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Top Chef - Las Vegas - Ep. #12 - 11/18/09 (Spoilers)

LindaWhit Nov 18, 2009 06:15 PM

The Culinary Olympics episode is here! Quickfire has Gavin Kaysen as a guest judge - they are to create their version of Kaysen's Bocuse d'Or dish - a Ballontine - a protein inside a protein inside a protein, with only 90 minutes.

Padma's "welcome back" to Jennifer was a nice compliment with her dish - and she wins! She gets an extra 30 minutes to cook for the Elimination challenge.

Michael's comment re: what Gavin told him - wow, his ego is really showing! I mean, it's great to be confident - but to say what he would have made if Gavin had said he wants a ballontine would have been as good or better than Gavin's Bocuse d'Or dish? Yowza. I'm really getting tired of his arrogance.

The Elimination Challenge is a TC version of the Bocuse d'Or...1 protein and 2 vegetables. Lamb or salmon are the proteins available, and Thomas Keller is one of the Guest Judges for the EC....no pressure!

ETA: Kevin's stepping WAY out of his comfort zone doing sous vide. Please please PLEASE don't tell me he's the "surprise" elimination that Tom's alluded to!

Holy smokes - Tom says the winner of this EC will get $30,000!

  1. m
    mjhals Nov 18, 2009 06:25 PM

    I'm worried about Kevin and his choice to try sous vide. For the first time? Can that be right? He had to ask the housemates for advice, and Bryan, very nicely helped him out. Just strikes me as strange, he's always seemed very comfortable and confident in his cooking style and I never got the vibe that he was insecure or felt like changes (in sharp contrast to Robin).

    7 Replies
    1. re: mjhals
      c
      chrisonli Nov 18, 2009 06:29 PM

      I'm worried about Kevin too - I hear my fave Carla echoing in the back of my head. And I find Michael rather insufferable. I would much rather eat Kevin's food than Michael's. Also I'm glad to see that Jennifer is back!

      1. re: mjhals
        LindaWhit Nov 18, 2009 06:30 PM

        Well, sounds like Kevin pulled it out, but maybe it's Michael who's in danger? "Total lack of harmony" from Boulud? And ouch on Bryan's undercooked lamb!

        Eli's presentation will be interesting.

        1. re: mjhals
          m
          mjhals Nov 18, 2009 06:31 PM

          Well, that could've been worse, they didn't seem entirely impressed- but not a failure by any means.

          On a plus note, I'm liking this episode a lot more than the last several because it showed A LOT more cooking.

          1. re: mjhals
            trolley Nov 19, 2009 08:15 AM

            agreed the show focused more on the cooking versus drama which is good thing. with Robin finally gone I think the show can move on to cooking. love kevin! he also reminds me of a young kris kringle from rankin and bass. who doesn't love a guy that looks like young santa?

             
            1. re: trolley
              j
              jeanmarieok Nov 19, 2009 10:56 AM

              He looks just like Kris Kringle - that's exactly what my husband said. He doesn't watch the show, but wandered thru while it was on, and said, hey, there's Kris Kringle from the Christmas special!!!! Children of the 70's we are.....

              1. re: jeanmarieok
                Phaedrus Nov 19, 2009 12:11 PM

                A tattooed Kris Kringle at that.

                1. re: jeanmarieok
                  HabaneroJane Nov 19, 2009 01:06 PM

                  that is SO SPOT ON. He does look like Kris Kringle! haaaaah!

          2. s
            StheJ Nov 18, 2009 06:35 PM

            1. Michael: I mean you didn't know to make a ballotine when everyone else is making a ballotine? and Padma specifically says that you should make a protein in a protein in a protein? What did he think when he looked around and everyone else was making a ballotine?

            2. Bryan: Kevin is making simple dishes? Maybe he should concentrate on making good food rather than culinary masturbation. The food he cooks on his day off? Please...

            8 Replies
            1. re: StheJ
              LindaWhit Nov 18, 2009 06:38 PM

              Isn't it Michael saying Kevin makes the food he makes on his day off, not Bryan? And I thought the same thing - a ballontine was described; why didn't Michael make it?

              1. re: LindaWhit
                s
                StheJ Nov 18, 2009 06:42 PM

                I can't keep the brothers straight... You're right it's Michael.

              2. re: StheJ
                soniabegonia Nov 19, 2009 10:41 AM

                I thought Padma described what a ballotine was and what Gavin did for Bocuse d’Or. Then she told the chefs to make their version of Gavin’s dish. I didn’t think it was inappropriate or at all out of character for Michael to not take such a literal approach.

                1. re: soniabegonia
                  e
                  Ericandblueboy Nov 19, 2009 10:58 AM

                  Things get lost during the editing process. Until I read Tom's blog, I thought Kevin had won a spot on team USA, not just the right to compete for that spot on team USA.

                  1. re: Ericandblueboy
                    LindaWhit Nov 19, 2009 12:29 PM

                    Well, it was discussed in the previous episode's thread when we saw the previews.

                  2. re: soniabegonia
                    HabaneroJane Nov 19, 2009 01:07 PM

                    sometimes i wonder if padma knows what she's talking about in the first place...to hear her chiming in (infrequently based on what we saw on TV) at the table with the caliber of chefs they had there last night was almost had me cringing..

                    1. re: HabaneroJane
                      d
                      dagwood Nov 19, 2009 01:20 PM

                      I've thought about that too actually, and I'm kind of torn on that. Sometimes I think she's clearly not in the same league as the other chef judges and doesn't belong there, but then I think it's also nice to have a non-chef palate judging the food as well. Good food is good food, and while a chef may be thinking more about what went in to making a dish, she'd judging based solely on the flavor and presentation.

                      Again, I'm of two minds on that. I see your point, but also see how she is valuable.

                      1. re: HabaneroJane
                        r
                        reiflame Nov 19, 2009 02:04 PM

                        If you read Gail's blog, she talks about how nervous the judges were about that dinner - you can sort of tell during some of the shots of them talking about the food.

                  3. s
                    StheJ Nov 18, 2009 06:50 PM

                    Kevin: You know the competition is about presenting perfection, but you're not going to even try to do that and just concentrate on your flavors? Someone's learning about how to play the top chef game...

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: StheJ
                      LindaWhit Nov 18, 2009 06:54 PM

                      Yes, but it sounds like *no one* got it right this time. Usually you hear a good bit of praise for one or more chefs; this time, everyone had something wrong. The bone from Michael's salmon served to one judge; Bryan's and Eli's undercooked lamb, Jen's unevenly cut and sometimes undercooked salmon, and Kevin's simplicity.

                      This is a hard one to call, but I'm leaning towards Bryan winning. And perhaps Michael or Eli going home.

                      OMG, Kevin WINS! And oooh, doesn't THAT put Michael in his place?

                      1. re: LindaWhit
                        m
                        momjamin Nov 18, 2009 06:57 PM

                        I think Kevin left JT before the others just so he could sit down before his knees gave out ;-)

                        1. re: momjamin
                          LindaWhit Nov 18, 2009 06:59 PM

                          LOL! Very true!

                          And as suspected, Eli's out. I think when they showed the Eli/Kevin friendship at the beginning, it was the Elves hinting that he might go.

                          1. re: momjamin
                            d
                            Dee S Nov 19, 2009 05:33 AM

                            I was waiting for Kevin to show some emotion at JT. He was so restrained but there was a glimmer of tears in his eyes. I'm glad he won but was worried that he might be told to PYKAG, based on the editing.

                            This was a good episode.

                          2. re: LindaWhit
                            mnosyne Nov 18, 2009 08:21 PM

                            Listen, someone has to defend the great Mediterranean salmon! Oh, and the Mediterranean sturgeon too.

                            1. re: LindaWhit
                              Ruth Lafler Nov 19, 2009 11:16 AM

                              I don't think it was that the dishes weren't good -- it was clear that they were. The judges were just being veeeeerrryyy nitpicky, as was appropriate for a challenge that was about perfection. As usual, the comments at judges table were edited to create some suspense about who was going home, which is why they were focusing on the negatives of the various dishes and not the positives. If the only bad thing that could say about Kevin's dish was that it was too simple (and in this case, simple was relative), then it must have been pretty darn good!

                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                LindaWhit Nov 19, 2009 12:30 PM

                                Agreed - that's the dish I would have most wanted to try.

                                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                  n
                                  newhavener07 Nov 19, 2009 12:43 PM

                                  That's funny, Ruth. I tuned in late--just in time for Judge's Table, and they were being so harsh and critical with everything that for a moment I thought they'd send everyone home! I thought all of the chefs had lost their basic skills overnight. Then the judges threw in some back-handed compliments and I started to get what was happening. Very interesting episode: can you imagine being judged on those standards every day?

                            2. a
                              AMFM Nov 18, 2009 07:13 PM

                              I love Kevin more every week. "simple" or not (although I thought it looked lovely!) his food looks great to me. And frankly it was the only one the judges all seemed to love the taste of. And in the end really that's why we're foodies. :)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: AMFM
                                s
                                StheJ Nov 18, 2009 07:16 PM

                                I agree. I really like Kevin/his food. Simple or not, he's really learned how to play the game... Plus, he reminds me of a civil war general.

                                1. re: AMFM
                                  n
                                  newhavener07 Nov 19, 2009 12:44 PM

                                  I love Kevin, but the Grizzly Adams look he's sporting in the next show is a little much. If he worked in my restaurant, I'd make him wear a full-head hairnet.
                                  Move over, Tom. There's a new bear in the house.

                                2. a
                                  AMFM Nov 18, 2009 07:52 PM

                                  Oh and I really liked the collaborative spirit in this episode - Brian helping Kevin and Jen helping Brian. Good to see.

                                  1. j
                                    joninaz Nov 18, 2009 07:56 PM

                                    I think the surprise was that the judges harped on Kevin's simplicity, but gave him the win. I thought he was safe, but didn't expect a win, given the editing and comments.

                                    Kudos to Kevin - he's the type of chef you'd want to hang out with, enjoying a beer and pork product on a paper plate. Nice, funny, humble.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: joninaz
                                      e
                                      Ericandblueboy Nov 18, 2009 08:06 PM

                                      Everyone has a different perspective. I think Kevin's food looks good but it is less refined. Having eaten out at many top restaurants all over the world, I think I'm less appreciative of the simple food and I'm more wowed by the inventive dishes. I can see that someone else might appreciate Kevin's more basic cooking techniques, though done to perfection.

                                      Having correctly called the top 4, I'll wait to see if I called the top 3 correctly next week - Kevin, Bryan, and Michael.

