HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >


Top Chef - D.C. - Ep. #4 - 07/07/10 (Spoilers)

BABY FOOD! Yup, the Quickfire is all about making homemade baby food for Padma's new infant and Tom's little one. Colicchio is the "guest judge" for the Quickfire, as at the time of filming, he has an 8 mo. old at home, and Padma's baby is 2 mo. old. It's also a high stakes QF - the winner(s) gets $10K each (two will be picked)...but NO immunity.

So they're to make a dish that can be baby food AND something for the parents - the pureed food gets put into a baby food jar, while the parent's dish is plated as usual.

On the bottom? Timothy, Alex, Kevin, and Kelly
Tops? Lynne, Tamesha, and Angelo, and Kenny

Both Lynne and Tamesha haven't really been in the picture these past 3 episodes, so it was nice to see someone different in the favored group.

The winners? Tamesha and Kenny.

And for the Elimination Challenge? The Hilton wants a new signature dish for their menu. The cheftestants form into teams of two to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes, capable of being served in both the Hilton's restaurant(s) and as room service meals. All teams compete in the breakfast round; the two team winners are safe from elimination and don't have to cook again. The rest of the teams will move on to the lunch round - two winning teams picked there are also safe from elimination. Every other team moves onto the dinner round where one team will be eliminated - so two cheftestants are outta here tonight!

Looks like Stephen and Amanda are odd chefs out - no one wants to pair up with them, so they pair up together.

Former TC cheftestants Bryan Voltaggio, Michael Isabella, and Spike Mendelsohn are seated there in the Top Chef Kitchen, as that's where the judges will be served, along with guest judges are "restaurant-concepts maven" Beth Scott (of the Hilton Hotels) and organic foods chef Nora Pouillon. And Eric Ripert is back. :-) So the judges get to see what's going on in the kitchen! No, correct that - looks like they leave the kitchen when they're cooking (having seen the judges leave during the lunch preparation and only come back right at the last minute before Padma calls "Time, utensils down!").

Best breakfasts? Amanda/Stephen and Timothy/Tiffany - they're all safe from elimination during the lunch round - funny how Amanda and Stephen weren't picked as a partner by anyone, but they ended up doing SO well together in the breakfast round. :-)

Best lunches? Angelo/Tamesha and Alex/Ed - the latter two squeaked it out after a horrible breakfast service!

Lynne and Arnold are definitely *not* working well together during dinner prep. And Kenny/Kevin's short rib dish doesn't have a whole lot of braising liquid, whereas Andrea/Kelly's short rib dish looks much better. And Lynne and Arnold's pasta now doesn't seem to have been cooked per the judges.

All three teams are called up to Judges Table.

Best dinner? Andrea and Kelly's short rib dish won and their dish will be on the Hilton's menu! Six-day Venice and Barcelona vacations are also part of the winnings...Andrea gets Spain, Kelly gets Italy. :-)

Wow - both of the dishes by Lynne/Arnold and Kevin/Kenny could send the respective team home. I'm not really sure who's going home. Undercooked pasta and a dish that probably would be a hard sell (but was very imaginative) on a hotel menu vs. a seemingly bland and underglazed short rib dish.

Worst dinner? Wow - Lynne and Arnold are out. I really thought that they might squeak through.

And next week the entire group has to work as a team? Seems that way from previews. And what a surprise - Angelo and Kenny are butting heads again.

So...a question - who thinks that the team elimination was fair or not fair? I kind of think that as a team, you're supposed to be able to work together and the team elimination was fair.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I liked the format tonight and am okay with the team elimination. I just thought it was odd that they did not appear to look at all three meals when deciding which team to eliminate.

    The undercooked pasta was interesting. Wasn't Lynne refusing to put it down when Arnold wanted her to (It's too early...I'm not putting fresh pasta in that early...". At first I thought, nice of you to not throw her under the bus! Then I remembered: if the bus drags her under, he's there too.

    I think I'm offiically anti-Kevin now. I know we only saw a snippet of the converation with Amanda about instructing guests on how to eat their food, but in that snippet he was incredibly rude. Very off-putting. And for the record, you better have a pretty innovative restaurant for me to want someone to need to tell me how to eat food.

    Thanks for the great recap Linda.

    12 Replies
    1. re: debbiel

      Yup - it was Lynne who said 8 minutes before time was called she still didn't want to put the fresh pasta into the water. I would have said the same thing - fresh pasta cooks *very* fast, but didn't they do a pappardelle-type pasta, which is thicker and could possibly have needed more time? And even if Arnold had said something re: Lynne not wanting to cook the pasta early enough, it wouldn't have mattered...the judges probably would have said he should have argued to cook the pasta when he wanted to if he felt it was the right thing to do. Either way - he was going home if Lynne was going home, so I guess it didn't matter - except for his own personal reasons.

      Yes, the stew room conversation/argument about telling people how to eat was an interesting one - I'm siding with Andrea - unless you're Grant Achatz or Wylie Dufresne, I don't think I want to be told how to eat my meal!

      1. re: LindaWhit

        "Yes, the stew room conversation/argument about telling people how to eat was an interesting one - I'm siding with Andrea - unless you're Grant Achatz or Wylie Dufresne, I don't think I want to be told how to eat my meal!"

        Agree completely. His dishes didn't command that degree of control.

      2. re: debbiel

        I was really offended by Lynne's behavior at the end of the episode. In the reaction interview, she says something along the lines of regretting having let a younger chef take control. There may have been confrontations between the two of them that we didn't see (e.g. over whether or not to make a black pasta and mussel dish for a hotel challenge) . However, based on what we saw, the team lost over the doneness of the pasta -- the one thing over which Lynne maintained total control. Talk about a failure to admit one's role in an unhappy outcome...

        1. re: Indy 67

          That really bothered me, too. She and Kevin both looked pretty bad last night in terms of attitude and a lack of respect for their peers. I wish the two of them could have been sent packing.

