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Top Chef - Las Vegas - Ep. #10 - 10/28/09 (Spoilers)

The Quickfire is a a Gourmet TV dinner, inspired by shows that TV Guide has chosen: The Sopranos, Gilligan's Island, Flintstones, Sesame Street, M*A*S*H, Seinfeld, and Cheers. Paul Bartolotta is the Guest Judge.

And Jennifer is really screwing up! Bryan's meatloaf dish looked REALLY good, as did Kevin's meatball dish. And the winner is? Kevin again! No immunity, however. But his dish will be featured in a Schwan's line of Top Chef Frozen Foods - interesting!

For the Elimination Challenge, they'll take over Craftsteak @ the MGM. But hey - there's going to be a hitch! Tom's special guest is Natalie Portman...and as we've said in earlier threads, she's a vegetarian. And they're cooking in a steak restaurant. What FUN! (not! LOL)

The previews show Jen and Mike I. not doing well. Hmmm....

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  1. i think she's even vegan. hard.

    but jen really seems to be hitting her limit - be it physical/mental whatever. despite that, i think she's good.
    but kevin's amazing!!!

    6 Replies
    1. re: AMFM

      She just said vegetarian, so that gives them a *little* leeway.

      ::::Sob:::: All that beautiful meat in the walk-in.

      1. re: LindaWhit

        agreed. just read an article where she was VERY vehement in her anti-meat stance.

        i love a good steak but enjoy eating vegetarian done well too - vegan, however, i couldn't do!

        1. re: AMFM

          I think she "converted" from vegetarian to vegan since this show was taped.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Jenn's sauce was a verjuice with butter. Ok for a vegetarian, but verbotten for a vegan.

            1. re: chicgail

              But no one else seemed to use butter or eggs or cheese. I wonder why. That would have given them much more options.

              1. re: chicgail

                pretty sure I saw kevin melting butter at the beginning of the challenge.

    2. BEST LINE EVER!

      Tom C: "We went from little prick to big in my mouth." And a wry eye-roll.

      Friend of Natalie's: "Yes, that's what usually happens!"

      Brilliant. :-)

      1. This episode has me worried. Showed very little cooking, what are they going to show for the last 20 minutes? And the promos showed Natalie Portman tasting something and saying, "this is disgusting", and that didn't come out in the episode, what? Did anyone else note this omission? Maybe I'm a little grumpy tonight, but I don't care for this episode (so far).

        17 Replies
        1. re: mjhals

          I noticed that preview as well, mjhals...was waiting for it to see what it was. I think the Elves are screwing with us again. And after last week's show, this one is a great let-down.

          But....as charmedgirl points out below, Fabio's hosting a TC reunion dinner next week - looks like Marcel is just as snarky as ever!

          1. re: LindaWhit

            This time it really bugged me. I was expecting the comment, so w/ each course thought it was coming. So with only one course left (Kevin's), I was convinced he'd seriously messed up (and he's far and away my pick to win it all). Creative editing is one thing, but I think this has crossed the line into misleading.

            1. re: mjhals

              There's no rule that says they can't be misleading, is there? Like you, though, I was waiting for it and then dreading it was Kevin, especially since his dish didn't look pretty like the others. But I think that she probably did say that about one of the dishes, but they realized if we knew what dish she said that about it would be obvious who was going home.

              1. re: mjhals

                It really bugged me too--knowing the context of the comment would have helped us understanding the judging better. Not fair, elves!

              2. re: LindaWhit

                Still don't particularly like this episode, but Natalie's comment about Mike's dealer almost won me over completely. I thought it was cute and pretty loose for a celebrity that's supposed to be "on" all the time, kind of edgy!

                1. re: mjhals

                  I missed that - what exactly did she say? It did crack up Tom, I saw that.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    She was commenting on how inventive and surprising Mike's dish was and she asked who his dealer is and if he wants more customers.

              3. re: mjhals

                I was watching with a group of family members, and we were all cringing, expecting the "disgusting" line to get hauled out for one of our favorites.

                No clue who was the target.

                GO JEN! Get your fire back!

                1. re: dmd_kc

                  Jen seems to be psyching herself out and it's getting worse for each challenge. I think she's great, but at this point her biggest challenger is in her head.

                  1. re: chicgail

                    At JT, Colicchio mentioned that they were all very tired and could use a rest; at that point they have been going full tilt for several days and she was physically ill for a couple of challenges, too.