                                      1. re: Ericandblueboy
                                        s
                                        sharonlouk Nov 19, 2009 01:04 PM

                                        I agree. I think perspective has a lot to do with some of us in the Kevin fan club. A meal at Volt would be wasted on me. Most of the time I don't even understand the descriptions of Bryan's and Michael's dishes. But Kevin, well, he's right up my alley, and it doesn't hurt that he reminds me so much of my son, who is also a mensch. I also think you are right on with your top 3, although a mistake by anyone could land them in the bottom. Has Kevin even made a mistake this whole season?

                                        1. re: Ericandblueboy
                                          s
                                          soupkitten Nov 19, 2009 03:18 PM

                                          i think that the idea that a food/cooking technique is "simple" or "basic" and therefore is easy to do is a flawed one. some of the best chefs in the world prepare and present the very best ingredients, simply, and the technical aspects of the presentation are no less exacting and often take years of mastery. otoh some very "refined" plates are at their heart very processed, mass-produced artificial foods that are designed to hold up visually, and impact the eye and the sensibility of the diner rather than the palate. when the elements of the plate are examined individually, often there are failures in execution which can unravel a plate, or a meal. it seems that michael v. doesn't understand this and he'd rather shoot for complexity. he gets frustrated when the chef who makes good food wins-- why should this surprise anyone? put michael v. and kevin in an underground sewer pipe with a butane torch, a head of cabbage, and a twinkie, and i'd rather eat kevin's food. give the same chefs unlimited time and access to the world's finest ingredients and best cooking equipment. . . i'd still eat kevin's food. that's why they picked him as a contender for the culinary olympic team, not his competitor.

                                          as far as michael's "refined" plates, i liken it to all the bells & whistles on the chowhound site lately. sometimes the compex concepts interfere with loading. if the muffed execution of a coupla plate garnishes interfere with the basic enjoyment of the dish, the end result is frustrating and irritating rather than enjoyable.

                                          1. re: soupkitten
                                            Caitlin McGrath Nov 19, 2009 06:59 PM

                                            Thank you, soupkitten, for articulating those points so well. Kevin's food is not as manipulated as that of the brothers Volt, but it's clear that his technique and execution are right up there, and that he is fully capable of building complex flavors (think of his deconstructed mole or mushroom and greens dish and what the judges had to say about them).

                                            1. re: soupkitten
                                              chowser Nov 20, 2009 08:56 AM

                                              LOL, kind of like saying Elle McPherson can be so boring compared to Pamela Anderson.;-) To each her own.

                                              1. re: soupkitten
                                                d
                                                dmd_kc Nov 21, 2009 10:49 PM

                                                I don't think it's coincidental that the head judge became famous for making very, very simple food extremely well. His (delightful) recipes have a minimum of ingredients, and focus closely on technique instead of intricacies.

                                                1. re: dmd_kc
                                                  a
                                                  Atahualpa Nov 23, 2009 01:42 PM

                                                  I think Kevin reminds me of an American (southern) version of Au Pied du Cochon's Martin Picard.

                                          2. dave_c Nov 18, 2009 10:28 PM

                                            This episode explains (in my mind) why Eli got a pass over Robin. Chef Tom would want the best chefs for tonight's episode. If Robin made it through, the distinguished panel of chefs would have wondered what the TC judges were smoking.

                                            Robin or Eli. The end results would have been the same top four.

                                            Jen is looking tired. However, the previews for Napa shows Padma with a new cut and the cheftestants better groomed. Maybe, Jen had a chance to recharge.

                                            11 Replies
                                            1. re: dave_c
                                              m
                                              MartinDC Nov 19, 2009 04:58 AM

                                              Not just Padma. EVERYONE looked all tarted up in next week's preview.

                                              1. re: MartinDC
                                                i
                                                isadorasmama Nov 19, 2009 06:27 AM

                                                I noticed that as well. Padma with bangs and Kevin with the...what the hell IS that on top of his head??

                                              2. re: dave_c
                                                r
                                                Reignking Nov 19, 2009 06:48 AM

                                                It looks like they'll be cooking on the wine train out of Napa to Yountville. Perhaps they are cooking at Bottega, or just serving outside of it, as Michael Chiarello is in the episode.

                                                1. re: dave_c
                                                  soniabegonia Nov 19, 2009 10:38 AM

                                                  ok, I have to say it: Padma looks like Siouxie Sioux with her new cut.

                                                  1. re: dave_c
                                                    j
                                                    jeanmarieok Nov 19, 2009 11:20 AM

                                                    It looked to me like everyone got haircuts - even Kevin. Made me laugh. Not too sure about Padma and the bangs....

                                                    1. re: dave_c
                                                      Ruth Lafler Nov 19, 2009 11:44 AM

                                                      There's several months between the taping of the finale and of the previous episodes. It would be surprising if everyone turned up looking exactly the same.

                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                        chicgail Nov 19, 2009 01:26 PM

                                                        The series itself must have been shot last spring. Kevin was talking about sticking to seasonal foods as he pulled a bunch of asparagus. So do you suppose the finale was shot some time this summer? Anyone know for sure?

                                                        1. re: chicgail
                                                          k
                                                          KTinNYC Nov 19, 2009 01:35 PM

                                                          The finale was shot several weeks ago, not in the summer.

                                                          1. re: chicgail
                                                            farmersdaughter Nov 19, 2009 01:44 PM

                                                            They were filming up in Napa maybe 3 weeks ago. Mattin, Ron, Hector and Isabella were spotted at a terrific Peruvian restaurant in SF on Friday 10/25. Link: http://eater.com/archives/2009/10/26/...

                                                            I myself ran into Kevin and Eli just one week ago on my street in San Francisco. Shook hands with both of them and complimented them both, and Kevin was especially nice, consistent with his edits on the show.

                                                            1. re: farmersdaughter
                                                              i
                                                              isadorasmama Nov 19, 2009 05:25 PM

                                                              that's really cool! i wonder if they're used to getting recognized. must be such a bizarre feeling being able to see people on the street stop and stare and wonder if you are who they think you are.

                                                        2. re: dave_c
                                                          Justpaula Nov 21, 2009 08:17 PM

                                                          This is how Robin's dismissal last week over Eli was explained in my mind too.

                                                        3. a
                                                          attran99 Nov 18, 2009 11:06 PM

                                                          OMG...so good! I loved this episode. I thought Bryan had it in the bag. His skill level was beyond Kevin's and his presentation was much complicated. And I kept thinking of the judge's comments that Kevin's was so simple it would have been immediately dismissed in competition. But I'm very glad that he won...I love his expression of disbelief everytime he wins...so heartwarming!
                                                          The top 4 are my top picks! Very excited for the finale!

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: attran99
                                                            r
                                                            reiflame Nov 19, 2009 05:38 AM

                                                            That really confused me - during dinner, the comments on Bryan's dish were mostly positive, but then at judge's table Tom said something about Bryan's being on the bottom. I'm sure they were just being hyper-critical in this episode, but there were some huge disconnects in the editing.

                                                            1. re: attran99
                                                              p
                                                              pacheeseguy Nov 19, 2009 07:17 AM

                                                              As much as I like Kevin, and somewhat dislike Brian, I think Brian was more deserving of the honor of entering the next Bocuse d'Or. Had Brian gotten his dish done on time, I'm sure he'd of taken the win over Kevin's dish.
                                                              But based on how it went down, I'd like to have seen Kevin win this cooking event and cash,
                                                              but Brian getting the slot.Brian has more of a chance of doing well there. But I don't doubt Kevin will study his butt off preparing for the competition.

                                                              1. re: pacheeseguy
                                                                d
                                                                Dee S Nov 19, 2009 02:09 PM

                                                                Kevin will have the honor of competing to be in the next Bocuse d'Or. That was pretty clear from the time it was announced. However

                                                                You made me think of a comment I heard while they were reviewing Brian's offering at the table. I believe it was Thomas Keller (It might have been Mr. Bocuse himself....I'm old and forget things every now and then) who mentioned the dish was very close to an acceptable Bocuse d'Or presentation and would have been perfectly executed if Brian had a bit more time. Tom then asked "Could he be coached?" and the reply was a thoughtful "Yes".

                                                                Of course, since we don't know exactly when the comment was made, I'm now wondering if that comment was made during Kevin's presentation but was edited to be in Brian's presentation. I'm going to have to review the tapes again to see if there was food on the table to properly align the comment.

                                                                That comment made me think Brian would win. I also thought Kevin might be going home, since he appeared to be a bit emotional in the interviews; his nose was red as if he had been crying. Heck, I would have cried if I won the prizes he did!!!!!

                                                                1. re: pacheeseguy
                                                                  d
                                                                  Doh Nov 20, 2009 07:45 PM

                                                                  That's what I was thinking too-- give Kevin the win but Brian the spot, but Colicchio in his blog argues that Kevin has been consistently smart about the challenges and he thinks that will carry over to the competition, and that makes sense.

                                                              2. j
                                                                jeanmarieok Nov 19, 2009 03:53 AM

                                                                Michael's arrogance makes me less interested in his food. He's now said twice - Kevin's food is what I make on my day off. I hope he goes next week, and we get one more week of Jen. Kevin's expression, when he won, was priceless. He looked overcome. I think he's a great guy. I do believe it could go either way, at final, between him and one of the Voltaggio Brothers. I hope that brother is Bryan.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: jeanmarieok
                                                                  r
                                                                  reiflame Nov 19, 2009 05:41 AM

                                                                  I totally agree - and yet Kevin has 5 elimination wins to Michael's 3. Better start cooking like you do on your days off, Michael.

                                                                  1. re: reiflame
                                                                    LindaWhit Nov 19, 2009 05:47 AM

                                                                    Better start cooking like you do on your days off, Michael.
                                                                    ~~~~~~~~
                                                                    CLASSIC! :-D

                                                                2. chicgail Nov 19, 2009 04:45 AM

                                                                  So the top four are the top four we all expected. No surprises there. Here's where it gets really interesting.

                                                                  I would love to see Kevin take it all. Maybe that's hope. In my mind a "Top Chef" (or for that matter a top anything) is more than just the result they produce, in this case the food they make. It is who they are being in doing that.

                                                                  The V-boys are also very talented, but their arrogance (well, Micheal's arrogance) make it hard to want to see him win. I would never want to work for him or beside him in a kitchen.

                                                                  I would still like to see Jennifer do well, but the way she's been buckling under pressure may well be enough to keep her from the top spot. Even the best Olympic athlete, if s/he can't handle the pressure, just doesn't get the gold.