          1. re: Indy 67

            I agree, they really liked Arnold's sauce and mussels a lot and the pasta was the problem. Her comment made no sense. I wasn't psyched with the team eliminations and was sorry to see Arnold go already. I liked the challenge overall tho, watching them bust their humps. And agree that it's too bad none of the first round people could win those awesome prizes.

            James mentioned Alex's 8 Ball comment and I was thinking, is he gonna regret having that air all over America? I assume it's a joke but he's a chef, who knows ha ha.

            I had a hard time catching what Mike I. et al. were saying at judge's table, lots of mumbling it seemed.

            1. re: Joanie

              Mike Isabella was too busy stuffing his face with food to be able to understand anything he was saying. ;-) Didn't make for a very attractive picture.

              1. re: Joanie

                They may have liked the concept of the dish that Arnold and Lynne made, but I also heard comments from the judges about the appropriateness of squid ink pasta for hotel guests. I didn't like Arnold's attitude about steadfastly serving "his food" despite what was being asked of him to prepare a dish for a hotel guest. It just smacks of arrogance. I am sure that I wouldn't want to eat at his restaurants.

                1. re: araknd

                  I wonder how it would have turned out if they'd used a less "exotic" pasta.

                  1. re: jujuthomas

                    Maybe, not sure how well the mussels and pasta would translate for Room Service, two items that are best fresh out of the kitchen. I have stayed at many Hiltons when I was traveling for work and the food is generally good, but in my experience, just about all dishes suffer when ordered to the room (to my wife's great disappointment).

            2. re: debbiel

              I disagree about Kevin. I want feedback from the chef about how to best enjoy the dishes I am being served. It seems to me there are a huge range of possible food experiences that are both worth having and not possible to have without some instructions on how the chef wants you to eat the food.

              The trick is to not make it bossy. "the chef recommends..." or "It is delicious if you...please, don't be shy." and i'll gladly follow the instructions every time. I love it...to me, Amanda was flat out wrong on this, instructions are great if the logic for them is there.

                1. re: SDGourmand

                  Second with the agreement...if the chef wants you to dip something into xyz or break the yolk first and use it as a sauce...I could care less if I'm a taco shack...tell me how to eat it!

            3. All I can think is... they forgot to get good contestants! Where are the Voltaggios, the Stefan Richters? They have photogenic contestants, articulate contestants, some nice feuds to draw your interest, even a "bad" guy for all to hate. (Angelo) But they forgot to get people who can cook.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Brian S

                I do believe Angelo and Kenny would take exception to your statement, Brian. ;-)

                1. re: Brian S

                  I keep trying to get into this season - but I don't really like anyone in particular. I matched up episodes, and by this time last season, I was a total Kevin fan. Season before I was at least intrigued by Carla (is that the right season?). I have NO ONE this year. Andrea is just annoying - not terrible enough to be the villian. I'll keep watching, but maybe I'll just catch it on the rerun.

                  1. re: jeanmarieok

                    The same as you - I loved Kevin at this point of last season. I just don't have anyone to root for this year, although I was glad that a few of those who had been background material have stepped up to the front with their QF win. Will be interesting to see if that continues or if it continues to be the Angelo and Kenny show.

                  2. re: Brian S

                    I think there are a LOT of great cooks this season. I am seriously disliking the editing. I know for a fact that both Kelly and Andrea can cook, having eaten their food. And Kevin, as well. He cooks at a very "out there" restaurant in So. Jersey. and he's GOOD. I think part of the problem may be that most of these cheftestants have little or no previous camera experience. and let me tell you, cooking on camera is VERY different from cooking in even the most stressful professional kitchen.

                  3. Need to preface this by saying I kind of spaced out at times watching this, so I must see it again. For some reason, I don't think I'm as obsessed with this season as the previous ones.

                    I think the team elimination is as fair as eliminating one person from a team. I can see why they're doing it, but I'd rather see contestants eliminated solely for his/her own work.

                    I kind of had a problem with only the dinner teams being eligible for winning the challenge and the trip. Because your breakfast or lunch was in the top takes you out of the running for the prize? While I'm sure Andrea and Kelly's dish was good, who knows if it would have been top if the other contestants were in the running?

                    I'm not surprised that Lynne and Arnold are out. Even if the pasta had been cooked perfectly, they didn't really meet the challenge as their dish is probably not the most appropriate for this hotel challenge. We didn't see too much of Lynne, but I thought Arnold had potential to go pretty far in this competition. At least we won't have to hear him prattle on about his pores anymore.

                    16 Replies
                    1. re: Miss Needle

                      I agree about the format. Why not give the "safe" teams the option of continuing to cook for the possible win? Given the nature of the challenge, anyone with a brain would have expected that the best dishes would have been dinners since the teams had had more time and were more likely to be in their comfort zones with dinner cooking. Or choose the winner from the breakfast items.

                      It kind of reminded me of how the person who gets selected for having the best menu for the wedding episode usually gets shafted at final judging. It basically sucks to win.

                      1. re: Jwsel

                        " Why not give the "safe" teams the option of continuing to cook for the possible win? "

                        I agree.

                        Andrea and Kelly had not done well at the other challenges, yet they were each rewarded with a super prize and a place on the menu -- which the chefs that excelled were barred from even competing for.

                        Venice and Barcelona are two of the nicest places on earth -- lucky for them.

                        1. re: C. Hamster

                          Woud you have given up being "safe" for the chance to compete for that prize? I don't think I would.

                      2. re: Miss Needle

                        Miss N, I thought of that as well - the fact that if you were good in breakfast or lunch, you had the ability to sit out cooking another round, BUT you weren't able to be eligible for a really good prize, as well as getting your dish on the Hilton's menu. Definitely seems unfair.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          < the fact that if you were good in breakfast or lunch, you had the ability to sit out cooking another round, BUT you weren't able to be eligible for a really good prize, as well as getting your dish on the Hilton's menu. Definitely seems unfair.>

                          I don't think that was how it was at all. It just turned out that a dinner dish was their most favorite, as well as perhaps being the most adaptable to a world-wide hotel chain's menu. At least that's the way I understood it when Padma announced the winners.