                    1. re: chicgail

                      Jen's inclusion into the bottom 3 seemed like a filler to me. While I agree her performance has dropped off, her biggest faults were it was too small and she was nervous doing her tableside pour...yet Eli''s and Bryan's dish looked just as small...and i concede that could be the magic of television.

                      1. re: Alex318

                        Yeah, Tom said in his blog that the only problem with her dish was that it was too small, but that it was well prepared and tasted good, especially the sauce.

                      2. re: chicgail

                        My thoughts exactly, She's definitely psyching herself out. Too bad b/c when she's on, she's great.

                        1. re: chicgail

                          On the flip side, she's also showing a good sense of humor. I liked her feisty quotes about not being a vegetarian and never becoming one. And also Bam Bam (Flinstones) being a boyfriend who carried a club and dragged his girl by the hair... which she kinda liked from time to time. Nice!

                          Leading the line at Ripert's place every night has got to wind anyone up.
                          Meanwhile the shooting schedule might be wearing down her robo-chef persona, but it's also showing her real personality, which I find funny and full of self examination (which sometimes includes the being down on one's self).

                          She needs to relax a bit and have fun, trusting the skills and intuition we've already seen,

                          1. re: tastyjon

                            i loved Jen's Pebbles & Bam Bam comment! it definitely showed a [very likable] side of her we don't really get to see much.

                            1. re: tastyjon

                              Now that you mention it. Self awareness is not an attribute that most of the folks on this season has in abundance. Ash did, but he did nothing with it.

                              I thought Richard Blais did and it actually cost him in the final challenge. I thought Harold was pretty self-aware.

                              So, the attributes of a successful human being may not be the same attributes for a Top Chef winner?

                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                Ha ha, that's funny.

                                In my experience, there are two types of successful people:

                                1. People who think everything they do is awesome, which gives them the gumption to try anything -- and the freedom to succeed without overthinking it.

                                2. People who scrutinize their every move so closely that it makes them agonizingly self-aware. Many of these people achieve greatness through knowledgeable critique of their own actions.

                                Most successful creative performers/interpreters I've known -- singers and actors (and that's many) -- fall into the first. Process-oriented creator/artists like cooks, photographers and musicians are often the latter.

                                Jen's definitely in the second group.

                      3. Fabio hosts a Top Chef reunion dinner!! So excited for next week!

                        ETA: what restaurant was that in the little short during the commercial break? Did Kevin say it was one of his best meals ever? I missed part of what they said.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: charmedgirl

                          I think that was Paul Bartolotta's restaurant in LV.

                          1. re: charmedgirl

                            Kevin was hilarious in that short. What did he say, something like "I eat everything, I didn't get fat accidentally"? Delightful. He's fantastic. Jen seemed very relaxed in that short, I wonder when they filmed it.

                          2. And Kevin, Michael, and Eli are in the top...and based on the comments about Eli's dish, will he win? Kevin's dish looked really good, yet again!

                            And Kevin has a DOUBLE! He wins Elim. as well. A suite of GE appliances is his prize - and doesn't he seem thrilled! LOL

                            Oh Michael - aren't YOU a sore loser! Wow.

                            In the Bottom - Robyn, Jennifer, and Mike I.

                            22 Replies
                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              Mike I has got to go home with the "whatever, whatever comments". So, so off-putting. Gails comments about him are right on.

                              And I just want poor Jenn to have faith in herself. This episode does reinforce the feeling that she's losing it. Really want her to pull it together next week, if not...I think she's gone, but I suspect this time she'll hang around.

                              1. re: mjhals

                                I do think it's Robyn (all over the place with her dish) or Mike I. But Jen is definitely losing confidence, and is showing her tiredness, as Tom said.

                                And Mike I. is gone! Wow.

                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                What was Michael's (I think I can finally tell the brothers apart now) dish? I only remembered the banana polenta as he was claiming to be able to reproduce Kevin's dish in 20 minutes.

                                1. re: jules127

                                  The banana polenta is all I remember as well. But I did get a giggle from Bartolotta's grimace when he heard what he was served. As Tom C. said, generations of Bartolotta's family were rolling in their graves. :-) But it made Natalie laugh, and she was guest judge!

                                  1. re: jules127

                                    Oh, I just wanted to slap Michael -- that was such a rude thing to say, not only disparaging Kevin but disparaging the judges by implying they were stupid to choose him. He probably didn't even taste Kevin's dish, so how can he know what really went into it? You can slop a bunch of ingredients on a plate, but you won't necessarily develop complex, interesting flavors. *Smoked* kale? That's pretty damn inventive, Mr. This-sounds-daring-and-creative-but-I-stole-it-from-another-chef.