                                                                  So my personal prediction for the two finalists are Bryan and Kevin. Let's see how it plays out.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: chicgail
                                                                    ChinoWayne Nov 19, 2009 04:27 PM

                                                                    The Mrs. and I are rooting for Kevin also, he comes across as another Rick Bayless as far as cooking things that appeal to me and his humanity.

                                                                  2. i
                                                                    Indy 67 Nov 19, 2009 04:55 AM

                                                                    My favorite Kevin moment of the night: When he winked at Jen after Jen received a warm compliment from Padma during the quickfire judging.

                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Indy 67
                                                                      j
                                                                      Janet from Richmond Nov 19, 2009 05:08 AM

                                                                      Kevin is the best. His wife is a lucky woman. What a great guy. While he isn't fancy, his is the food I'd most want to try week after week. I was SOOOOOO happy he won.

                                                                      1. re: Janet from Richmond
                                                                        LindaWhit Nov 19, 2009 05:26 AM

                                                                        Agreed...he just seems like a great guy all around. I don't need all the "tarting up" of fancy looks for food - make it taste good. And throughout this show, Kevin's food seems to have always looked the most enjoyable to me and is the one I'd want to try most often.

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                          j
                                                                          jaydreb Nov 19, 2009 06:34 AM

                                                                          Although I don't need all the "tarting up" of fancy looks for food either, that WAS the challenge for this episode. And as the judges pointed out, Kevin didn't really do that.

                                                                          The other contestants' platters had flaws because they were trying to meet the criteria of making something complicated and fancy. So not really fair to give Kevin the win IMHO. (Even though Kevin is probably my favorite of the chefs).

                                                                          1. re: jaydreb
                                                                            m
                                                                            momjamin Nov 19, 2009 07:27 AM

                                                                            Be sure to read Tom's blog at bravotv.com. He explains why Kevin's win was more than Kevin winning by default (because everyone else had fatal flaws).

                                                                            1. re: jaydreb
                                                                              LindaWhit Nov 19, 2009 09:21 AM

                                                                              So not really fair to give Kevin the win IMHO.
                                                                              ~~~~~~~
                                                                              Jerome Bocuse disagrees with you. :-)

                                                                              1. re: jaydreb
                                                                                Miss Needle Nov 19, 2009 09:55 AM

                                                                                I think Colicchio really identifies with Kevin. Colicchio's food style is more rustic like Kevin but is able to do the whole dots on a plate if called for. In NYC, he was Thomas Keller's sous-chef at one point. Colicchio is comfortable and secure enough with his type of cuisine, just like Kevin. If you read his blog, he says that Kevin's got the chops to do Bocuse d'Or type of stuff if given the time.

                                                                                I do appreciate the fancy schmancy wow type of stuff. In my profile the best meal I've ever had was at a fancy pants restaurant. But I'd rather enjoy a simple well-executed high quality burger than to eat an ill-conceived and ill-prepared dish with a lot of show value.

                                                                                1. re: jaydreb
                                                                                  e
                                                                                  Ericandblueboy Nov 19, 2009 10:29 AM

                                                                                  The other contestants' platters had flaws because they were trying to meet the criteria of making something complicated and fancy. So not really fair to give Kevin the win IMHO. (Even though Kevin is probably my favorite of the chefs).
                                                                                  ***
                                                                                  I agree with that logic but I don't know the rules of Bocuse d’Or or whether they followed those rules. IIRC, one early comment was that Kevin's food didn't qualify for the Bocuse d’Or because it didn't meet the criteria, but Kevin won anyway.

                                                                            2. re: Indy 67
                                                                              p
                                                                              Pierate Nov 19, 2009 06:07 AM

                                                                              I also noticed that and it inched Kevin closer, IMO, to the contesant that is most deserving of being the TC. All four of the remaining contestants deserve to be where they are, I don't think there is much argument there. However this is not top cook it is top chef, and a chef must be much more than just a great cook. Although a chef must cook well they must also be adaptable, resourceful, and a leader. I think over the course of this season Kevin has shown he best exemplifies those qualities, with Bryan just behind. So those two are my choice for the finals.

                                                                              Also, regarding the helpfulness displayed in this episode, I am reminded of a previous season when Spike bought (or chose?) an item and did not use them. He only wanted to prevent the other contestants from being able to use them. A ploy designed to help him win the challenge. Clearly not a trait of a TC.

                                                                              1. re: Pierate
                                                                                Phaedrus Nov 19, 2009 06:17 AM

                                                                                Could it be that these contestants saw how cooperative the TCM contestants were? Or is it a sign that we are seeing some true professional chefs?

                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                  g
                                                                                  gastrotect Nov 19, 2009 06:38 AM

                                                                                  I think this was filmed before TCM ever aired. At least I would assume so since TCM aired not all that long ago. So I think they are just true professionals. It isn't the first time either. Last season, while not as talented, had plenty people willing to lend a helping hand. Jeff for example.

                                                                                  1. re: gastrotect
                                                                                    esperanza Dec 10, 2009 08:32 PM

                                                                                    false. when rick moonen (i think it was rick moonen...) guest judged, he said he knew how hard it was and how time was their trickiest ingredient or something to that effect.

                                                                                    although if you mean that TCM was filmed before but aired after, then maybe you are right. either way, i do agree that this season was full of exceptionally talented chefs.

                                                                                    1. re: esperanza
                                                                                      g
                                                                                      gastrotect Dec 14, 2009 11:00 AM

                                                                                      No, no I meant it hadn't AIRED when this had been filmed. TCM had already been filmed, or at least partially filmed I'm sure.

                                                                              2. re: Indy 67
                                                                                g
                                                                                gastrotect Nov 19, 2009 06:40 AM

                                                                                That was great. I figured Jen had the QF wrapped up right there after Padma said "Welcome back." That had to be a good feeling and I'm glad Kevin recognized that.

                                                                              3. LindaWhit Nov 19, 2009 05:55 AM

                                                                                Tom's Bravo blog really explains a lot about Paul Bocuse, the Bocuse d'Or, and what goes into being the country's representative...and as I thought - Kevin won the chance to compete against others to be the American representative.

                                                                                http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/blogs...

                                                                                Interesting that when Tom critiques each cheftestant's dishes, Eli's was uniformly horrible, it seems. Everyone got raw lamb - not just undercooked - raw.

                                                                                And he gives a bit of a jab at Michael at the very end of his blog:

                                                                                "I believe that Kevin was the best choice anyway, both to win the challenge and to go on to compete for the spot at the next Bocuse d’Or, and here’s why: I don’t care how often Michael says that he cooks like Kevin on his days off – we know Kevin has great skills. They’re not even at question. While Kevin does not typically think of food along the lines that they do in the Bocuse d’Or, he has handled every challenge – this one included – extremely intelligently, ascertaining what the particular challenge called for, what its potential pitfalls might be (so he could sidestep them), and what might be both a clever and a truly delicious dish to present for that particular challenge."

                                                                                15 Replies
                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                  r
                                                                                  rocks67 Nov 19, 2009 06:15 AM

                                                                                  Hurray for Kevin!!! That was a satisfying episode all around.

                                                                                  I have to agree... where is all of this arrogance coming from in Michael? If that's how you cook on your days off, then I suggest you ACT like it's your day off and start cooking consistently. I think that's the problem. I'm really only seeing consistency in Kevin and Bryan. Michael and Jen and Eli are all over the board. Glad to see Jen win the QF, however. I think she really needed that.

                                                                                  I predict the final three will be, in no particular order, Kevin, Jen and Bryan. I really think Michael is boxing himself out of this, ala Stefan. Arrogance only goes so far - if you can't back it up with a CONSISTENTLY great meal, it doesn't matter. and that's what Kevin has been giving them most of the time. I will take consistently great cooked food full of flavor over some flash in the pan latest technique.

                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                    Phaedrus Nov 19, 2009 06:18 AM

                                                                                    Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                      LindaWhit Nov 19, 2009 09:13 AM

                                                                                      Another great blog is the interview by Andrew Friedman ("Knives at Dawn") with Jerome Bocuse at a viewing party in NYC last night. He explains quite well what helped Kevin to win last night's competition. Turns out flavor/taste is 2/3 of the score in the actual Bocuse d'Or and presentation is 1/3, so Kevin's tactic of presenting “complex flavor wrapped up in a very nice, neat, simple buckle." was a very good one.

                                                                                      http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/blogs/burning-questions/solving-the-bocuse-d-or-puzzle

                                                                                      Also - a very sweet blog posted by Blais re: his friendship/working relationship with Eli:
                                                                                      http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/blogs...

                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                        c
                                                                                        cmvan Nov 19, 2009 09:22 AM

                                                                                        Also note Eli's mom's comment under Blais's blog.

                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                          Phaedrus Nov 19, 2009 01:01 PM

                                                                                          Man, I'm tearing up now. That was a great blog about Eli. I don't know what happened between Eli and Robin,but that guy has nothing to do with Blais' buddy.

                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                            chicgail Nov 19, 2009 01:31 PM

                                                                                            Maybe it was the pressure.
                                                                                            Maybe it was the magical editing elves.
                                                                                            Maybe Robin occurred for him a little too much like his mother.

                                                                                            1. re: chicgail
                                                                                              LindaWhit Nov 19, 2009 06:28 PM

                                                                                              I vote for all three. :-)

                                                                                            2. re: Phaedrus
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                                                                                              Ericandblueboy Nov 19, 2009 07:15 PM

                                                                                              Maybe you people bought too much into the editing and judge people too harshly. You can't judge the food without tasting and you can't judge the character of the person based on a TV show.

                                                                                              1. re: Ericandblueboy
                                                                                                LindaWhit Nov 20, 2009 05:06 AM

                                                                                                And yet everyone does "judge" or have an opinion on the people on these shows, including yourself. You said above "Everyone has a different perspective. I think Kevin's food looks good but it is less refined." How would you know without tasting it?

                                                                                                :::::shrug::::: Nature of the beast. We have have opinions and express them, as do you. Sometimes our opinions are changed based on additional knowledge given to us, such as Blais' blog.

                                                                                            3. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                              d
                                                                                              dagwood Nov 19, 2009 01:28 PM

                                                                                              That was really sweet. Thanks for posting that.

                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                g
                                                                                                gastrotect Nov 20, 2009 07:05 AM

                                                                                                Remember when everyone was wondering why Eli was living with his parents? After reading Blais' blog it may be because Eli doesn't really have a financial leg to stand on. Working for years (or summer breaks as it were) unpaid doesn't exactly leave one with disposable income. Or, you know, income at all.

                                                                                                Anyway, that was a fantastic read and you can really tell Blais had been wanting to put that post out for quite awhile. It definitely shines a different light (and probably a much more realistic one) on Eli.