                          1. re: ChefJune

                            Even if the dinner dish had been their favorite from all of the dishes presented so far, a good number of contestants haven't had had the opportunity to make dinner dishes. Who knows? Angelo and his partner (or some other team) could have made a dinner dish that would have blown the judges' socks off.

                        2. re: Miss Needle

                          "I'm not surprised that Lynne and Arnold are out. Even if the pasta had been cooked perfectly, they didn't really meet the challenge as their dish is probably not the most appropriate for this hotel challenge. We didn't see too much of Lynne, but I thought Arnold had potential to go pretty far in this competition. At least we won't have to hear him prattle on about his pores anymore."

                          Hmm, it was pointed out on another board that neither "squid ink pasta" nor mussels seem too adventurous nowadays - we are talking about Hilton Hotels (not your local Motel 6), where the clientele is likely to include large numbers of international/European guests, let alone probably fairly sophisticated US guests (at least in the more prominent cities) to whom such a menu item would scarcely seem exotic.

                          I didn't mind Arnold chatting about his grooming concerns (BTW he hardly was "prattling on" about his pores - he said it once, to my recollection, and that was it) - he was a good chef and I would have liked to have seen him go further. Lynne shafted him in more ways than one.

                          1. re: huiray

                            I don't think mussels seem too adventurous these days, but I'd say a lot of people would probably squirm at squid ink. Maybe not the people who would post on CH, but I've seen several people shoot me disgusted looks when I order fideos con sepia or arroz negro. And while I'm not dining at any Hiltons, I am ordering these dishes in a cosmopolitan city. Personally, I would rather choose the pasta dish to eat out of the two. But I think the short rib dish better fit the challenge.

                            And the interaction between Lynne and Arnold left me a little puzzled. Not sure if I think Lynne "shafted" him. True, Lynne did undercook the pasta, but according to the editing elves, Arnold wanted to put in the pasta around 15 (?) minutes before serving time. I think that would have been a greater flaw. I did like Arnold's food, and wished to see more of him as well. But as the famous TC saying -- it is what it is.

                            1. re: Miss Needle

                              Yes, 15 minutes would have been terible timing for the pasta. It would either have been overcooked or cold and even going into hot sauce, I would be afraid it would be gummy.

                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                I would agree if it was fresh linguine or fresh thin spaghetti.

                                However, what they were cooking looked to be "pappardelle-like" in thickness and width. You cannot cook fresh pappardelle in a minute. You can also "hold" cooked pappardelle for a short while before you merge it with the sauce, especially if you rinse the al dente cooked pappardelle (no kvetches about 'losing the complex carbs' etc nor "never rinse pasta", please). (I cook a fair amount of fresh pasta of various types myself, for my taste anyway) "Hard"/uncooked pappardelle is not pleasant.

                          2. re: Miss Needle

                            I think I would have had a problem with this if winning would provide immunity for the next challenge. This doesn't bother me though. They missed out on a chance to win a great prize, but that prize has nothing to do with the BIG prize.

                            I suppose they could change it up to say if you win an early round, you can trade that win in for a chance to keep competing for the big prize of the day. But I don't think I would make that trade for anything other than immunity the next week.

                            1. re: Miss Needle

                              My understanding was that all the dishes were eligible for the win. It just happened that Andrea and Kelly hit a home run after a couple swinging misses.

                              1. re: gastrotect

                                Ahhh, thanks for the clarification, gastrotect.

                                1. re: gastrotect

                                  Yet in the WaPo interview referenced by dach (see below; post by dach on Jul 08, 4:04 pm) both Arnold and Lynne say they were confused themselves (as contestants) by the format:


                                  "Arnold: After cooking that many dishes we all deserved a vacation. Yes, it was a cooking marathon and the judges told us they were taking into consideration each dish for each stage, but I wish they'd taken all the dishes into consideration for the final stage. Yes, it was confusing.

                                  Lynne: I was confused just thinking about it and I was there."


                                2. re: Miss Needle

                                  If the contestants knew that the prizes were awarded for the dinner dishes they had two choices. Play it safe and move on by cooking their asses off to produce a good breakfast or then a good lunch. Or they could have chosen to under perform on those two meals so that they could have gone on to cook dinner.

                                  I started to like Arnold, but I disagree with his statement that his food is avant garde. At least from what he was able to before being eliminated.

                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                    "At least we won't have to hear him prattle on about his pores anymore."
                                    agreed. did you catch his latest gem while they were shopping at WF? something about how he's more than a Louis Vuitton bag? i'm not going to miss that shtick...though i thought his comment about donating the QF money (if he won) to orphanages for kids with HIV/AIDS was really nice.

                                    re: the format, i don't necessarily think that only the dinner teams were eligible for the prize, i think it just turned out that Kelly & Andrea's last dish was the judges' favorite of the day - if you think about it, there weren't any real raves about breakfast or lunch dishes across the board.

                                  2. The extended judges' table video is up on Bravo. Interesting that Padma notes that the two dishes being considered for elimination were among the best dishes they had that evening. In addition to the undercooked pasta, they also discuss the objective of the challenge--creating a hotel dish. The consensus was that Kenny/Kevin created something more suitable for a hotel menu.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: debbiel

                                      How do I find that video on Bravo?

                                    2. I'm not reading 'cause the show just started here, but for a two month old? That would have to be breast milk ice cream!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                        That's what I was thinking, too! Pretty limiting.

                                      2. I was disappointed in the double elimination format. But perhaps just because I wanted to see Arnold go farther. I don't think Lynne really understood that she needed to be fighting for her life at judges table. She just kept pointing out all of the faults in the dish in case the judges happened to have missed them. Arnold's biggest problem is that he was never forceful enough in any team challenge, and in this one it cost him as he got stuck with the contestant that was hand-picked by the producers to be a disaster. CIA or not, a culinary instructor is not going to win Top Chef in my opinion. Arnold should have jumped out and latched on to ANY of the other contestants as a teammate.

