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Top Chef - D.C. - Ep. #5 - 07/14/10 (Spoilers)

Lots and lots of crabs - Maryland's blue crabs, to be specific - for the Quickfire! They're skittering out of the baskets on the table....QUICK! Run for your lives! LOL Guest judge is Patrick O'Connell, chef/proprietor at the Inn at Little Washington.

INTERESTING! The morning of the QF at the residence, Angelo is giving tips to Tamesha on how to deal with the challenges, and did he express potential romantic interest in Tamesha? She's appreciative of his mentorship, but is she romantically interested in him? I thought she said "no" in the last episode. Guess we'll see. But she does go running over in the QF challenge to find out how to get the crab meat out. So perhaps she's using him. :-)

And then Ed and Tiffany are buddying up? Hmmm...please back off on any romantic interests, Magical Elves...please?

Tim's a local Baltimore guy - will he win the day because he's most familiar with picking crabs and keeping it simple?

> The Lows? Andrea, Amanda, and Kevin (he's been in 4 QF lows in a row!)

> The Highs? Ed, Kenny, and Angelo. I do believe Timothy's a bit ticked off!

> The Winner? Ed! And he gets immunity in the next EC.

The Elimination Challenge finds them at a Virginia organic farm using farm-fresh ingredients working as ONE single team, putting out a total of 6 dishes for 40 local chefs. The won't know ingredients or cooking equipment until they get to the farm - so they'll have to think on their feet if the menu they plan in the house can't be done when they get there.

UGH! Kenny and Angelo are starting the beating of the chests like big Silverbacks fighting for dominance in the tribe. What a surprise - the call-in survey question is who's the bigger Alpha Male - Angelo or Kenny. :-)

And did Stephen just say something about someone doing a fruit platter for dessert? Is he KIDDING? Yeah, do that and you're SO going home.

They get some grills and some hot plates to cook on when they get to the farm - this is NOT going to be easy!

Kenny is chopping and knocks over Kevin's cauliflower couscous....Kenny says "scoop it up" but Kevin very rightly says "Umm, we're in the midst of a cow pasture - I'm not using that! You never know what little creatures are in there!" So he grabs some broccoli and leeks and attempts the couscous that way, even though he's never made it that way.

In the brief peek into house life in between commercials, several people reveal their nicknames for Kenny: Big Daddy, Black Magic, and several others. FUNNY! I think more people are appreciating his leadership than Angelo's, as Kenny remains calm, while Angelo gets all frenetic.

One LONG table for the diners and judges to sit at. They're serving family style - it looks freakin' COLD there - everyone's bundled up - I have to believe they're all eating cold food even if it's supposed to be hot.

Amanda's soup and Stephen's salad don't get good reviews. Nor did Timothy's turnips or Tiffany's collard greens.

Kelly and (Kenny?) did well with their combined dish, as did Angelo and Tamesha. And Kelly got excellent reviews for her berry crisp as an "extra credit" dish when she didn't have to do it.

Padma comes into the Stew Room and asks to see Kevin, Kenny, Andrea, and Kelly. Hmmm...sounds like Top 4! Yup. Kevin's couscous was well received. Padma liked Kenny's sweet and sour curried eggplant, and Tom says she's tough on curry, so that's high praise! Kelly gets very favorable reviews from Chef Ripert for her vegetable dish with beets.

The winner? Kenny!

Timothy, Amanda, and Stephen are in the Bottom 3. Colicchio was pretty pointed with Timothy and how he tried to fix the dish but it didn't work. O'Connell's "concrete truck pouring onto silk" analogy to the dressing on Stephen's salad was SO visual! And Amanda's soup was amateurish - as if Grandma has chopped the vegetables with her axe. :-)

(And Kenny is winning 63% to 37% in the biggest Alpha Male survey <g>).

This is a tough one, but I'm thinking Stephen or Amanda go home. Well, I was wrong - it's Timothy going home!

And interesting in the previews - they'll be judging themselves in the EC next week. And even MORE interesting - Angelo is helping Stephen and Tamesha in their cooking...Angela wonders if he's got some game playing going on...could he be trying to bring along some weaker chefs so he goes up against them nearer the end? Anyone think that?

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  1. Linda...I thought I heard Ed say that he used canned crab meat...did I hear that wrong?
    I thought the same thing when Stephen suggested the fruit platter....seriously??

    2 Replies
    1. re: HungryRubia

      I *think* he was joking about using canned crab meat, HungryRubia - I heard Ed say that, too, but he kind of laughed after he said it. I seriously, seriously, SERIOUSLY hope he was kidding with all of that beautiful fresh blue crab!