                                                                                                1. re: gastrotect
                                                                                                  LindaWhit Nov 20, 2009 07:20 AM

                                                                                                  Yup, I was definitely one of them. The blog definitely helped get more info out about Eli. I still think he's rather childish in how he dealt with Robin, but hey - we're all childish at times. :-)

                                                                                                  1. re: gastrotect
                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                    momjamin Nov 20, 2009 07:28 AM

                                                                                                    I thought the same thing -- that Blais certainly gave us a clue about why he's living at home ;-)

                                                                                                    Early in the season, when I found out Eli was such good friends with Richard, I figured he must be a good guy and promising chef, if a little young and rough around the edges (cf Robin).

                                                                                                  2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                    Joanie Nov 20, 2009 07:41 AM

                                                                                                    That was pretty sweet, I was surprised when Eli shed tears thinking he'd be a hard ass but not so. And I was a little surprised he was the one to get the boot since they didn't harp on the under/undone lamb that much compared to Michael's flavors, but I think it was a bit pre-determined to have the other 4 in the next to last showdown.

                                                                                                    1. re: Joanie
                                                                                                      Ruth Lafler Nov 20, 2009 09:34 AM

                                                                                                      They didn't harp on it *that we saw* -- the judging table scenes are heavily edited down to just a few minutes from several hours. In order to preserve some suspense as to who is going home the editors often choose the most negative comments about a good dish and omit some of the harshest critiques of a losing dish to make it look closer than it really was. A good example is the finale of season four, which was edited to make it appear that Richard had crashed and burned while Lisa and Stephanie were neck and neck, when according to the judges' blogs Richard was actually second behind Stephanie and Lisa was far behind.

                                                                                                2. i
                                                                                                  isadorasmama Nov 19, 2009 06:38 AM

                                                                                                  As others have commented, this was a great episode.

                                                                                                  What I walked away with was a great appreciation for the camaraderie between the chefs. The wink from Kevin when he overheard Padma compliment Jen. Jen using her leftover time after preparing her EC dishes to help Brian because she could clearly see he was on a time crunch. Even Eli who I had yet to feel any love for until this episode with a very humble and heartfelt goodbye.

                                                                                                  I was surprised that none of them produced a worthy Bocuse d'Or dish. Was it impossible to do so in the time alloted? Were they all set up for failure? I suppose not since Kevin was able to execute well and only lost points for lack of innovation.

                                                                                                  Going by sight alone Kevin and Brian had the dishes I would've most liked to sample. Jen's was next. Neither Michael's nor Eli's looked the least bit appealing.

                                                                                                  I hope it's Brian, Jen, and Kevin in the final three. They all embody both the talent and the attitudes of what I'd think a Top Chef should have.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: isadorasmama
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                                                                                                    gastrotect Nov 19, 2009 07:20 AM

                                                                                                    I would actually argue that they were set up for failure in a way. Kevin won because he did something he knew would not only be good, but could be done in the time allotted. But truthfully, it wasn't really a Bocuse d'Or level dish because it lacked innovation. I actually don't have a problem with that and I completely think he deserved the win; however, to create a complete Bocuse dish I can't imagine it was enough time (for neither prep/design nor actual cooking).

                                                                                                    1. re: isadorasmama
                                                                                                      goodhealthgourmet Nov 19, 2009 08:48 AM

                                                                                                      "Was it impossible to do so in the time alloted? Were they all set up for failure? "
                                                                                                      ~~~~~~~
                                                                                                      preparing for the Bocuse D'Or requires an *enormous* commitment of time & energy. as Gavin Kaysen said, it took him *four months* to perfect his ballotine for the competition. so my answers to your questions would be yes, and yes.

                                                                                                    2. k
                                                                                                      ktb615 Nov 19, 2009 07:06 AM

                                                                                                      I would like to add something else that I noticed this morning. This is the first time in Top Chef history that the four finalists have won all of the elimination challenges between them. Nobody that has been eliminated up to this point won an elimination challenge. I think that speaks to the talent of these four chefs, and the disparity between them and the chefs under them who were talented, but just not on the same level.

                                                                                                      67 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: ktb615
                                                                                                        HabaneroJane Nov 19, 2009 07:38 AM

                                                                                                        I wish they'd have kicked Michael out last night instead of Eli if not for his sheer hubris in saying that "the food Kevin cooks is what I cook for myself on my day off." The arrogance! And he blew it last night, I thought, more than Eli did.

                                                                                                        1. re: HabaneroJane
                                                                                                          s
                                                                                                          StheJ Nov 19, 2009 08:01 AM

                                                                                                          Perhaps... but I think that aside from Michael's hubris and the fact that it probably is not a "top chef" quality, he's a great chef. I mean if he cooks that on his day off, why doesn't he stop with all the arrogant bs and concentrate on cooking a dish that truly tastes/looks great even if it is not the most technically extravagant thing in the universe? Top Chef is a competition and they have to play the game. Time and again, we've seen that cheftestants are better off ignoring the challenge and cooking a kick a** meal, than strictly adhering to the challenge's rules and neglecting to bring the sabor...

                                                                                                          1. re: StheJ
                                                                                                            g
                                                                                                            gregb Nov 19, 2009 09:24 AM

                                                                                                            Michael doesn't cook that food because he holds himself to a different level. He knows he can cook great food, but the challenge to cook something worthy of Bocuse d'Or was something Michael really honed in on. He may have missed with his direction and cohesiveness of flavors, but he views what he did as superior to Kevin.
                                                                                                            In that sense, I don't think Michael's comment was as obnoxious as they made it sound. He literally meant, the stuff Kevin is cooking for a mini Bocuse d'Or is not nearly as intricate or complex as the food I am creating.
                                                                                                            Michael is more outwardly arrogant than the other chefs, but compared with some personalities from previous seasons (alla Marcel and Stefan), he isn't nearly as bad...Plus, he's a much better chef than his cocky predecessors.

                                                                                                            1. re: gregb
                                                                                                              LindaWhit Nov 19, 2009 09:41 AM

                                                                                                              he views what he did as superior to Kevin.
                                                                                                              In that sense, I don't think Michael's comment was as obnoxious as they made it sound. He literally meant, the stuff Kevin is cooking for a mini Bocuse d'Or is not nearly as intricate or complex as the food I am creating.
                                                                                                              ~~~~
                                                                                                              Yes, but just because *he* views what he did as superior doesn't mean it is or was. While he might respect Kevin as a chef, he was still being condescending and dismissive of Kevin's cooking.

                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                s
                                                                                                                StheJ Nov 19, 2009 10:38 AM

                                                                                                                I agree with LindaWhit above... Just because he believes his food is better because he uses more intricate techniques, doesn't make it so. Sometimes this stuff just gets in the way of the dish/the flavor/distracts a chef like Michael from making a truly superb dish flavorwise.

                                                                                                                "Michael doesn't cook that food because he holds himself to a different level. He knows he can cook great food, but the challenge to cook something worthy of Bocuse d'Or was something Michael really honed in on. He may have missed with his direction and cohesiveness of flavors, but he views what he did as superior to Kevin."

                                                                                                                Not to beat a dead horse, but TC is a competition, use all the sexy cooking techniques you want and show me your knife skills, but if all this detracts from your putting out a superior product in terms of taste within the confines of the challenge, then you've failed... both in terms of taste and in terms of being a "top chef" because you weren't circumspect enough to work within the challenge.

                                                                                                                I mean of courese all of the remaining chefs could produce something worthy of the Bocuse d'Or with unlimited time and resources... Michael's problem is that he is foolish enough to think that he can do it in 12 hours or however long they had for this EC.

                                                                                                                1. re: StheJ
                                                                                                                  g
                                                                                                                  gregb Nov 19, 2009 11:46 AM

                                                                                                                  I don't disagree, I just think Michael is really getting a bad wrap for his comment which, in the right context, was more a comment on Kevin's style vs. Michael's style from a Bocuse d'Or perspective.
                                                                                                                  The judges dismissed the food Kevin presented as not worthy of Bocuse d'Or even though it was best and won him the title.
                                                                                                                  I'm not a Michael fan, I just don't think his comment was as cocky as some people here do. Personally, I think his comment about Gavin not telling him to make a ballontine was more obnoxious!

                                                                                                                  1. re: gregb
                                                                                                                    Caitlin McGrath Nov 19, 2009 07:18 PM

                                                                                                                    I might better buy that if he hadn't made the same comment before about Kevin's cooking (incidentally, about an EC Kevin went on to win, the vegetarian challenge). I don't think it was just in the context of the Bocuse d'Or, I think he really thinks his more involved style is better than Kevin's more straightforward style.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath
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                                                                                                                      Ericandblueboy Nov 19, 2009 07:23 PM

                                                                                                                      If both executed to perfection, the more complex would win. The problem is the failure in execution by Michael and Bryan. Yes Kevin won, because his dish failed less than others, not because his dish was executed to perfection. It is by default - Tom's blog points that out.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Ericandblueboy
                                                                                                                        Caitlin McGrath Nov 19, 2009 08:00 PM

                                                                                                                        Were you replying to me? My reply to gregb's post was about my perception about Michael's attitude about Kevin's cooking in general. As I said there, based on what he's said not only last night but previously, I think his comments in last night's episode reflect how he feels in general about Kevin's cooking rather than only in the context of the B d'O challenge. I was describing my perception of Michael's feeling about Kevin over the season, not commenting on the circumstances of the latter's winning last night.

                                                                                                                        Tom and Jerome Bocuse both say in the bravotv.com features, however, that Kevin was the best choice not only by default.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Ericandblueboy
                                                                                                                          JasmineG Nov 19, 2009 09:12 PM

                                                                                                                          No, Tom's blog specifically says that it was NOT by default, and that Kevin's food "was more precisely cooked and had better flavor than the others, period."

                                                                                                                          1. re: JasmineG
                                                                                                                            r
                                                                                                                            rocks67 Nov 20, 2009 10:32 AM

                                                                                                                            Thank you for clarifying that, Jasmine. Seems a few people are making assumptions that shouldn't be made based on technique.

                                                                                                                            Hand's down, Kevin's food has been winning on flavor first, then execution.

                                                                                                                            1. re: rocks67
                                                                                                                              Ruth Lafler Nov 20, 2009 12:01 PM

                                                                                                                              There's a different between "execution" and "presentation" -- Kevin's food has been perfectly executed, which is part of why it tastes good. What he doesn't do is intricate presentation or experimental flavor combinations, but given his technical skill, that's by choice, not because he doesn't he doesn't have the technical chops (unlike, for example, someone like Robin).