                                        1. I LOVEDEDEDED this challenge. It was a real ball-buster. and like the real world, where chefs often have to work full throttle 24 hours or more to get the job done, and done fabulously.

                                          and why not send the whole team home? You win together, you lose together.

                                          Haven't been to bravotv yet, but somehow think all the winning dishes were considered for the winner. Just Andrea and Kelly's dish won in the end. Yeah Andrea!!!!

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                            The woman threw their team under the bus with her comments at the juding table (or whatever its called). I would be super pissed if I was Arnold, best part was the lady saying it was my fault for not taking control of the final meal. I'm happy though Kenny getting sent home would have been wrong.

                                            1. re: ALLDAYYY

                                              I kept thinking that, but remembering Tre getting sent home WRONG in season 3. Glad he made it through.

                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                They showed season three on tv today, Tre went down because he led the losing team, a very tough call. I thought he had the chops to go all the way. I really like Kenny, but find it mildly annoying when Kenny or Angelo has success, and they cut to the other one to show the anguish in their face.

                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                  i had the same thought about Tre/Kenny - i'm so glad Kenny made it through this one.

                                            2. Did anyone catch the remark by Alex? If I won the money I'd get a hooker and an eight ball. By eight ball, I don't think he meant pool. Eight ball is street slang for an eighth of an ounce of cocaine. I don't think he'd be playing pool with a hooker. I also loved the format, but am a little peeved over the new trend of announcing the quick fire winner after a commercial, but then again, I watch it on my dvr, so I can fast forward. I just think it's a little cheesy.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: James Cristinian

                                                I got that. Thought it an odd remark for the editors to leave in. But then, maybe it presages something yet to come.

                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                  I thought it was just to show that Alex is a "bad boy."

                                                2. re: James Cristinian

                                                  I caught the hooker part... didn' t know what he was talking about with the 8ball. that was an interesting contrast after Arnold's statement that he'd give the money to orphanages.

                                                  1. re: James Cristinian

                                                    I was apalled by that comment (both the hooker and the eight-ball). Instantly I knew who not to like.

                                                  2. Nobody said anything when someone put HONEY in their baby food! HONEY! You never give honey to a baby younger than a year, never. You could kill it. I am amazed no one caught that. How can they not know that?

                                                    I am bored by this season. I think because the challenges dumb down the conestants. Baby food? Hotel food? Who wants to eat that? If I wanted to watch Mediocre Chef I'd tune in to TNFNS. I always look to this show for inspiration. Not seeing it yet.

                                                    11 Replies
                                                    1. re: runwestierun

                                                      I was thinking the same thing, and that two month olds "should" only be getting breast milk! I had to let it go.....enjoyed it, overall.

                                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                        Yeah, I had the same thought about the 2 month old. What on earth can the mother of a 2 month old know about what babies like? It'll be a couple more months before that baby is eating anything but milk, at least if one's following usual wisdom.

                                                      2. re: runwestierun

                                                        I thought about that too, but I don't know if it's safe/safer if you cook it. However, I would have just avoided the issue altogether and not used it.

                                                        1. re: runwestierun

                                                          ITA with you re: the hotel food. Maybe I'm missing out on something fab, but when I travel there's just no way I'm going to eat at the hotel restaurant. Even if we're completely tapped out, we still find somewhere else to eat. I've never even done room service! lol

                                                          1. re: runwestierun

                                                            And I thought that babies that young shouldn't get fish.

                                                            1. re: viperlush

                                                              Restrictions tend to vary from culture to culture, but honey and I believe egg yolks (maybe whites, it's been a few years) are usually only after one. However the judges made no restrictions, and since obviously the food was not really for Padma's two month old, it is safe to assume they could cook for older babies

                                                            2. re: runwestierun

                                                              Raw honey. It's hard to find raw honey. Either way, two months old, as Shrinkrap pointed out, shouldn't be getting much more than breast milk.

                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                hard to find raw honey? do you mean in washington d.c, or in general? anybody see a squeezy honey bear? ;-P

                                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                                  I mean you need to look for it since most on the shelves are not. It's there, like organic chicken is there, but you need to make a special effort to find it. I probably should have said "harder to find."

                                                              2. re: runwestierun

                                                                The latest recommendations are that NO honey of any sort should be given to babies. Honey, even pasteurized honey, can harbor botulism spores.

                                                                There used to be recommendations about when certain commonly allergenic foods should be introduced into babies' diets. (eggs, nuts, etc.) As of 2008, unless there is an allergy in an immediate family member's history, there is no recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics to avoid ANY of those foods past the age of 4-6 months (when the GI system has developed enough to tolerate solids). There simply isn't enough association shown between avoiding these foods and lowered incidence of developed food allergies to assume causation (delay in introduction of allergenic foods "causing" less incidence of developed food allergies). Avoidance may be practiced for extra-precautionary or personal reasons, all the same.....

                                                                http://pediatrics.aappublications.org... (skip down to summary for clearest guidance).

                                                              3. Sigh. Not a good episode. This is not Top Chef anymore...it's in danger of becoming "Top Housecooks of DC".

                                                                The format this time was problematic, IMO. I agree with a poster here who questioned why the B'fast and Lunch contestants did not seem to be considered for the final prize. Even though the 'Extended JT" is said to reveal that the two short rib dishes were the best that day, it is not at all apparent during the show as edited.

                                                                If not anything else, it reinforces the notion that the Magical Elves are editing the show for entertainment and "drama" purposes and are not really that interested in presenting actual good and informative cooking to the viewing public.

                                                                As for the contretemps over 'pastagate' and the overall failure of the team, I tend to agree with those who say it was largely Lynne who sunk the team.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                  I wouldn't say housecooks. But it feels that way compared to last season.

                                                                  Last season the challenges where aiming at 5 star fine dining experiences. This season it's lower bar: cafeteria, catering, bbq, hotel dining food. Basically industrial consumer dining.