      1. re: LindaWhit

        I doubt he would have won with canned crab. I do believe Chef O'Connell knows the difference. ;)

    2. the ed tiffany thing is interesting.

      course that doesn't mean i want to see more. ;)

      9 Replies
      1. re: AMFM

        It did appear that there is some genuine chemistry there to me. (as opposed to Angelo and Tamesha, which I find unconvincing as a potential pairing..although I did find that Angelo seemed a bit more, well, nice and genuine, when he was giving advice and helping her figure out how to deal with the crabs.)

        Speaking of which, did he REALLY say, 'I had crabs...it brings back bad memories'.?

        Yes, it seems to be about the TV. No one to love. Other than Eric Ripert, of course :-)

        1. re: susancinsf

          Yes, Angelo made that odd comment about having crabs and bad memories. He doesn't seem to have much of a sense of humor, and he kinda looked down and away while he said it, which certainly made it seem confessional.

          1. re: momjamin

            I thought the a_hole was bragging. Kind of a he-man poseur thing.

            1. re: Phaedrus

              Eh, I thought it was funny. He seemed to be clearly making a joke.

          2. re: susancinsf

            Yes, that comment was SO not what I needed to hear. And I loved your "No one to love. Other than Eric Ripert, of course." Ditto that sentiment. :-)

            1. re: susancinsf

              That was clearly a TMI violation on Angelo's part. LOL

              1. re: susancinsf

                I totally didn't read that as a joke. I even had to rewind and watch it again, but I still thought he was doing a TMI instead of a joke!

                1. re: DivineFemme

                  i think he was attempting humor, but he just isn't funny

            2. Oh my....guest judge Patrick O'Connell does reminds me of.....Carol Channing

              19 Replies
              1. re: Hurner

                LOL! Stretched *just* a bit thin in the smile area, I thought. :-)

                1. re: Hurner

                  Ha! I knew he reminded me of someone. Maybe a cross between Carol and...dang, it will come to me sometime tonight.

                  1. re: debbiel

                    Ummm...maybe a leeetle bit of The Joker? (That's what I first thought of.)

                    But I understand the Inn at Little Washington is a wonderful, wonderful place - food, service, hospitality, the works. So perhaps we can overlook the visual for now. :-)

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Yup, that's it. The love child of Carol Channing and The Joker.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Forgetting the visual was pretty impossible for me, the guy kind of skeeved me out. I know he's a chef and not a movie star or news anchor, but the way he talked was somehow creepy (maybe the Carol Channing thing). And no one's commented on that jacket of his? Maybe that's the Joker part of the equation. It was absolutely hideous and could have easily been rectified. Whatever, not my favorite guest judge in the world. Still not sure who I want to win and agree that a little more actual cooking would be nice.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          absolutely the Joker. Kind of creepy! Enjoyed the show though. Angelo was way more appealing than he has been before. except for the crabs thing.

                          1. re: DGresh

                            I was pretty much taken aback when he said that. Not so much THAT he said it, but that the elves decided it was interesting enough to air!

                            Unless, of course, they were trying to creep us out.

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            that's who was in my mind when I saw him! :)

                        2. re: Hurner

                          I kept expecting him to break out into song and dance -- he reminded me of someone from an old Hollywood musical, but couldn't come up with a specific name.

                          1. re: momjamin

                            I know who you're thinking of -- Donald O'Connor. He was in Singin' In The Rain.


                            1. re: chicgail

                              unh huh. I thought of an elderly Van Johnson!

                          2. re: Hurner

                            LOL...I was thrilled to see Patrick as he was the one Chef I wanted to see judge this season.

                            My first husband was one of the original employees at The Inn at Little Washington and I also went to college with Patrick's younger brother.

                            I have been to The Inn about a half dozen times and IMO it's one of the most wonderful places on earth and Patrick does amazing things.

                            So, I was happy about this episode, until Tim went home :-(

                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                ROFLMAO! Now THAT is a very good Separated At Birth choice!

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  Yep, Ron Popeil it is. He was a little scary to look at, but I loved his plaid jacket.

                              2. re: Hurner

                                OMG!! I was thinking Barry Manilow, but now I think it might be a combo of both.

                                Thats a lot of serious facework going on.

                                1. re: Hurner

                                  OMG. Hurner, I couldn't put my finger on it. I was thinking someone from Hee Haw or something but you hit the nail on the head. Hello Dolly!

                                2. Here's what stuck with me most from this episode: Eric Ripert looked incredibly hot wrapped up in his scarf out on the farm.

                                  The Kenny and Angelo chest beating scene was incredibly annoying. I really could have done without that.