                                                                                                                            2. re: JasmineG
                                                                                                                              e
                                                                                                                              Ericandblueboy Nov 20, 2009 08:04 PM

                                                                                                                              You people have selective reading. Tom posted this:

                                                                                                                              "Bryan’s lamb, while not as terrible as Eli’s, was still pretty bad. Had it been better cooked, Bryan just may have won this challenge, as his dish was very sophisticated."

                                                                                                                              That means Kevin won by default.

                                                                                                                              1. re: JasmineG
                                                                                                                                e
                                                                                                                                Ericandblueboy Nov 20, 2009 08:06 PM

                                                                                                                                No, Tom's blog specifically says that it was NOT by default, and that Kevin's food "was more precisely cooked and had better flavor than the others, period."
                                                                                                                                ***
                                                                                                                                Tom talks out both sides of his mouth. On the one hand he said Kevin's win seems like a win by default but then he goes on and said Kevin's food tasted the best. He also said, had Bryan cooked his food better, he would've won. So but for Bryan's mistake, he would've won. That means Kevin won by default.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Ericandblueboy
                                                                                                                                  d
                                                                                                                                  debbiel Nov 20, 2009 08:40 PM

                                                                                                                                  That's just a bit silly. That would mean any win was a win by default; obviously whoever wins wins because other people performed beneath that person. That is all that happened here. Had Bryan done better, he would have won. But he did not do better. Kevin won by default because the person who was deemed to have performed best wins.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy
                                                                                                                                    Caitlin McGrath Nov 20, 2009 09:00 PM

                                                                                                                                    He's not talking out both sides of his mouth. He says, "On the one hand, it seems Kevin won by default, as his slightly overcooked lamb was minor in scope compared with the errors in conception and execution of his fellow chefs. On the other hand, however, I believe that Kevin was the best choice anyway, both to win the challenge and to go on to compete for the spot at the next Bocuse d’Or"

                                                                                                                                    He didn't say Kevin won by default, he said it *seemed* that way, i.e., it *looked* that way. Then he goes on to say that despite it seeming that way, he thinks Kevin was the right choice for the win regardless.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ericandblueboy
                                                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                                                      soupkitten Nov 20, 2009 09:47 PM

                                                                                                                                      "That means Kevin won by default."

                                                                                                                                      not really. a chef's job is about *execution.* being able to successfully execute the technical aspects of a dish in a harmonious and well-timed manner, so that a concept is conveyed to the diner (however that concept is received). if a chef cannot execute her/his concepts, then that chef has failed.

                                                                                                                                      big concepts with nothing to back them up don't count-- a chef can have an idea for a spun sugar sistine chapel on a plate-- but if what is actually executed is a couple of blobs of sauce and some undercooked meat, the chef has *failed.*

                                                                                                                                      "had Bryan cooked his food better, he would've won." may as well say that carla should have won top chef nyc because if she had pulled off her dessert (instead of failing to execute it), her 3rd course would have whooped butt all over hosea's. it doesn't really matter what carla or bryan *intended* to accomplish with their dishes, does it--because they failed to *execute* them-- what matters is what ends up on the plate. if a chef fails to intelligently conceive of and competently execute a dish within a time frame, then that's a fair reflection on that person's competence and maturity as a craftsperson (as well as pointing to their lack of technical mastery), and the judges *must* take it into account. if a chef consistently shoots for big half-cocked overblown concepts but fails to execute anything like a well-cooked, harmonious, thoughtful plate, imo--that chef is probably not the one to represent a nation's, a culture's or a people's cuisine.

                                                                                                                                      bryan and michael's overextending themselves, failing to exhibit mastery of technique/failure to execute their dishes is by no means a small detail-- it's really major! who of us would tolerate ordering a main at a restaurant, then receiving a plate that was missing several elements described on the menu? what good is a grandiose concept if a chef can't pull it off?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: soupkitten
                                                                                                                                        j
                                                                                                                                        jaydreb Nov 23, 2009 05:57 AM

                                                                                                                                        Well, in Bryan's defense, he failed to execute his dish because he was trying to cook a Bocuse D'Or quality plate, in accordance with the challenge. Had he chosen to do something simple - like Kevin - he would have had no problem cooking the lamb.

                                                                                                                                        In the QF, Michael was criticized here for not making a proper ballantine. Well, according to the judges, Kevin did not make a dish worthy of the Bocuse D'Or (I believe Keller said his dish would be dismissed immediately b/c of its simplicity). Yet he still won.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jaydreb
                                                                                                                                          a
                                                                                                                                          AMFM Nov 23, 2009 06:48 AM

                                                                                                                                          he didn't say dismissed immediately. that was for michael and the bone in his salmon. he did note it would likely be too simple.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: AMFM
                                                                                                                                            d
                                                                                                                                            dagwood Nov 23, 2009 06:58 AM

                                                                                                                                            My recollection is that he said they would both have been eliminated . (Kevin for simplicity, Michael for the bone)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: AMFM
                                                                                                                                              Ruth Lafler Nov 23, 2009 07:07 AM

                                                                                                                                              Actually, I think Tom did say Kevin's dish would be dismissed immediately. After all, they wouldn't know about the bone in the salmon until they tried it. They did say the bone in the salmon would have disqualified the dish.

                                                                                                                                              Regardless, as Tom pointed out in his blog, Kevin showed his intelligence in the way he approached the challenge. Knowing that it was impossible to make a perfect Bocuse d'Or dish in the time he had, he chose to make a simple dish well rather than a complicated dish poorly, and the judges chose to reward that. In the end, as Tom pointed out, judging for the Bocuse d'Or is 2/3 taste, 1/3 presentation, so choosing a dish that was delicious rather than one Tom described as "pretty bad" and saved only because Eli's was worse, isn't unreasonable.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: jaydreb
                                                                                                                                              chicgail Nov 23, 2009 07:16 AM

                                                                                                                                              It's probably true that Kevin's dish wouldn't have won the Bocuse D'Or. But this wasn't the Boscuse D'Or. It was Top Chef. Influenced by Bocuse D'Or, perhaps, but Top Chef nonetheless. Different rules. Different contestants. Different food. Different traditions. Different judges.

                                                                                                                                              And Keller wasn't a judge.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: chicgail
                                                                                                                                                Ruth Lafler Nov 23, 2009 08:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                The Volt Brothers seem to have a passionate posse who post in their defense on these boards (and others, you should have seen the indignant comments about how hurtful the blog was to Micheals wife and children on one blog where the blogger was fantasizing about how hot Michael is). Jaydreb posts on the DC boards, so I assume he's eaten at Bryan's restaurant and perhaps even knows him; thus he has a somewhat skewed perspective.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                  chowser Nov 23, 2009 09:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                  I don't know Jaydreb or if he's eaten at Volt but could it be possible that someone who posts on the DC board might have legitimate reasons for liking either brother other than being biased? I think that falls along the lines of some posters here being accused of liking Jen just because she's female. FWIW, I like Jen, not because she's female but because when she's on, she's on and she's done things like helping out competitors when she had the spare half hour. I like Bryan because it looks like his food is innovative and creative and he grew on me when he helped Kevin with making sous vide and the comment about that's what real chefs do--it's about sharing information and wanting to learn. It has nothing to do with the fact that I post on the DC board ( and have not eaten at Volt) any more than my liking Jen has to do with being female. I like Kevin because he's a nice guy and great chef, not because he looks like Kris Kringle and 'tis the season. I don't like Michael, though he's made creative food, because he's a jerk and, yes, for me personality matters. I boycott companies if I think the CEO is a jerk. They might not be legitmate reasons for wanting someone to win, to some, but they're legitimate to me.

                                                                                                                                                  Is Michael married? I thought he was single for reason. Hot? I'll pass on that comment.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                    Ruth Lafler Nov 23, 2009 10:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                    There's a difference between saying you like Bryan's food and feeling the need to defend him over this particular dish. I like Bryan fine. From what I've seen he's an excellent chef. That doesn't mean he deserves to win a specific challenge he didn't execute well nor that it's fair to run down the chef who did win. Bryan may be an excellent sport, but the people who feel the need to put down the other chefs in order to make excuses for Bryan aren't.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                      chowser Nov 23, 2009 11:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                      I guess I didn't get the feeling that jaydreb was running down another chef in order to elevate Bryan's. I thought Bryan had done pretty well and was in the running, from the editing. It sounded like they were debating between someone who had a great concept but failed to execute it as well as someone who had a simpler concept but executed it perfectly. I agree w/ the judges' decision but I do see how some might decide otherwise. I thought it seemed pretty close. I wasn't talking about the posters who put down other chefs to elevate the ones they like, just about jaydreb's, although I shouldn't speak for him. I just don't see his post as showing an obvious bias, despite his being from DC, and thought your assumption that he must be biased because he's from DC which is why he thought Bryan's dish deserved to win was unfounded. As I said, in previous threads, I've heard criticisms that the only reason someone might like Jen is that she's a woman and I thought that was unfounded, too.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                        Ruth Lafler Nov 23, 2009 12:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                        My feeling that jaydreb was biased toward Bryan was based on comments about Kevin not doing something "worthy" of the Bocuse d'Or "yet he won" and his assertion that if Bryan had done something "simple like Kevin" he would have had "no trouble" cooking the lamb properly (which is only a supposition -- even finalists on Top Chef have miscooked their proteins). It sounded sounded like he was pitting Bryan specifically against Kevin and suggesting that Kevin didn't deserve the win and by extrapolation that Bryan did (someone had to win, and the only two people being discussed were Kevin and Bryan), even though the execution of Bryan's dish was not worthy of the Bocuse d'Or either.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                          chowser Nov 23, 2009 12:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                          I guess we both interpret the post differently. I just read it as his saying Kevin's dish was simple (which the judges have said) and that Bryan could have done well had he done something simple, too. It's theoretical, maybe Bryan would have botched a simple dish, also. Who knows. But the criticism that Kevin's dish was too simple for Bocuse D'Or type didn't originate from this board. I don't think it's putting down his dish to elevate the others. He made a smart decision and did what he could with the time restraint to make a successful dish and I'm a big proponent of Kevin's. But, it was one of the deliberating moments at the JT so it's not about biased posters.