                                                                  I wonder if the nature of the challenges are making the contestants look worse than they are. Dumbing down the end product

                                                                  1. re: dach

                                                                    Heh. True. Still, what I was getting at was the danger of this season of TC turning into "Real Housewives of DC (Cooking Edition)".

                                                                    1. re: dach

                                                                      I felt that last season was 4 brilliant chefs and 14 “also rans”. It seems to me that everyone in this cast is an “also ran” and would have been gone long before the finals of last season.

                                                                      I also agree with the comment about “home cooking”. Where is the really creative element? You know, the things that separate cooks from chefs?

                                                                      1. re: StewieBoy

                                                                        Exactly. By Chowhound standards I am an average cook at best (I am humbled when reading the Home Cooking Board) and I make some butt-kicking short ribs.

                                                                  2. I enjoyed the format of the elimination challenge, but I would have liked to see Arnold stay a little longer. his dishes were very interesting to me. I really didn't like Lynne's statements that she was happy with the flavors of the dish, basically stating that she had a problem with other aspects. bad form, IMO.
                                                                    Def didn't like Kevin's "you got to tell them how to eat it" argument. How rude!
                                                                    I don't have a favorite yet... too soon for me to pick. :)

                                                                    50 Replies
                                                                    1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                      However, interestingly, the FLAVORS of the dish (the mussels, the sauce) were attributed to Arnold, weren't they? So wouldn't Lynne have been dissing her own aspects of the dish? LOL

                                                                      And while he bugged me in some of his confessional comments, I would have liked Arnold to stay a bit longer as well. His dishes seemed very inventive (I still want to make his lamb meatball skewer, just without the cilantro <g>).

                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                        I wondered if she was indicating that she didn't think the dish was a good idea in some way... when they questioned the black pasta with the black mussels she again said she was happy with the flavor of the dish.
                                                                        yes, yes. lamb meatball skewers. YUM.
                                                                        so glad Eric Ripert was back last night, I could listen to him talk all day long! (while staring into those amazing eyes! <g>)

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          She totally threw Arnold under the bus with the pasta then that backstabbing comment in the exit interview....because the pasta was not the real reason they were eliminated.

                                                                          1. re: pete k

                                                                            I beg your pardon? The undercooked, almost raw, pasta AND the choice of the type of dish to serve in a hotel were the reasons they were eliminated, according to Ripert and Colicchio's blogs and according to the extended JT video.

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                              of course the pasta was, and other factors. the sarcasm didn’t come through with my post apparently. i was trying to point out the exit interview and Lynne’s comments towards the dish during judging. sure the dish was problematic in terms of the challenge, but I applaud them for thinking outside the box.

                                                                              1. re: pete k

                                                                                Ahhh, got it. Sorry. :-)

                                                                                Yes, their dish was definitely thinking outside the box, and Arnold has been all about sticking to his cooking style with all of his dishes, which is pretty inventive. But as has been said - they really didn't adhere to the basic premise of the challenge - offer up a potential hotel dish to be offered worldwide at Hilton Hotels. Selling squid ink pasta with pineapple red curry mussels wasn't going to fly in Peoria (no offense to Peorians <g>).

                                                                                1. re: pete k

                                                                                  Thinking outside the box got them booted outside the show.

                                                                                  There is no way this dish was going to get chosen to be served at Hilton Hotels, which are are middle of the road as they come. If this was Hyatt, maybe...

                                                                                  Just a strategic blunder by Arnold.

                                                                            2. re: jujuthomas

                                                                              I disagree with the format of the EC - I thought it was heavily flawed. Why should the winners of the B'fast and Lunch segments not be considered for the prize? Why would those who lost TWICE then be the ones eligible for the prize?

                                                                              Lynne seemed unable to grasp that she was the cause of her team's downfall and instead dissed Arnold. Pity about Arnold being dragged under the bus - I think he is a good chef and would have liked to have seen more of his work. His comments about his grooming habits etc don't bother me. :-) Well, if I am in Nashville I would make it a point to visit his restaurants.

                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                The format felt weird, but not unprecedented. The breakfast and lunch rounds where variation of (2x) QF immunity opt out. We saw a small version last season when Kevin winning QF had him sit out the French sauce challenge, and he was not eligible for the win prize -- which was an internship at Roubichon's.

                                                                                The final 3 was intense. Almost final 3 stress that is often missing early mid season episodes.

                                                                                1. re: dach

                                                                                  ...and the same problem was there with that previous QF. Shouldn't the best overall get the prize, not the 'best of the worse'?

                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                    Last season I complained about the pretentiousness of molecular gastronomy and the Voltaggio brothers. And even Jen. This season I am actually admittedly (hindsight) missing that fire. There is a bit of passion with this season's contestants but no real fire or creativity. It's all very blah. The winners last night were blah. Short ribs? Ok, lesser of three evils. I dunno. I do like the competitiveness between Kenny and Angelo and would love a dark horse a la Tamesha to emerge, but I am finding myself a bit bored by these contestants so far. Arnold leaving was a bit of a disappointment because he had at least some creativity and oompf. Even Tom said the dish was delicious but the pasta was undercooked. I would have kept him on and sent Lynne home.

                                                                                    1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                      I'm not sure I even see the passion this season. It seems to be more about ego than about food (or ego related to the food).

                                                                                      1. re: debbiel

                                                                                        debbiel you are right. it is about ego and proving who's better as opposed to channeling passion..

                                                                                      2. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                        Your mention of Tamesha prompted me to share some local intelligence about the DC dining scene... Tamesha is a sous chef at The Oval Room in DC. That's a restaurant with a strong Jean Georges pedigree. I know the chef, and, I belive, at least four others were hired away form Jean Georges in NY. The cuisine at The Oval Room is inventive and delicious, although, happily, it avoids the "we tell our patrons how to eat our food" mentality. All this is to say that Tamesha should have the background to do some adventuresome cooking. Since I'm a fan of The Oval Room, I'm also waiting for Tamesha to emerge more prominently.