                                  I was kind of hoping they would send all three of the bottom three packing. I just haven't seen much out of any of them. There seem to be consistent basic skills errors with them (though, really, my memory on past challenges is a bit muddy).

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: debbiel

                                    Agreed on all three points, debbiel!

                                  2. I'll admit it: I was rooting for Amanda to go home, because she is annoying...and I felt sort of sorry for Timothy. And yet, I could understand why he was chosen to go: basically he served a dish that I could do, and do better.....

                                    besides, while I love Eric Ripert, I wasn't sure I wanted to see a repeat of the whole coq au vin semantics thing if Amanda was sent packing. Did it really matter that she called it 'minestrone' but it had no pasta in it? Undercooking some of the vegetables in the soup, obviously that was a real mistake...

                                    35 Replies
                                    1. re: susancinsf

                                      I figured it was Tim after JT comments. It was between Tim and Amanda.

                                      It was not Stephen because he got nearly no facetime this week. Amanda and Tim seem to have equal facetime. But I always notice JT comment about flavor. If the dish is not criticized on flavor that means it is well flavored. Amanda got dinged on mechanics of carrot cutting and the soup name. But no comment about her bottom dish's flavor means it tasted good.

                                      Tim's grilled veggies was just a straight up fail. No taste.

                                      1. re: dach

                                        Good observation on the flavor issue AND the amount of camera time. Hadn't thought of that when I said last night I thought it was between Stephen and Amanda.

                                        1. re: dach

                                          I agree. Amanda's soup must have been well seasoned, even if the carrots were not chopped correctly. It makes sense that serving a plate of random vegetables that don't work together as a cohesive dish is worse.

                                        2. re: susancinsf

                                          Yes, it matters. It's not semantics. It demonstrates a lack of understanding of basic culinary concepts.

                                          Plus, there's hardly anything as simple to make as vegetable soup, so you damn well better make sure the vegetables are cooked uniformly. A grade schooler can do that.

                                          But deciding to serve cubed roasted turnips as your dish on TOP CHEF and then botching them is undeniably deserving of the boot.

                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                            I was really sad to see Tim go, but he never really got it going on through all 5 episodes. I know folks who know him and his food, so it's not that he can't cook. Those cameras, plus the stress of direct competition can do a lot to stress a person out, and I think he was one of the prime victims of that.

                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                              I found Tim constantly irritating. He was always swaggering about how confident he was and how he had put out great food - yet was constantly on the bottom where there was almost always something wrong about his self-toutedly-great dishes; and he always seemed incredulous that he was in the bottom. I was surprised he lasted as long as he did.

                                              1. re: huiray

                                                ITA with all of that. When he started bragging about his crab skills, I thought, "yeah...you alway say that and then you're WRONG, buddy boy!"

                                            2. re: C. Hamster

                                              Pasta is NOT required in a soup for it to be called "Minestrone".

                                              1. re: huiray

                                                I didn't think it required pasta either. And yet, both Ripert and Colicchio admonished Amanda for *not* having pasta in the soup.

                                                1. re: huiray

                                                  One of the defining elements of "minestrone" is the inclusion of pasta.

                                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                                    My understanding is that it's tomato based, with beans, onions, celery, crushed and/or chopped tomatoes, and carrots...with pasta (sometimes leftover?) or bits of meat added to stretch the dish if needed. Several places I've read "often with pasta or meat added" - but it's not a definitive element.

                                                    However, Colicchio and Ripert both seem to see it that way. Shades of coq au vin.

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      My sources say the beans are optional but the pasta is rather definitive.

                                                      1. re: C. Hamster

                                                        whether or not that is the case, I still don't see how it shows a lack of understanding of 'basic culinary concepts'. What is the basic concept that she doesn't understand?

                                                        I just don't buy the idea that not including all of the ingredients of a classic dish from one particular cuisine is the same thing as not understanding a basic culinary concept.' It may mean that the person is not that familiar with one classic dish from particular cuisine, or it may mean that they wanted to get creative...

                                                        The fact that people argue about it on CH and that you use the modifier, 'rather' is reason enough to me to call it semantics, and as I say, while I love Eric Ripert, I think it was a little harsh to ding her for that aspect of the dish, so I was glad she didn't get sent home for it.

                                                        Now, not cutting the veggies in the soup so that cook at the same rate, that DOES show lack of understanding of a basic culinary concept (or more likely, she did understand, but just got sloppy). IMO.

                                                        1. re: C. Hamster

                                                          Interesting - whereas I've always seen beans are a definite ingredient and the pasta is "if you feel like it." But the absence of a definitive origins recipe is going to make this a discussion that won't have an end - other than us saying what we understand it to be. Ahh, well - that's what makes the world go round.