                                                                                                                                                          I think there are biased posters here but just didn't read it in jaydreb's post as you did. Or, perhaps there's a bias in how you read it because you believe there's a passionate posse who post in their defense. As I said, I found the assumption that anyone who defends Bryan and is from DC, must be biased because he/she ate at his restaurant. Are there posters who probably are? Sure, but not a large number, not more than one that I can think of.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                            Ruth Lafler Nov 23, 2009 02:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                            I never used the word "biased" (okay, I used the word "skewed"). I was simply conjecturing that the poster was a fan of Bryan's because s/he has personally experienced his cooking. I don't think there's anything wrong with that -- if a chef whose restaurant I had eaten at and loved was on Top Chef I'd be rooting for them, too. I think it only crosses over in to bad sportsmanship when you start denigrating the competition to elevate your favored competitor. Jaydred is certainly a Bryan fan. Whether it's because s/he has actually eaten Bryan's food, or simply because he's the home town boy, or just because s/he likes his style is really irrelevent. Several people have posted this season specifically saying they'd eaten at Bryan's restaurant and how much they loved it, so it seemed plausible that a DC poster would be a fan for that reason.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                    cowboyardee Nov 23, 2009 12:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                    re: ruth's comment about the voltaggios' fan base-

                                                                                                                                                    I can't speak for others, but I can say why I like michael v. I like highly technical cooking, especially when it's done with imagination. Pretty straightforward. I also like to see hard earned skills rewarded, and i feel like michael has a lot of said skills. I am willing to overlook a little arrogance in a chef - running a kitchen does not always breed a gentle demeanor.

                                                                                                                                                    I also feel like michael has gotten a bit of a villain's edit due to lack of a better villain this season, visible brotherly badgering, and a willingness to put his foot in his mouth. For example - his comments on kevin's cooking appeared (clearly, to me) to have been prompted and edited to show the worst part of a speech that michael might well have been willing to say directly to kevin with no hard feelings. He essentially said that Kevin doesn't cook as elaborately as he does - so what? We all knew that already, kevin included. (His comment about making a bocuse d'or quality ballantine in a quickfire was most likely pure arrogance and frustration, though). More to the point - the other contestants (brian aside, at times) don't act like he is some huge asshole, which is the most telling detail of his real life demeanor (and theirs).

                                                                                                                                                    For the record, I have not been to any of michael's restaurants. Also, for the record, I like kevin and the rest of the final 4 chefs just fine - any of them would make excellent top chef winners - better than most or all previous winners, actually.

                                                                                                                                                    I suspect that some of us michael fans were also hung fans back during season 3. They exemplify the work ethic that I feel makes a chef great.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                      Ruth Lafler Nov 23, 2009 02:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                      I've stated in earlier threads that despite the fact I find his personality unappealing, Mike's food appeals to me a lot and I'd be interested to eat in his restaurant. There's a difference, though, between being a fan of the food and being a fan of the person. May the best dish win, regardless of who created it!

                                                                                                                                                2. re: jaydreb
                                                                                                                                                  t
                                                                                                                                                  Tmrock Nov 23, 2009 10:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Yes, Kevin won. This was NOT a Bocuse D'Or competition, this was a Top Chef competition. The judges decided Kevin's was the best dish and Kevin was awarded the win. The judges decided that Bryan and Michael FAILED. THE JUDGES DECIDED that Bryan and Michael FAILED. Life is tough, then you have to deal with the facts.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Tmrock
                                                                                                                                                    k
                                                                                                                                                    KTinNYC Nov 23, 2009 11:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                    "Life is tough, then you have to deal with the facts."

                                                                                                                                                    You should take your own advice. I saw the episode and I didn't hear anyone say that Bryan or Michael *FAILED*. Just because Kevin won doesn't mean the other 4 failed. As far as I can tell none of them really won it outright it was just that Kevin's was the best out of some not great dishes.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KTinNYC
                                                                                                                                                      t
                                                                                                                                                      Tmrock Nov 23, 2009 07:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                      I suggest you look up the definition of failed.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Tmrock
                                                                                                                                                      chowser Nov 23, 2009 11:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                      They all FAILED, Kevin fell less short than the others so he won.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                        Ruth Lafler Nov 23, 2009 12:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Actually, from what Tom said in his blog, they all did pretty well (except for Eli, whose lamb was considered inedible, and whose garnishes they didn't like, either). They didn't execute Bocuse d'Or worthy dishes, but they weren't working under Bocuse d'Or conditions: months to prepare, hone their dishes and practice, coached by the greatest chefs in the world. So yes, they fell short of perfection, but under conditions where perfection wasn't a goal that anyone thought was possible to achieve.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                          chowser Nov 23, 2009 12:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                          True, I was just using Tmrock's logic/words to respond. The claim that Kevin won because he didn't fail but Bryan and Michael both failed doesn't make sense.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                            t
                                                                                                                                                            Tmrock Nov 23, 2009 07:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                            One can only win a competition if the others lose, if they fail.
                                                                                                                                                            Get a dictionary. Read it.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Tmrock
                                                                                                                                                              k
                                                                                                                                                              KTinNYC Nov 23, 2009 07:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                              So all the others that finished the NYC Marathon after the winner is a failure? Okay.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Tmrock
                                                                                                                                                                chowser Nov 24, 2009 02:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                The others failed to win the competition, fine. But, that doesn't mean the dishes were all great. If you mean the others FAILED to win, that's another issue than the dishes all failed because there were criticisms about them all. I'm a big Kevin supporter and have been since the beginning, not a Volt bros. fan at all. There seems to be a big contingent of Kevin fans, however, who seem to think any support for any of the other cheftestants is biased or whining. I don't want to be part of that.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                  Ruth Lafler Nov 24, 2009 11:11 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  I hope you weren't referring to me! I've said repeatedly that I have a lot of respect for the Volt bros. skills, and that Michael's food in particular appeals to me a lot. As I said above, may the best dish win!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                    chowser Nov 24, 2009 12:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    No, not you. Sorry, I don't follow who says what that closely (which is why I don't know what jaydreb has said in the past but only in that particular post above) but just a sense of what has been said by different posters. At this point, while I support Kevin most of all, I have a lot of respect for the skills of the top 4 this season, unlike the past. I think Michael has a brilliant creativity for food; Bryan has a unique way of putting things together, along with the techniques (his food is as exciting as his speaking voice is monotone--extremely); Kevin does down home food but with his own twist and executes perfectly; Jen has the skills and techniques and when she executes it well, can be unbeatable. The finale (and it's final four this time?) will be exciting.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                      LindaWhit Nov 24, 2009 02:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      That's an excellent analysis of the four of them, chowser. While I'd like Kevin or Bryan to win (Jen was my favorite early on), I think all four are deserving of the win. Whoever goes on Dec. 2nd will be a shocker, because of the caliber of all four of them.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                        Ruth Lafler Nov 24, 2009 03:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        It depends on what you mean by "final." In the past, the finales have had two challenges, and one (or more) competitor(s) was eliminated after the first one. (S1=Dave; S2=Sam and Elia; S3=Brian; S4=Antonia; S5=Fabio).

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                          chowser Nov 24, 2009 03:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          Okay, I was thinking in terms of episodes. I thought the final episode always had three contestants and was filmed a few weeks after the episode where #4 was eliminated so it was a reunion show of sorts. Oh, it just occurred to me that the chef who wins the QF challenge in the last episode will be able to choose a sous and it will probably include the chef who was #4 which will be a huge advantage. Given the skill level and camaraderie between all of them, that'll be tremendous.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                            Ruth Lafler Nov 24, 2009 05:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            No, the final elimination takes place at the same location during the same filming period as the final-final. The first two seasons they had a final two, and the finale for S1 was Las Vegas, where Dave was eliminated in the first round (finalists Harold and Tiffani); the finale for S2 was Hawaii, where Sam and Elia were eliminated in the first round (finalists Marcel and Illan). After that they went to a three-person final-final. The finale for S3 was in Colorado, where Brian was eliminated in the first round (finalists Dale, Casey and Hung); the finale for S4 was in Puerto Rico, where Antonia was eliminated in the first round (finalists Stephanie, Richard and Lisa); the finale for S5 was in New Orleans, where Fabio was eliminated in the first round (finalists Hosea, Stefan and Carla).

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                              chowser Nov 24, 2009 06:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks, you have a far better memory than I do. I just remember the final episodes with the three remaining chefs but can't for the life of me remember who was #4 in the seasons.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                Ruth Lafler Nov 24, 2009 06:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                It's kind of scary that I remembered all that! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                                                                                  soupkitten Nov 24, 2009 07:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  i'm impressed that you did remember all that!

                                                                                                                                                                                  one detail in the nyc (s5) finale was that 3 previously eliminated contestants had a cook-off (judged by emeril) to have one more shot at the top 3. jamie, leah and jeff, i believe, and jeff won the cook-off, and then was eliminated a *second* time, along with fabio. i had mixed feelings about that particular plot twist-- seems like once you're out, you should be out. . . otoh fan favorites (like pretty-boy jeff) get another chance and it's good for ratings i suppose. but i wonder if there will be a similar move this season-- it's just that i can't picture any of this season's eliminated contestants being able to "bring it" to the plane of the final 4-- the 4 remaining chefs are on a different level than all the others, as demonstrated by the fact that nobody but the 4 of them has won an ec the whole season.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: soupkitten
                                                                                                                                                                                    Caitlin McGrath Nov 24, 2009 08:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    This is without a doubt the most lopsided season ever. Right here, we've been saying the final four were the ones to beat and would, barring some bizarre catastrophe, be in the finals from go.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten
                                                                                                                                                                                      NellyNel Nov 25, 2009 05:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      I doubt they would do that this year - since it is so clear that these top four are the cream of the crop

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                      NellyNel Nov 25, 2009 05:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Just out of curiosity -
                                                                                                                                                                                      Do you guys prefer a 3 person final?

                                                                                                                                                                                      I think I preferred the 2 person final.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                        k
                                                                                                                                                                                        KTinNYC Nov 25, 2009 05:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        I like the 2 person finale as well. The 2 person finale definitely shows more cooking and the 3 person finale has more "drama".

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KTinNYC
                                                                                                                                                                                          NellyNel Nov 25, 2009 07:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, after thinking about it, I really thing a "head to head" batlle would be much more exciting.
                                                                                                                                                                                          And yes, we'd get to see more focus on what they are doing.

                                                                                                                                                                                          This year is certainly a tough one to call - but for me - I am rooting for Kevin all the way - I think he is lovely and his food looks so good to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I think Jen or Michael will go tonight

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                            s
                                                                                                                                                                                            soupkitten Nov 25, 2009 07:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            no new episode tonight NN, we have to wait for next week :)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: soupkitten
                                                                                                                                                                                              NellyNel Nov 25, 2009 07:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh Bummer!

                                                                                                                                                                                              I kind of had a feeling...but I wasnt sure...Oh well

                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for the heads up Soup!