                                                                                        1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                          @HabaneroJane, you & i are on the same wavelength yet again! i'm surprisingly bored with this season, and i have to disagree with the other posters who attribute it to the nature of the challenges. the food this season just isn't nearly as inspired or creative as it was last season. the Volt brothers and Kevin could cook CIRCLES around these chefs. Bryan's comments at JT made me miss those guys - they put so much more thought into technique and nuance!

                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                            I am, too. While there were quite a few last time I wanted to win and whose restaurants I want to eat in, there aren't any yet who have caught my eye. I've been more in the camp of who I want to see go home than stay.

                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                              Honestly, I'm beginning to fear that last season will turn out to be a spoiler for the series. The caliber was so high, with so much talent and compelling cooking, and such good palates and food knowledge, that if they can't match it in casting in the future (and this season is showing it will be difficult), we viewers are likely to keep feeling let down.

                                                                                              Consider that many of us had pegged the final four by the second episode last season, and that that didn't diminish the season, but heightened anticipation to see what they would/could do. I'm curious to see who will emerge as talented this time (so many have had little airtime yet), but I'm not finding it particularly compelling. I'm actually glad they cut two this week, simply because there are far too many people at the beginning of each season.

                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                I wonder if the producers intentionally put real talent aside for "good TV" when they cast this season. I thought they had given that up after the season when the chefs got drunk and tried to shave Marcel's head.

                                                                                                1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                  God, I would hope they DIDN'T do that just for the "drama!" But it wouldn't surprise me.

                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                    The thing is that there's not even much drama. Other than that Angelo doesn't like Kenny and v.v., this is a deadly boring group of people. Little apparent talent. Hardly distinguishable from one another. No one great to root for. No one to even especially like. Even the Angelo ego thing seems a little manufactured.

                                                                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                      Agreed. Although it seems like "drama!" is picking up next week. I wouldn't say they have little apparent talent; just not as much as we saw at this point last season. I do think that TC6 could have been the pinnacle of "best of" cheftestants, and it can only go downhill. I guess we'll see.

                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                        I agree with this. TC6 will always be hard to beat.....seeing Brian last night reminded me how much less talent there is this year.

                                                                                                        Angelo is growing on me. Kenny is not. The dude with the glasses wanting prostitute needs to go. I like Timothy.

                                                                                                        Without sounding boastful, we could do a Chowhound TC with home cooks and have better results.

                                                                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                          "The dude with the glasses wanting prostitute needs to go."

                                                                                                          :-D Yes, Alex is squicking me out a bit. I'm still on the fence about Angelo and Kenny - and next week might turn me completely off both if the head-butting gets any worse. Just stop with the puffing out the chest and shaking the tail feathers like peacocks and COOK.

                                                                                                          Tamesha and Kelly are higher up on my "like" list, and we'll see about Andrea. Amanda - still not liking her - she's too much like Leah - at least what we've seen.

                                                                                                            1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                              I loved that Tamesha wasn't taking any guff from Angelo.

                                                                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                me too! :) i am trying to believe that there are gems yet to be found. i mean don't we all say this the beginning of every season?

                                                                                                                1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                  "there are gems yet to be found. i mean don't we all say this the beginning of every season?"
                                                                                                                  Yes, I think you're right for every season except TC6. With that one, I think we knew it was going to be magical right at the beginning of the season. :-)

                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                    true. it will be hard to top my kevin. :) love him.

                                                                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                              Heh. Well, the M.E. did put out the preview of the episode with words like "alpha male(s)" etc. Presumably referring primarily to Kenny and Angelo.

                                                                                                              As for the remaining contestants:

                                                                                                              Tim to me is still somewhat of a swaggerer but with suspect cooking skills, notwithstanding his relative success this week (though I think he rode Tiffany's coattails somewhat - i.e. her praised crab cakes) Apropos to Linda's concern - remember his comments about "males puffing out their chest etc etc" during that ill-fated grilling session of his at Mt. Vernon?

                                                                                                              I DO NOT like Amanda. Alex is getting creepy, I agree. Kelly and Andrea raise my hackles slightly. Tiffany still evokes the memory - for me - of her calling DC "Barack Obama City" (Uh, hello, your enthusiasm is understandable but in America we call that place you are competing in "Washington") Tamesha is quiet but could turn out to be strong... Kevin is fine by me - and if he summons his higher chef from within himself could go far. Stephen and Ed - inconsistent and/or shaky, to me.

                                                                                                            3. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                              Could it be that the elves are losing their editing magic???? Frankly, I think there is PLENTY of talent among this year's contestants, but we are not being shown much, if anything, of what they can do. If you doubt that, read their bios on the Bravo website.

                                                                                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                I agree on paper it's an impressive group, but for some reason it's not coming across....I don't know if it's the challenges, or the inability to make quick decisions and execute quickly or what, but nothing has wowed me (or the judges it seems).

                                                                                                                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                  Ding. +1 on Janet's reasoning.

                                                                                                                  Their bios *are* impressive. But something is preventing any real excitement on my part about any of these chefs. Not a one stands out for their imaginative and superb cooking skills as the Final 4 did last year. Yes, some of the Final 4 had some slip-ups midway through (I'm talkin' to YOU, Jennifer!) but they were all in it all the way through. Kevin had a total of 5 Elimination wins and 4 QF wins, and Bryan was *never* in the "LOW" group.

                                                                                                                  I'm just not seeing that this season...although both Angelo and Kenny are talking a good game about their mad skills. Perhaps it'll pick up mid-season, but I'm not expecting it to. We shall see.

                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                    And the judges seem as bored and unimpressed as the rest of us.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                      That's why I say the elves have lost their magic.

                                                                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                      it's because most of them are showing no technical skills. the kitchen mystique for us non-professional chefs is what keeps many of us coming back to TC but when most of the contestants default to soul / comfort food, scallops and short ribs, the magic is lost. I want to see that which I cannot possibly conceive of.