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            Beans are a definite. Red bean broth is a defining characteristic. Pasta is not. You could include rice rather than pasta and it is still minestrone. This soup is a poor person food. It was incredibly snobby and ill informed to call her out for no pasta.

                                                            1. re: celfie

                                                              Thanks. That's what I thought, which is why Colicchio's and Ripert's adamant statement requiring pasta in the soup bugged me.

                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                          Food Lovers Companion says:

                                                          "minestrone ("big soup") refers to a thick vegetable soup that generally contains pasta and sometimes peas or beans. It's usually topped liberally with grated Parmesan cheese and is hearty enough to be considered a complete meal. "

                                                          New Professional Chef says "typically includes both beans and pasta"

                                                          Larousse Gastronomique says "Italian mixed vegetable soup containing pasta or rice"

                                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                                            <generally contains>
                                                            does not mean ALWAYS

                                                            <typically includes>
                                                            does not mean ALWAYS

                                                            <containing pasta or rice>
                                                            means either pasta or rice but does not mean ALWAYS pasta

                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                              She would have been better off calling it a vegetable soup. ;)

                                                              I will say that every variation of minestrone I can recall having had both pasta and beans. Your mileage may vary.

                                                            2. re: C. Hamster

                                                              minestrone is hearty peasant food. despite what the culinary technocrats might say, minestrone without pasta is still minestrone just as beef stew without potato is still beef stew. now if minestrone translated to "vegetable soup with pasta" it would be a whole other story

                                                              1. re: celfie

                                                                I'm happy to be in bed with Eric Ripert on this one! Heh Heh.

                                                                Carry on.

                                                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                  LOL! Good response to the debate, although I suspect it only works for the female viewing audience. :-)

                                                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                    Eric Ripert is a Frenchman.

                                                                    Here're the ingredients listed for two minestrone recipes plucked almost at random from two Italian cookbooks written by Italians from my bookshelves:

                                                                    1) Sicilian Home Cooking (Wanda & Giovanna Tornabene) - Alfred Knopf, NY 2001, pg 53: "Minestrone Rustico Siciliano": butter, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, ham, tomatoes, parsley, water, salt, zucchini, rice, bell peppers, parmesan cheese, basil. NO PASTA.

                                                                    2) La Cucina Siciliana di Gangivecchio (Wanda & Giovanna Tornabene) - Knopf, NY 2000, pg 81: "Minestrone di Verdure Fresche": potatoes, carrots, spinach, celery, onions, tomatoes, green beans, peas, garlic, basil, parmesan cheese rind, olive oil, ground pepper, parsley, croutons, olio santo, parmesan cheese. NO PASTA.

                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                      Tom Colicchio is not a Frenchman.

                                                                      I'll stick with Larousse, thanks.

                                                                      1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                        Larousse is a French cooking reference.

                                                                      2. re: huiray

                                                                        The recipes for Minestrone, just like for pasta sauce,varies from cook to cook, and most assuredly from region to region.

                                                                        Rice wouldn't be traditional in the South, because it doesn't grow there. It's the starch of the North. And No Pasta would probably trump pasta.

                                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                                          And I think this is what huiray and I are saying - there's no real definitive "recipe" for it, specifically *because* it varies from region to region. So it was disappointing to see Ripert and Colicchio call out Amanda on the no-pasta version she made.

                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                            ...except for the carrots....

                                                                            wonder if it also didn't taste especially appealing.

                                                                      3. re: C. Hamster

                                                                        A simple google search plucks out dozens and dozens of minestrone recipes WITHOUT pasta. Even FoodNetwork's Giada De Laurentis' recipe for minestrone does not have pasta in it. Etc etc.

                                                                        If this were patent law (and I have been involved with patents in my professional life for years) a single example of something (falling under prior art) that counteracts a claim in a patent negates the claim and renders it unenforceable if it had happened to have been granted.

                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                          So, you're patenting minestrone? Or negating the patent for minestrone?

                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                            Minestrone as a general concept is in the public domain. :-)

                                                        2. I found this to be a pretty confusing episode to watch -- lots of running around, I still couldn't figure out who was working together and what the menu was even after watching the whole thing, and they all seemed pretty chaotic.

                                                          Is it just me or does Padma seem warmer and more complementary this season? I'd love to try that curry.

                                                          Tom talking to Amanda reminded me of a difficult law school class with a hard ass professor.

