to being a slob? He's young, and *thin.*

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In the case of a short, rotund, middle-aged guy like me, I must tell you that I think I look like a mess if just my *tie* isn't properly in place. It's really easy for a big guy to look like a bum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Eli didn't make a fashion statement. He looked disheveled.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          He was the FOH. Is that appropriate for someone greeting you at a restaurant that is still elegant and yet casual? Not so sure...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I personally would not want someone to dress like that at a restaurant but he's not normally in FOH and the judges didn't knock him for it....so I dunno if it's a big deal or not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I haven't been to the restaurant, but we viewers were told that it was casual.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I didn't think Bryan was rejecting the money on behalf of Eli and Robin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            He wasn't. He said "you can keep mine" or something to that effect. He was only referring to HIS portion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh ok -
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I thought he kept saying "Keep it for yourself"..
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I always need to re-watch to catch the full gist!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        5. Did I miss something between Kevin and the judges at the end of JT? It looked as if Jen had to lightly grab him and lead him out of the room. Afterwards, in the stewroom, Lurene (sp?) thanked him for everything he had said. He commented on "getting mad". Was I the only one that saw that or got that impression?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Mushroom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            He was definitely angry. Not sure at whom (the judges, himself, the overall situation) and said so when someone else asked what happened at JT. Laurine told him when she hugged him good-bye that she did not blame him. I don't know if he was blaming himself for the lamb not being cooked properly, or not leading, or what just frustrated in general. I think it was clear that both Kevin and Jen felt they had failed and the team had failed and hated that Laurine was the one who paid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              had the same impression. At one point, Kevin also said he didn't want to talk about it. I think he handles his anger maturely, and clearly both he and Jen felt b