                                                                                                                      1. re: celfie

                                                                                                                        "I want to see that which I cannot possibly conceive of."
                                                                                                                        Except without foam. :-)

                                                                                                                    3. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                      I feel like we're seeing less of their cooking, less evaluation of their cooking. That alone makes me feel I don't have a handle on what their capabilities are. Throw that i with the ho-hum challenges, and I'm, for the most part, at a loss about who has talent and who doesn't.

                                                                                                                      1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                        I was feeling as I watched this episode that I was seeing way too much of the chefs running around Whole Foods, and that I could really do without that--it doesn't really add anything to the show for me. But if they never showed this segment, we wouldn't have gotten to see Carla and her "hootie hoo" from a few seasons ago, I guess, which would be a loss.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Nettie

                                                                                                                          aww, Nettie your post just made me smile :) loved the hootie-hoo...Carla was so cute!

                                                                                                                      2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                        +2. took the words right out of my mouth. i looked at the bios and expected a *lot* more excellent cooking, but it's like a line cook competition so far, and nobody seems to be pushing the envelope. maybe they've learned from past seasons that it's better to just get thru the early eliminations and save the big guns for later.

                                                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                          mmm if they'd "learned" from past seasons, they would all have memorized a few desserts they could pull out!

                                                                                                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                              I agree - none of the chefs should be without a couple desserts. Bites them again and again.

                                                                                                                  2. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                    I agree chicgail. I don't really even see Angelo-Denny drama. They see each other as the main competition. Okay....that's not drama. Very, very boring so far.

                                                                                                        2. re: dach

                                                                                                          Yeah, I did feel that way about Kevin as well. At least Kevin got to learn a lot about what the judges are looking for.

                                                                                                        3. re: huiray

                                                                                                          I thought her comment was very telling, saying that "she regretted letting a younger chef take the reins" or something in that vein...that younger chef was considerably more mature at Judge's table and afterwards, considering that he begged her to cook her pasta several times.

                                                                                                          You can take most pastas, especially a thicker pasta, and rinse it with cold water, stopping the cooking, than toss with the hot sauce.

                                                                                                          This episode...the editing was so confusing to me. Were or weren't the four previous "winning teams" given a chance for the prize? Why is the buggy eyed guy talking about cocaine? Why all of a sudden are they judging according to the format of the challenge and not the food...previously they really abandoned the rules if the food was great.

                                                                                                          They seemed to really like the losing team's (lunch) tuna dish, but felt it was to complicated.

                                                                                                          Four episodes, and I can't even remember anyone's name.

                                                                                                      2. I guess I am the only one who was rooting for Lynne. She was flying so far under the radar, I though she had a chance to break through after a few of her peers had been sent home.

                                                                                                        But I didn't like her attitude and interaction with Arnold.

                                                                                                        And even with perfectly cooked pasta, I agree that that isn't a Hilton-style dish. Yes, Arnold says he wants to be true to his personal style and viewpoint on food, but the challenge was to make a dish that would appeal to people in Manhattan and Manhattan, Kansas and either he didn't *get* that or he didn't care.

                                                                                                        Plus WTF with the foccaccia served with what was essentially an asian red curry dish?

                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                          Exactly - the gist of the challenge was that the dish would be served worldwide....or at least nationwide, as I'm sure Hilton Hotels in Europe or Japan aren't going to be serving the same thing as one in Arizona or Oregon. So while their dish might have worked for some Hiltons, it wouldn't in so many others.

                                                                                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                            I think the squid ink jibe was a gratuitous nitpick to balance out the praise for Arnold sauce flavor and risktaking, against the JT issues with Kenny-Kevin sauce and glaze.. Asian fusion is not that exotic, I think even in a Hilton in Kansas. Sushi & Thai are mainstream. British love affair with all things curry. I thought the challenge was the dish was suppose to be special, easy enough to cook by line chefs, but not too exotic for global Hilton brand, which Arnold's dish fulfilled.

                                                                                                            So in my take they where done in entirely by miscooking pasta. What a painful error to get elim on. Like dropping easy fly ball in bottom 9th, losing the game. Kenny and Kevin where incredibly close to getting kicked off

                                                                                                            Instead winner goes to a very meat & potatos seeming braised short rib. Was this a comfort food challenge?

                                                                                                            1. re: dach

                                                                                                              the challenge was kind of dumb. it was a shame to see such strong chefs paired with the weaker ones and thus facing elimination. I don't think arnold deserved to leave however there was no way they were about to eliminate kenny. the rivalry between him and angelo is the only thing making this season exciting. i personally really like kenny - hopefully it will dawn on him though that he won't beat angelo until he adds a bit more finess to his food. so far his dishes have seemed more like a frontal assault on the senses. angelo's food has a certain femininity to it that has carried him through.

                                                                                                              1. re: celfie

                                                                                                                I agree about the challenge. It takes time to make a cohesive team. And while a "top chef" might have to work with various people at any time, those people aren't responsible for making/breaking their career.

                                                                                                                You can't force someone to make something your way, unless you are physically restraining them. Two leaders in a team never work.

                                                                                                          2. I really wished this episode they had some sort of on the record clause. Basically each chef has a chance to go the record about one item they opposed in their dish, but the other chef insisted on. You only get to pick one item and once you use it, you can't change it, plus it has to be when the incident happens. For instance with the pasta, Arnold could go on the record and say that he wanted the pasta cooked earlier and Lynne overruled. Then at JT if the judges felt like the team was loosing solely on the basis of the pasta, Arnold would be saved. I get there would be some technicalities to work out, but it seems like it would make challenges like this fairer. What was Arnold supposed to do, grab the pasta from Lynn and throw it in?

                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                INTERESTING last comment by Chef Ripert about Lynne:

                                                                                                                ESQ: Anything else stand out about the episode?
                                                                                                                ER: I mean, I was sad to see them leave, because I think being a teacher at the CIA and leaving so early in a competition is really disappointing for her.

                                                                                                                ESQ: Her students might not be so quick to trust her.
                                                                                                                ER: I think she's going to blame it on Arnold.