                                                          8 Replies
                                                          1. re: JasmineG

                                                            Re: the definition of Minestrone soup in this episode:

                                                            It reminded me of when Casey made Coq Au Vin....with a young chicken. Tom almost went apoplectic and calamity ensued among the panel.
                                                            Sometimes, they're just splitting little bunnies.

                                                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                  OMG! You're right - this was taped back in April - so it must be Easter soon! LOL

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    Would be fun, but they always plan the "holiday" specials with the air date in mind, thus Betty pretending to shiver in the fake snow for the Christmas (taped in July) special, the Thanksgiving Foo Fighters epi, etc.

                                                                    1. re: momjamin

                                                                      There's no holiday occurring during this season's airing, however, so I guess we'll be spared that this season.

                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                        They could always make something up.

                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                          "We want you to do a spin on a traditional Labor Day dish from your region." That would be a sign of desperation ;-)

                                                          2. I would like to know when they're going to start cooking in kitchens. there seem to be far more outside challenges compared to other seasons (that I can recall).

                                                            While it makes for good TV, I don't think it produces realistic outcomes as to who is the best chef. It comes across like they had little cooperation from DC-area establishments when it came to locations for challenges <shrug>

                                                            1. Timothy was paired up with Ed, who won the quickfire correct? Does anyone recall what Ed made, it's driving me nuts trying to remember?

                                                              17 Replies
                                                                1. re: saeyedoc

                                                                  Just go to the bravotv.com website --> top chef --> photos for the episode and you can see everyone's dishes.

                                                                  Or, you can look at the full episode again (from the videos sub-page) on bravo, or - in higher def - at hulu.com.

                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                    They've finally gotten their act together at the Bravo site and get the recipes up pretty quickly now. You can search on their full names and they'll all come up that way.

                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                      Sorry, can't get on the Bravo website at work. Was trying to figure out why Timothy's partner wasn't in the bottom, can't remember who it was. I guess Ed was paired w Alex on the stuffed tenderloin. Was it Tiffany who was paired with Tim?

                                                                      1. re: saeyedoc

                                                                        I gave you the links in my earlier reply to you, saeyedoc, so you can get them when you get home.

                                                                        And remember - each cheftestant was on their own...they themselves paired up to prepare various dishes, but each was being judged on their own...so it wasn't going to be a duo going to the Bottom group.

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          ...altho the top four were two pairs: Kenny and Kevin and Andrea and Kelly

                                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                                            True, but I don't believe that's how they were picked (being paired up)...the food was what was being judged. If it was pairs like last week, wouldn't we have had 4 in the bottom group?

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                              no. not all of the chefs worked with partners. I remember hearing Tiffany say she didn't want to work with Tim on this challenge, she preferred to work alone. As well, I think for the failures, they zeroed in on the chefs who made those individual dishes.

                                                                              BTW, great play-by-play this week, Linda!

                                                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                Thanks on the play-by-play comment. I'm seriously having fun when I do it! I can't make it as funny as the links that huiray posts, as I'm just not that funny. :-)

                                                                                As for the chefs not pairing up, that's kind of what I was saying - it *seemed* like they were pairing up (per Angelo's insistence in the house) but some didn't do so, like Tiffany (which I had forgotten about...and obviously a VERY good idea not to work with Timothy as he was a goner!). But as Padma said - they were working as one team, but being judged individually.

                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                  True. I said in my post at 11.13 am that it was Tiffany+Timothy. I think they were "paired off" following Kenny's suggestion of their previous pairings, and indeed the two of them started out - in the episode - as a pair, but as the evening progressed they began to separate out, with Tiffany remarking that she had more-or-less told Tim what to do in that Crabcake+'supporting veggies' QF win of their previously etc etc and that she preferred to work alone apart from Tim.

                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                    No, she was referring to last week's challenges when they were in teams when she said she was pretty much telling Tim what to do. I noticed that when Kenny asked (in the house the night before the EC) whether people wanted to pair with their teammates from last week, the camera was on her *not* raising her hand. She and Ed appeared to be the two who did not want to, and it appears it ended up happening by default because everyone else did want to. (I'm sure she and Ed would have been happy to team up, as he said, but I think even more so they were unhappy with their previous partners after last week.)

                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                        ...but what you say I thought was what I said?

                                                                                        I referred to "...with Tiffany remarking that she had more-or-less told Tim what to do in that Crabcake+'supporting veggies' QF win of their previously etc etc and that she preferred to work alone apart from Tim."
                                                                                        I didn't say she wanted to pair up with Tim, I said they started out as a pair (as you elaborated, by default) but with her going off/drifting off and with her explaining that "she preferred to work alone apart from Tim."