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Nov 25, 2009 06:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          I would say usually I'd prefer a 2-person finale (Lisa shouldn't have been there in TC4 and Hosea didn't need to be there in TC5 <g>), but this year, I do want to see 3 people in the finale - Kevin, Bryan and Jen.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                            chowser Nov 25, 2009 06:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Impossible but wouldn't it be great to have a "deserving" finale for people who should be there? Hosea, Lisa could be gone and this year, four would cook off. Well, except Hosea won--still scratching my head about that one.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Tmrock
                                                                                                                                                                          goodhealthgourmet Nov 24, 2009 08:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          "One can only win a competition if the others lose, if they fail."
                                                                                                                                                                          ~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                          in a similar vein to KT's response...i guess you think Olympic silver medalists are failures as well? please.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                            Ruth Lafler Nov 25, 2009 08:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            Yes. Or the team that loses the World Series -- obviously they're failures!

                                                                                                                                                                            I did read once, though, that Olympic silver medallists tended to be less satisfied with their medals than bronze medallists, because their perspective was that they fell just short of winning, rather than feeling satisified to have done well enough to have medalled (or not badly enough to have missed the podium).

                                                                                                                                                                            One of the truisms of our culture is that anyone can "win" if they just try hard enough. That simply isn't true in cases where there is only one winner and all the competitors are trying hard. Sometimes trying hard isn't enough to overcome circumstances or simply having less talent. Sometimes being successful has to be defined as doing the best that *you* can do, even if that isn't the best that *anyone* can do.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                              chowser Nov 25, 2009 08:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              If we could all "fail" in cooking as well as Bryan, Michael, Jen or even Eli, we'd all be eating pretty well.:-)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                Ruth Lafler Nov 25, 2009 08:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                Yup. For that matter, I'd love to be able to cook as "simply" as Kevin. Lost in the whole "Kevin's dish was too simple" discussion is that the presentation aspect of Kevin's dish was simple, but that the flavors were apparently very complex. Kevin's food isn't frou-frou, but from the descriptions of the dishes, it's far from simple in the way he develops flavors. This isn't food that's being thrown together casually, regardless of what Mike V thinks of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                  chowser Nov 25, 2009 08:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Apparently Mike V cooks better on his days off than he does on Top Chef.;-) There's a genius in being able to cook foods that are complex but make it seem simple and approachable.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                    Ruth Lafler Nov 25, 2009 11:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    In Tom's blog he made a point of saying how intelligently Kevin approaches the challenges and puts his dishes together. I think this is a good illustration of the difference between something that is "intelligent" and something that is "intellectual," which is what some of these elaborate, experimental dishes are.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                        t
                                                                                                                                                                        Tmrock Nov 23, 2009 07:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Sure Tom says they all did pretty well, this does not preclude one of them being declared the Winner - as Kevin was - and them all doing pretty well does not mean the others did not Lose, which they did.

                                                                                                                                                                        The grudge here is the constant whining from the Volt Fans that Kevin somehow was undeserving of the win. I reject that notion, as does Tom, so I'll go along with him: he was there.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Ericandblueboy
                                                                                                                                                                chowser Nov 21, 2009 03:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                Had this been Top Concept Chef, Bryan would have won. But, being a chef, execution is far more important. Did Sarah Hughes win the Olympic Gold by default because Michelle Kwan didn't skate her best performance that night but had a better routine?

                                                                                                                                              2. re: HabaneroJane
                                                                                                                                                d
                                                                                                                                                dach Nov 19, 2009 09:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                He isn't just talk though. Michael has shown a vast repertoire and the balls to throw all sorts of food out at seemingly less than most appropriate times -- from braised pork belly, nitro cucumber, udon, buffalo wings. So I can believe he could cook kevin style food very well, but his ego, chip-on-shoulder, personality won't let him 'slum' it.

                                                                                                                                                Reminds me how all the way at the beginning of the season Bryan did say something along the lines that Michael's vulnerability and possible downfall is his tendency (or was it insistence?) to shoot for the stars and possibly have it blow up in its face instead.

                                                                                                                                                I'm all for different styles. I don't want 2 Kevin's or 2 Michaels. I want variety. As IRL, no matter how much I enjoy a restaurant, I don't want to eat at same place more than once a week. Unless they served my mother's food. :)

                                                                                                                                                That said it seemed Michael did unusually poorly this challenge. Not helped by the editing portraying "Michael, misplaced arrogant vast overconfidence",. In a way this eps editing is just the typical bravo fakeout, 95% time a contestant claims a challenge is their specialty they end up fumbling badly (which at this stage could just be a slight stumble). Kevin winning pork challenge after proclaiming it his specialty was an exception.

                                                                                                                                            3. p
                                                                                                                                              pacheeseguy Nov 19, 2009 09:10 AM

                                                                                                                                              I thought maybe Thomas Keller was there to plug his new book, "Ad Hoc at Home"
                                                                                                                                              but pleased to see I was wrong.
                                                                                                                                              There is a great article about the book and him going to an Ad Hoc dinner party in this month's Esquire magazine.
                                                                                                                                              http://www.esquire.com/features/food-drink/thomas-keller-cooking-1209
                                                                                                                                              Plus he's doing a book signing at Williams-Sonoma in King of Prussia for the book.
                                                                                                                                              http://citypaper.net/blogs/mealticket...

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: pacheeseguy
                                                                                                                                                JasmineG Nov 19, 2009 10:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                I really liked this part from Tom's blog:

                                                                                                                                                One more note: You may have noticed that Thomas Keller was at the meal but did not participate at the Judges’ Table. We tried to convince him to be there, but he decided against it, citing that he didn’t want to have to be negative towards the contestants. I worked with Thomas back in the mid-80s at Rakel, where I was his sous-chef, and so I know that this decision comports with his spirit, generally.
                                                                                                                                                ---

                                                                                                                                                It seemed really in line with the cooperative spirit of last night's show.

                                                                                                                                              2. c
                                                                                                                                                calfoodie88 Nov 19, 2009 09:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                I agree with most, excellent episode, I think it was an interesting idea for Kevin to try a new technique, and he played the game right by asking the right brother for the temperature required. I predict Kevin and Bryan in the finale, with Bryan's knowledge and passion to strive for excellence whether its technique or creativity, he's coachable and has a more understanding for out-side-the-box cooking and pairing. Let's see how it pans out.

                                                                                                                                                1. j
                                                                                                                                                  jenn Nov 19, 2009 10:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Liked the episode, liked the "welcome back" to Jenn and the wink and REALLY liked that Kevin won. My husband and I have consistently found Kevin's food to be most "gee now I feel hungry again" when we watch.
                                                                                                                                                  I felt a bit sorry for Bryan in the clip of him talking about helping Kevin and not being sure if his brother would have done the same--paugh! he KNOWS his brother wouldn't have done it. But I did enjoy his discussion of cooking as being collaborative.
                                                                                                                                                  I predict Kevin, Jenn and Brian for the finals which will help towards curing Michael's arrogance--everyone goes BUT him.............

                                                                                                                                                  That said, boy Michael has provided Excellent teaching materials for the chowpups--who happen to really like the show. They all know him as the "poor sport" because of the look on his face when he doesn't win which leads to a conversation of how no one likes a poor loser. . . . .

                                                                                                                                                  20 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jenn
                                                                                                                                                    iL Divo Nov 19, 2009 02:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                    well it confused the heck out of me last night.
                                                                                                                                                    I thought they didn't like Kevin's food.
                                                                                                                                                    I thought they liked Micheals or was it Bryan, anyway, that
                                                                                                                                                    Sad that the kid went home, his tears said a lot.
                                                                                                                                                    I think the brothers don't like each other.
                                                                                                                                                    I don't like saying that but Bryan is a stink.
                                                                                                                                                    He is rude and cocky and acts that his....you know.
                                                                                                                                                    I think it's Kevin in the end.
                                                                                                                                                    Anyone know where his FireGrill restaurant is?
                                                                                                                                                    PS>......gad I'm glad Robin is gone........

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: iL Divo
                                                                                                                                                      trolley Nov 19, 2009 02:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                      really? i find myself finding michael to be the cocky rude one versus bryan who seems much more humble. SO glad robin is gone too! she was so irritating and put the icing on the annoying cake by saying how she deserved to be there. why robin?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: trolley
                                                                                                                                                        iL Divo Nov 23, 2009 12:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                        oh I am sure I do have them confused. the older one is the one with the deeper voice right? he is the nicer of the two to me anyway, if I've confused them forgive, it's been a hard week.

                                                                                                                                                        did anyone know where the firegrill is?

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: iL Divo
                                                                                                                                                        chicgail Nov 19, 2009 03:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                        I think you have Bryan and Michael confused. Michael is the one who keeps making the arrogant comments (e.g. That's what I would make on my day off). Bryan is also a great cook, but he doesn' t have the attitude. Bryan's food got a much better reception this week than Michael's did.

                                                                                                                                                        I'm rooting for Kevin, myself. I think the final is likely to be Kevin v. Bryan.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chicgail
                                                                                                                                                          l
                                                                                                                                                          leslieodo Nov 19, 2009 06:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                          Did anyone else notice that Bryan got a much more sympathetic edit this week? He seemed to have much more personality that had been displayed before; I do believe I noticed several smiles and actual laughter at the top of the show! And come on - helping out like that? Pretty cool of him. Do we think Michael would have stepped up like that?
                                                                                                                                                          Agreed - Kevin is great, and maybe it it's because I'm from Maryland, but I do heart me some Bryan.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: leslieodo
                                                                                                                                                            e
                                                                                                                                                            Ericandblueboy Nov 19, 2009 07:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                            Bryan laughs like a hyena and he stil shows no personality, other than a willingness to help Kevin.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ericandblueboy
                                                                                                                                                              LindaWhit Nov 20, 2009 05:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                              And yet that is your perception based on what you've been shown by the editors. Perhaps he's a really nice guy and has much more of a personality than you know. Maybe if someone writes a blog about him, you would change your mind?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                s
                                                                                                                                                                sjeats Nov 20, 2009 03:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                I ate at Volt last month and Bryan was so nice, funny, and approachable. People are way overcritical from what little they see on TV.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: leslieodo
                                                                                                                                                              d
                                                                                                                                                              dmd_kc Nov 21, 2009 10:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Bryan is a very solid person, in my estimation. He's very loyal, a bit on the quiet side, but seems to have his heart in a place I admire. And I would have an almost-impossible time deciding to have him, Kevin or Jen cook me dinner. It would be really amazing to have any of the three's food, to me.