                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                  Interesting, Ripert says Arnold (and Lynne) had a winning dish if the pasta had not been a disaster. That won't help Arnold sleep easier. :-(

                                                                                                                  Lynne and Arnold did an interview. According to them the editing made things look much worse than what actually occurred.

                                                                                                                  And Lynne takes full responsibility for getting Arnold eliminated. From pasta up to and including just being bad reality TV character.


                                                                                                                  1. re: dach

                                                                                                                    The Washington Post interview was interesting but did seem at odds with what was conveyed through the show itself, as edited. They seem the best of friends now (July 8, date of the WaPo interview) but at the time the show was taped neither the mea culpa from Lynne nor the mutual affection came through. Indeed, in Arnold's "aside" towards the end I distinctly heard him say that after the day's activities he asked [rhetorically] how he could trust her, etc. (I just re-watched the whole episode...)

                                                                                                                2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                  This makes me feel really bad for Arnold:

                                                                                                                  "If the pasta was cooked, they could have stayed, and they could have even potentially won, because the flavors were delicious."

                                                                                                                  But, he was there and he should have tasted it, too. Oh, he did taste it and thought it was fine. So, maybe he also deserves to go for that.

                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                    There was no time to fix the pasta anyway because it was done at the last minute, so Arnold probably didn't even get to try the pasta. Lynne knew it was still raw because she's the one who made it late, despite Arnold imploring her to start earlier.

                                                                                                                    Arnold talked up and defending his dish as a normal person with confidence should, because he knew the main components that he made where good. Until he had the rug pulled out from under him with undercooked pasta comments from JT.

                                                                                                                    1. re: dach

                                                                                                                      Additionally, Arnold pointed out to Lynne that it wasn't JUST the cooking of the pasta that was involved, it had to be plated, the pasta sauced, the other stuff arranged on it etc - meaning that if she cooked it at the very, very last minute (even if she were to cook it perfectly) it would be hard to plate everything in time.

                                                                                                                      1. re: dach

                                                                                                                        As if by not acknowledging it and pretending the pasta were perfectly cooked, he'd somehow convince the panel of judges, most of them highly respected chefs, that it was perfect? I think, and it's been the case in the past, that contestants who own up to dishes not being perfect fare better than those who are clueless that their dishes are bad, despite their confidence. In fact, in a case like that, it's more arrogance than confidence. He was defending the entire dish, not just his portion, including the pasta.

                                                                                                                        It's not as if the judges didn't realize the pasta was undercooked AFTER his partner agreed it was. She should have spoken up before it was too late, that's her fault but saying she threw him under the bus for speaking up about it isn't true. They had already realized it. She was agreeing. I think he looked foolish saying it was perfect, after they already said it wasn't.

                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                          The pasta problem also highlights the inappropriateness of doing this in a hotel setting. If two chefs without any other food to worry about can't get it right, what hope does a harried hotel cook have?

                                                                                                                          1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                            Not to defend, but the harried hotel cook would have lots of food already prepped and ready to go. My opinion is that it wouldn't translate well to room service, by the time it gets to the room, the food is either cold or overcooked from sitting on the cart.

                                                                                                                            1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                              I don't think that follows. I'm not sure I've ever seen a hotel room service menu without at least one pasta dish.

                                                                                                                              1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                i've had mussels delivered to my room multiple times and they've always come hot. almost every dish will have suffered being carted up so you have to just lower your standards in favor of the convenience. I'm sure the mussels would be just fine if you're not expecting the dining room experience (which at the hilton ain't much)

                                                                                                                                1. re: celfie

                                                                                                                                  I don't think that one should have to "lower your standards", but I've never been fond of room service. I would rather go down to the restaurant and eat it hot and fresh. Of course, if it's really late and I have to have something to eat, there's always the burger, I'm not ordering mussels in a red curry sauce and squid ink pasta.

                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                        I agreed with his whole view, esp. this part:

                                                                                                                        But only because that strange triple-elimination-round-robin-all-day-cooking-challenge resulted in some pretty decent chefs guaranteed to go home. It was too painful for this early in the season! I don't care about anybody yet, but this show made me mad at it for forcing two off in such a clumsy manner. And it's not that TWO were sent home that gave me pause. This early, with this many chefs left, I think they should have sent NINE home. "Back up the knife truck, boys." It was just handled so sloppily. Like, Amanda and Stephen, the dream team (if you dream about pills, cold sores, and not having lips), won the Breakfast segment of the Elimination Challenge, and we didn't even see what they cooked! Huh? "The chefs so nice we edited them out of the episode twice." You can do better, Bravo. And on the eve of your Emmy nomination for Editing no less! Oh well. The cinematography of last night's episode was breathtaking, I guess. You earned it.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                          Ha ha! No lips! I noticed that too!

                                                                                                                        2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                          My mother is Padma Lakshmi and there's only obviously one kind of food I want and it doesn't come from a jar.

                                                                                                                          lmao! thanks so much for posting these highly entertaining recaps, better than the show this week!

                                                                                                                        3. Disappointing elimination. I really wanted to see Arnold stay through in this competition.

                                                                                                                          Lynne otherwise... not really. I mean she didn't even get much screen time during the entire competition but her personality and cooking just seemed to boring to me.

                                                                                                                          1. The heck with the culinary faux pas! I was more shocked by Padma--I mean, the woman was married to Salman Rushdie, for Pete's sake--and she doesn't know better than to ask them to make baby food "for Tom and I." Pfui!

                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                LOL! That's probably my biggest audible grammatical error pet peeve. Nails on a chalkboard when I hear it.

                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                  Good, so I'm not the only one? But am I the only one who corrects strangers? Ha ha, you'd think I was an English teacher but I can't help myself. I think it's from taking lots of foreign languages and learning the indirect/direct object thing. I feel like someone else on TV did that recently too.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                    No, you're not the only one, Joanie. I don't do it often, but I *have* done it. God help anyone if they said they were making something for "you and I" in front of the two of us....we'd be like the Doublemint Twins in correcting them! LOL