                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                          huiray, I think I was confused by the crabcake QF reference in your post, thinking you were referring to this ep's crab QF, as it wasn't the QF they were paired in the time before (that was baby food), but the EC with the progressive stages - and they did do the crabcake benedict there. So yes, we're on the same page.

                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                      Linda, your summaries are well appreciated by me (and many others).

                                                                            2. re: saeyedoc

                                                                              Yes, it was Tiffany+Timothy.
                                                                              Ed did the ratatouille, Alex did the stuffed tenderloin.

                                                                      2. I know Kenny definitely has the skills to make it to the finals on Top Chef but I really hope he doesn't. His "I am the alpha male" shtick is getting old. Between him and Angelo calling everything "sexy," I've had enough.

                                                                        Boy, do I miss last season's cheftestants!

                                                                        1. Please, Dear God, do not let Ed and Tiffany become this year's Leah and Hosaiah.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                            Thanks for the picture Hamster. Now I gotta go wash my eyes.

                                                                          2. imho, we need to get over complaining that these are not last season's chefs. This is a different show. Each season is different, and that's how it is. imho it would be REALLY boring if they were all alike.

                                                                            It's true that the Top 4 from last season were truly exceptional cooks and also personalities to watch on TV. The odds of that happening in a show of this type, I'd guess is pretty rare, which makes it even less likely to recur.

                                                                            This was the 5th episode of this season. I personally am really enjoying this season so far, and am wishing and hoping we can get with just loving and/or hating the DC cheftestants and leaving the Las Vegas guys out of it. No, these are not the Volts, KevinG and Jenn. Ain't gonna happen!

                                                                            19 Replies
                                                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                                                              But the comparison is inevitable, ChefJ. They were THAT good, and we're now spoiled.

                                                                              We want what we want when we want it! (Damn, that's hard to type! LOL)

                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                  Sure we're spoiled by last year's cheftestants. We deserve it!

                                                                                  It's that this crop doesn't even seem as talented as many of the past seasons'

                                                                                  Take the 3rd/4th place chefs from the other seasons -- IMO any one of them would be favored to win this year: Dave/Lee Ann; Sam/Elia; Casey/Brian; Antonia/Spike; Carla/Fabio.

                                                                                  In fact, the 7th place cheftestants from past seasons would make a run here: Betty; Howie; Andrew; Jamie; Mike

                                                                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                    I'll give you the 3rd/4th place from previous seasons....not so sure about 7th place cheftestants tho....but perhaps a few of them. I can definitely see Lee Ann and Sam killing it this season, though.

                                                                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                      <In fact, the 7th place cheftestants from past seasons would make a run here: Betty; Howie; Andrew; Jamie; Mike>

                                                                                      I disagree wholeheartedly. Some of the 3rd and 4th placers, maybe, but not even all of them. I think you're selling this season's cast way short -- and it's the not-so-magical elves' fault, imho.

                                                                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                        Agreed ChefJune. I feel like we're just not getting as much about the food this year. There were some potentially interesting dishes yesterday, but we saw so little of them. The nonfood minutes/food minutes balance of the episodes seems to be way off. I still don't feel like I have a sense of the ability levels of most of the chefs.

                                                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                          Sorry, but I'd put ALL of the 3/4's I mentioned against any of them -- as I have seen so far.

                                                                                    2. re: ChefJune

                                                                                      I wonder if they thought last year was a runaway--it was pretty apparent, quickly, who the top 4 were and we were just waiting for the others, who became irrelevant, to be eliminated. This season, it's more evenly matched and no one seems that far beyond the others that we'd be surprised to see them go. I think any can go and it wouldn't surprise me tremendously.

                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                        I agree, chowser, and if the elves would show us some of the actual cooking, I think everyone could get into the spirit of the competition. We need to see the cooking in order to choose favorites! Forget about the "relationships." I think everyone got their nose full in the season with Hosea and Leah. ;-p

                                                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                          Yeah, I really don't feel like having the "funny tummy" feelings if stuff like the Hosea/Leah crapola comes back into this season.

                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            I can't watch the whole Hosea/Leah season, because of their hookup. I've tried, it's just too hard to watch. I sure hope we don't go there again. Ever.

                                                                                          2. re: ChefJune

                                                                                            I agree that we haven't gotten to know the cheftestents' cooking all that much. The cooking at Ayershire Farm was a mishmash to me. The whole episode was edited terribly, as though they couldn't decide whether to spend time on food, or character development. They accomplished neither, IMO.
                                                                                            The only part that was clear was that Tim was going home. The foreshadowing of his dithering over a bunch of turnips said a lot.