                                                                                                                                                              I'm still rooting most for Jen, but am still very much impressed with all these competitors. Michael annoys me a little, but he IS playing a game, and he's certainly a very fine chef.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dmd_kc
                                                                                                                                                                chowser Nov 22, 2009 03:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                I feel the same way about Bryan. I think people have mixed him up with Michael's cockiness but he seems so willing to help out others and, although competitive with his brother, seems to watch out for him. If he hadn't helped Kevin with the sous vide, he probably would have won. I like the final four and I think it's one of the few times that it's come down to the chefs who are the best. And, I love the camaderie and respect between them all.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                  a
                                                                                                                                                                  AMFM Nov 22, 2009 03:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  well. i like bryan too. but you can't say that he would've won if he hadn't helped kevin because kevin likely wouldn't have tried sous vide if he hadn't felt comfortable and then it would've been totally different. so who knows.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                    Ruth Lafler Nov 22, 2009 04:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    I agree, AMFM. And anyway, I don't think Bryan was in second place -- apparently his food just wasn't cooked well. I think Jen or Michael was probably behind Kevin.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                      chowser Nov 22, 2009 05:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      Good point, AMFM, I thought he has planned on it but might not have. From Tom's blog, it sounded like Bryan's dish was excellent in design but just slightly failed in execution with the time. I thought Michael's was far below Jen and Bryan's. But, it's all our interpretation of their editing.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                      Miss Needle Nov 24, 2009 03:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      I also like the final four and agree with you that it is the 4 top contestants. I've read rumors that one of the top four didn't make it as that contestant was heard saying that he/she didn't make it to the finals like he/she should have. So I was a bit surprised that Eli was the one let go (though it looked like his dish was the worst from the five). But I then remembered poor deluded Mike Isabella. He probably is the one who said that he should have been in the finale.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: iL Divo
                                                                                                                                                                dave_c Nov 19, 2009 06:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                They judges thought Kevin's food was simple, but they did say his meal was the best cooked.

                                                                                                                                                                The judges liked Bryan for the amount of work he did, but he didn't finish/cook his meal properly. However, the comments from the judges seemed to hint that Bryan had the most potential given enough time.

                                                                                                                                                                I'm glad that Eli is gone. Like Robin, he was out of his league.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: iL Divo
                                                                                                                                                                  goodhealthgourmet Nov 19, 2009 07:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  iL Divo, Kevin's restaurant is Woodfire Grill, not Firegrill.

                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.woodfiregrill.com/

                                                                                                                                                                  http://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&...

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                    trolley Nov 19, 2009 09:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    thanks for the link. it says he's going on to compete in the Bocuse d'Or so i guess he won the spot!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: trolley
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                                                                                                                                                                      attran99 Nov 19, 2009 09:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      They haven't staged the U.S. trials, yet. I believe they have the trials for the U.S. team in late winter/early spring of 2010. The actual Bocuse d'Or is in 2011. I'm quite sure the writer for the website is mistaken.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: attran99
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                                                                                                                                                                        araknd Nov 20, 2009 02:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, it is in 2011. It is a bennial competition. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bocuse_d...

                                                                                                                                                                        Kevin won a spot to compete for a spot on the Bocuse d'Or USA team.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                      iL Divo Nov 23, 2009 12:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      thanks Goodhealth, I just noticed this right this second, will check it out.
                                                                                                                                                                      Preeeciate it!

                                                                                                                                                                      I had completely forgotten it was in Atlanta Georgia.
                                                                                                                                                                      hum how hard is it to get to Georgia for really good food?
                                                                                                                                                                      we'll see

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                                                                                                                                                                  sjeats Nov 20, 2009 03:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  I think Kevin's playing the game well, being safe and all. I don't think it was fair of him to ask for advice from competitors in the same competition, and his win is not a clean one.

                                                                                                                                                                  Bryan has such class for helping Kevin. He's really demonstrated his leadership skills and technically he's much better than Kevin. I'm definitely rooting for him to be TC. But, it's sad that the editing seems to be giving the title to Kevin though.

                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sjeats
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                                                                                                                                                                    JonDough Nov 20, 2009 04:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    By your logic, if Bryan won, it would not have been a clean win either since he received help from Jen. And I am sure Kevin would have gave Bryan advice if he asked.

                                                                                                                                                                    If Bryan is more talented than Kevin he will out cook him in the finals.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JonDough
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                                                                                                                                                                      Ericandblueboy Nov 20, 2009 08:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      You're probably right. If the competition doesn't allow outside help, then Bryan shouldn't win.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ericandblueboy
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                                                                                                                                                                        jenn Nov 20, 2009 10:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Define "outside help"--you can't grab a cookbook or do a google search but people are always picking each other's brains on how to do stuff---people do that all the time.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. twotop Nov 21, 2009 07:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    I want to know what books Kevin won (along with his $30,000)!

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: twotop
                                                                                                                                                                      ChinoWayne Nov 22, 2009 11:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      Guessing rule book and other work books related to preparing for the competition.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. chicgail Nov 22, 2009 12:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      I just re-watched this episode and found myself wondering if the contestants see the plates that come back to the kitchen, some eaten, some not eaten. I think no none ate Michael's lamb, for example, because it was undercooked and I wondered if he and the others had a way of knowing that before they want to JT.

                                                                                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chicgail
                                                                                                                                                                        chicgail Nov 22, 2009 12:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Ok, that would be Bryan's lamb, not Michael's. Sorry.

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                                                                                                                                                                          AMFM Nov 22, 2009 03:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          and Eli's! :)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AMFM
                                                                                                                                                                            chowser Nov 23, 2009 09:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            Ei must have known it was underdone. My husband and I both, as we watched him slicing it, said it was almost raw.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                              Caitlin McGrath Nov 23, 2009 09:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              Indeed, Tom says in his blog that it was raw, and inedible. The editing of the show didn't have anyone saying outright that it was actually raw, but it did show them not eating any of it and commenting about how they just couldn't. There was back and forth at the JT, presumably to create suspense for us, but while there was probably some question about who wouls win, I have to think there wasn't really any question about Eli being PYKAG'd, given his cooking of the protein was a total fail, while the others were partial failures.

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                                                                                                                                                                          newhavener07 Nov 23, 2009 08:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          I rewatched the episode too as part of the weekend marathon and the previews of the next show fill me with dread. I think Kevin may be gone--as per Tom's mention of a surprise elimination. Something about the edits of previews, or perhaps the elves are messing with us, as usual.
                                                                                                                                                                          The lamb dishes all looked too rare for my taste, and Jen's salmon didn't look too appetizing either, with a pasty bottom and rare top.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: newhavener07
                                                                                                                                                                            chowser Nov 23, 2009 09:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            They always mention "surprise elimination" but I don't think it could be Kevin, or more wistful thinking, that I hope it's not Kevin. I know this shouldn't be about personality but it matters to me and I think Kevin not only makes great consistent food but he also seems like a great guy, nice, even keeled personality.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                              NellyNel Nov 23, 2009 11:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              I think at this point - anyone who goes will be a "surprise"!

                                                                                                                                                                              The final four contestants are ALL capable of winning the title!

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                                                                                                                                                                                dmd_kc Nov 23, 2009 11:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                If it's a surprise, I'd bet dollars to donuts it's one of the Voltaggios.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Tmrock Nov 23, 2009 07:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Whoever goes, I just hope its not caused by some outside agency.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: newhavener07
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                                                                                                                                                                                dagwood Nov 23, 2009 09:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                I would be shocked if Kevin was not in the finale. Could you imagine if it were down to the brothers and Jen, and Kevin was gone? Talk about a travesty.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. iL Divo Dec 7, 2009 01:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              gad has anyone won this yet? its been forever since it started

                                                                                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: iL Divo
                                                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit Dec 7, 2009 02:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                If you don't care for the show, then why not just skip over the thread?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
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                                                                                                                                                                                  StewieBoy Dec 8, 2009 10:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Gotta tell ya -
                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm sad to think that, after tomorrow, we will have to wait 9-10 months to see the next new episode!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: StewieBoy
                                                                                                                                                                                    k
                                                                                                                                                                                    KTinNYC Dec 8, 2009 10:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    It's been about 5 months from one season to the next. Season 5 ended in March and Season 6 started in August.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: StewieBoy
                                                                                                                                                                                      LindaWhit Dec 8, 2009 10:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      I *know* what you mean, Stewie! But I don't think it'll be 9-10 months - reality show "seasons" seem to be a good bit less than 12 months. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                      And Bravo *is* gearing up to do another TCMasters - not sure if filming has started with that yet (I think filming for TC7 is supposed to start in January, 2010). So perhaps one or the other will be forthcoming in the summer.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Has anyone heard anything more about Top Chef Juniors?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
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                                                                                                                                                                                        AMFM Dec 8, 2009 02:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        and while it isn't as exciting isn't there the pastry chef one coming up as well?

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                      iL Divo Dec 10, 2009 05:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      apparently I put that down wrong. skip over the thread? I love the show! all I meant was I was anxious to see the final one to see who finally took the big prize is all.

                                                                                                                                                                                      how does anyone feel about the final winner?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: iL Divo
                                                                                                                                                                                        NellyNel Dec 10, 2009 05:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Il divo - there is a separate thread/post up about last nights finale

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: iL Divo
                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Dec 10, 2009 06:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Finale threads are here:

                                                                                                                                                                                          Part 1 - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/671251
                                                                                                                                                                                          Part 2 - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/672865

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                                                                                                                                                                                      cmvan Dec 7, 2009 04:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Final episode verified as being held at Cyrus Restaurant in Healdsburg, in Sonoma County.

                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.biteclubeats.com/2009/12/c...

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                                                                                                                                                                                        cervisiam Dec 8, 2009 03:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        did kevin go straight to the semifinalists? or already had to compete to be a semifinalist?
                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.bocusedorusa.org/team.html

                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cervisiam
                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Dec 8, 2009 04:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Good question! Their "Selection Process" page (under Competition link) says "The Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation will select 16 chef/commis teams from amongst all the applicants to enter the domestic Semi-final and Final competitions at the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park on February 4-6, 2010. Notification will be provided on December 7th, 2009."

                                                                                                                                                                                          http://bocusedorusa.org/competition.h...

                                                                                                                                                                                          I found it in one of my posts further upthread and per Tom Colicchio's blog, Kevin won one of the coveted spots to compete to be the U.S.A. representative:

                                                                                                                                                                                          "All the chefs present, myself included, are on the advisory board of the American team. To clarify something that was not made express in the episode (though we’d made it clear to Kevin), Kevin did not win the spot itself, to cook for America in the next Bocuse d’Or. He won one of the coveted few spots to compete for that spot."

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