                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                      Michael is clearly a creative and talented cook, but as a chef or someone in charge of a kitchen, he has no sensitivity to the people he iw working with. I would be disappointed if he won this season's TC. At this point I am rooting for Kevin or Brian. Unless Jen gets herself back under control, she doesn't stand a chance.

                                      1. re: chicgail

                                        I agree with you. Michael's moved down on my "top" list. I'd like the top 3 to be Kevin, Brian, and Jen. But unless Jen gets those personal bugaboos out of her head, she's going to sink.

                                        I will be interested to read/see Mike I.'s exit interview. He's gotta be ticked that Robin outlasted him. It was VERY obvious in the Stew Room that Eli was pissed off.

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          Mike has an interview on the Washington Post. I suspected he was a jerk, now I know. Honestly, his comments about Robin are BEYOND unprofessional--and its his comments, not editting. Glad he is gone!

                                          http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...
                                          sion/2009/10/29/DI2009102902002.html?hpid=discussions

                                          1. re: jenn

                                            How is it unprofessional for Mike to state his *opinion* on Robin's cooking. Unkind and undiplomatic, maybe. Unprofessional? No.

                                            BTW you link is broken. The interview is here http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                              thanks for fixing the link.
                                              I stand by unprofessional---the only reason for a person to speak the way he does of a competitor is when deep down you lack confidence in your own abilities. Focus on the food!!! Who cares if she is annoying? Compare his behavior to all the Masters in the TopChef Masters--no one felt the need to dis the other contestants, they were too caught up in their own creations.

                                              1. re: jenn

                                                Its not like Robin ever shown to back down or respect others boundaries when all they want to do is get away from her, or for her to stop talking about herself. They don't like her, but she keeps joining them, forcing herself on them. Makes for compelling TV.

                                                1. re: jenn

                                                  He was asked a questions and he answered them. It's not like he just spouted off on her.

                                                  Washington, D.C.: I didn't think you were a jerk -- and you certainly had personality. I've never tried your restaurant in D.C., but will stop in sometime. Enjoyed your style of cooking. You mean to tell me Robin is still there? That woman could not cook her way out of a paper bag.

                                                  Mike Isabella: That's totally true. She can't cook.

                                                  Arlington, Va.: If you were to enter a restaurant where Robin is the chef, what would you order?

                                                  Mike Isabella: Nothing.

                                              2. re: jenn

                                                The link to the Washington Post live chat w/ Mike I. was posted earlier downthread by newhavener07 a couple of hours ago. I actually had one of my questions answered by Mike I. and commented on it following newhavener07's post.

                                            2. re: chicgail

                                              I agree. I think he's showed his immaturity and unprofessionalism time and time again. It's too bad because I admire his creative cooking style. Bryan's point from the RW episode is well taken: Michael V. shouldn't be rewarded for bad behavior. To my thinking, someone who is in charge of a kitchen absolutely should have interpersonal skills. Both Kevin and Bryan seem capable of this. Jen too, if she could get herself together.

                                              1. re: Gigi007

                                                the only thing worse than mike isabella's attitude was gail's dress. yowzer. she needs to fire her wardrobe person yesterday.

                                                1. re: isadorasmama

                                                  I usually like what Gail is wearing - It's usually Padma that gets my "Yowzer!" remarks!

                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                    Padma's been dressing better this season, not so much like the confused fashionista of seasons past. Poor Gail - I have her body type, and it's not easy to look fashionable when one's built quite the opposite of Padma; still, wearing a frilly Leprechaun dress is inexcuseable.

                                                    1. re: Claudette

                                                      Last week during Restaurant Wars, Padma looked absolutely amazing in that low-cut dress and tiered necklace. She is a wonder of nature.

                                                      1. re: newhavener07

                                                        true, but the way she speaks makes her look robotic.
                                                        man, i'm feeling snarky today. sorry.

                                                        1. re: isadorasmama

                                                          You hit the nail on the head! I think that Padma is strikingly beautiful, but the way she speaks is off putting.

                                              2. re: chicgail

                                                At this point I'm mainly rooting for Kevin. He and Mike V are the two chefs whose food looks most interesting to me (well, Mike's looks interesting and Kevin's looks just plain delicious), and Mike is too big a jerk to root for.

                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                  +1, Ruth. My thoughts exactly, although I can't seem to let go of Bryan. I'll admit that I'm probably biased b/c I've eaten at his restaurant and have been quite impressed. Am getting annoyed by Mike V. If Tom C.'s blog is any indication, his attitude and behavior are hurting him.