                                                                                            1. re: monavano

                                                                                              "dithering over a bunch of turnips" LOL

                                                                                            2. re: ChefJune

                                                                                              I agree about "personal" relationships, too. I don't care who Angelo clicks with the most or any of that. I do like to see them helping each other in the kitchen, offering advice, etc. but the rest is unimportant. They flip through the cooking so quickly, and it's such a mismash of scenes, pounding crabs, chopping them, etc. that I can't remember who made what when it comes to judging.

                                                                                            3. re: chowser

                                                                                              Good point Chowser!
                                                                                              I agree!!

                                                                                              BTW -I have not been able to join the TC board before today - I was having some odd technical trouble with the CH site - Today is the first day in weeks that I have been able to see the discussions - anyway -I am very much excited to finally join in and discuss my favorite show!!

                                                                                              For the record - I guess I am in the minority - because I am really enjoying this season!
                                                                                              Much better than last year in fact!
                                                                                              I found last years personalitys rather boring, and I hated the "Vegas" theme..and I guess also because of Chowsers point - it just wasnt a fair race...
                                                                                              This year, So far - I am liking everyone...in other words -there is not yet a clear A -hole !
                                                                                              And not too many ceviches!

                                                                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                Nelly, you've been missed! I LOL'd at "not yet a clear A-hole". :-)

                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                  Thanks so much Linda!! I have missed your posts as well!!
                                                                                                  It's good to be back - though I am not sure how long it'll last - I'm really having trouble w/ the site!

                                                                                                  I am really fed up - I don't know what the heck is going on with my access to the boards...I have been trying again to click this topic o reply back to you guys - and I couldnt until just now.
                                                                                                  ...And I havent been able to see any of the other discussions either.

                                                                                                  I can click my "my chow" or I can click a topic...but not a particular post or board.

                                                                                                  any ideas anyone?? HELP!

                                                                                                  It's freaking me out! I'm not having any trouble with any other web-sites??

                                                                                                  I also tried posting a new topic on sittalk - but I wasnt able to do that either!

                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                    What are you using - IE or Firefox? Perhaps some changes to either browser is causing you non-access?

                                                                                                    Also - perhaps there's a buggy somewhere in your cache - have you tried clearing all cookies and Internet cache to see if that's it?

                                                                                                2. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                  I agree, Nelly. the playing field seems more even this season than last.

                                                                                            4. I’m enjoying this season and think the chefs are pretty good. In fact, I think every chef that has ever been on Top Chef must possess good cooking skills or they wouldn’t have made the cut. The reason some of them look unskilled is because of the challenges, most of which are provided to be entertaining rather than a measure of a chef’s talent. Even though the challenges are bizarre at times they do seem to do a fairly good job of weeding out the field and in most cases the chefs with the most talent and experience go the farthest.
                                                                                              I am surprised by how many chefs seem unprepared for the challenges (the challenges don’t change that much from season to season). Often times it seems like they’ve never seen the show before. That chefs would arrive without knowledge of how to make a single dessert or have practiced with ingredients they don’t generally cook with is mind boggling to me.
                                                                                              This season it seems Angelo, Kelly, and Kenny are the top tier but they don’t seem so far above that it would come as a surprise if any one of them got knocked off on any given challenge. I like the parity; almost anyone left could win. Last year it seemed that baring a disaster, the whole season was just passing time to the final four.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: californiabeerandpizza

                                                                                                I'm late to the party today and haven't had a chance to read all the posts, but all I have to say is : Yawn. I'm finding myself bored by all of it. Even the feigned drama between Kenny and Angelo is getting boring. There are no standouts, chef wise or personality wise, despite the fact that. yes, Kenny and Angelo are strong. The rest of them? I couldn't even tell you their names. I still have yet to learn them. They just aren't making an impression. That said, so far you can send them all home and I don't think I'd care. Kenny may be an exception. The whole Angelo/Tamesha (ooh! I knew her name!) thing is zzzzzzzzzzz, same with the other guy and his close female friend--both whose names I dont know. Boring. Boring boring boring. Padma is boring. Tom is boring, even saintly Eric Ripert is boring.
                                                                                                Cooking and then eating on that farm also seemed like a miserable experience. Everyone looked cold and as if they wanted to high tail it out of there. Oh well. Good riddance to the guy they booted--he seemed nice but , again, like everyone else, unmemorable. Andrea, who is from Miami and reminds us so in every sentence, is trying to come out as a star or bigmouth of this season but is only coming across as irksome. Sigh. I miss Kevin and Voltaggios.

                                                                                              2. The crabs might have been from Maryland, but chances are they were from somewhere else, specifacally the entire Gulf coast plus the Carolinas. We can't find crabs in Texas restaurants due to all shipped to Maryland. Before everyone goes oil spill on me, this is the last New Orleans post relevant to the spill, read it and obviously they are still getting seafood.


                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                  well, and this was filmed in April, before the spill. :)

                                                                                                  1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                    Yeah but, thety are still harvesting in Louisiana, plus Texas and the other states, except for oysters in La.

                                                                                                  1. this season doesn't have the talent or personalities of the last few seasons, but I think that that is precisely what sets this reality show apart from other faux-reality television shows. The producers don't hire anyone based on personality, looks - it's really just about the best of the talent pool. Sometimes the talent pool has the Voltaggios and Hung, sometimes it doesn't.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: brooklynkoshereater

                                                                                                      I'm going to have to disagree with you here. While the casting of TC is not like Hell's Kitchen, personalities and looks definitely play a role. TC just wouldn't be the same if everybody had the personality of Koren Grieveson (one of the TC guest judges). If it was truly about pure talent, Candace (and many others) from Season 1 wouldn't have been cast. She was just a culinary student.

                                                                                                      Overall, I think Magical Elves have been pretty good about casting a good mix of talent and personality. I will admit that this season is falling a little flat for me -- not sure whether it's because Season 6 was so awesome or if I'm getting tired of this show.

                                                                                                    2. I'm surprised no one has answered Linda's original question about Angelo's intentions. Judging from his past behavior with the celery, something is definitely up. I couldn't figure it out while watching the show but I think Linda hit the nail on the head. In his mind he probably thinks he can advance a few weaker chefs a couple more weeks along and then leave them on their own. If he is doing this I would love to see it backfire on him and one of the "weaker" chefs eventually take him out.

                                                                                                      His overall behavior with Tamesha is really creeping me out. I know he has a son at home, but there is no mention on his bio if he is married. Even if he isn't, that scene with the two of them outside made my skin crawl. I also think Kenny is getting a bad rap for his behavior, Angelo definitely eggs him.

                                                                                                      Finally, I hope this does not open a whole barrel of worms, but is that common to put live crabs in an oven? I know and respect that the best crabs are freshly killed before cooking, but the oven seems a bit of a slower death than other methods

                                                                                                      28 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: elliora

                                                                                                        Thanks elliora - I had forgotten my question re: Angelo. I'd be interested to hear what others think (but that only works if they've seen the preview). Perhaps the question can wait until next week when we all see what Angelo's up to.

                                                                                                        But I also would like to see it backfire on him if that's the game he's playing. :-)

                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                          While it does continue next week per the previews I thought someone mentioned that they were questioning his closeness to Tamesha. It looks like it will intensify next week as he adds another student. Like I said something REALLY bugs me about him. Yes, he can cook but there are all sorts of talented creeps out there!

                                                                                                          1. re: elliora

                                                                                                            Yes, it looks like he's really helping out Stephen and Tamesha. Which could be a "help out the weaker to be stronger, and get the REALLY strong chefs voted off the island" method to his madness. We shall see.

                                                                                                        2. re: elliora

                                                                                                          I thought Angelo was gay, to be honest!

                                                                                                          1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                                            Why did you think Angelo was gay? I'm curious.

                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                              I dunno but I definitely thought he was gay. even when he said he had a kid. I figured, oh, cute, gay dad!

                                                                                                              1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                                                My husband and I absolutely thought the same thing! And he was a dad because he adopted a baby :)

                                                                                                                  1. re: thew

                                                                                                                    Oh I know, I just had a whole scenario in my mind...

                                                                                                          2. re: elliora

                                                                                                            See, I've put together an Angelo theme, but don't know what to do with it -- not enough data to know if there's some "must confess to something" thing going on for some unclear purpose. (Or maybe there's more, I've been tuning in late a couple times.)

                                                                                                            Baby food challenge: "I've got a son at home."
                                                                                                            Crab challenge: "I've had crabs."

                                                                                                            1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                              momjamin: he may just be trying (without a lot of apparent success) to personalize the challenges so that the audience gets to know him a bit better. Honestly, while his understanding of social cues seems a bit off, I'm not convinced he isn't a good guy at heart, and I'm definitely not convinced he's smart enough to bring 'lesser' chefs along as a competitive strategy....

                                                                                                              In short, I find Angelo to be less than likeable sometimes, but I don't get a bad guy vibe from him either.

                                                                                                              1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                I agree with you, Susan -- ever since he talked about how Amanda's ribs were better than his, I've thought that he's generally an okay guy with just a little too much arrogance (which, really, he's a chef, so I would expect that). He seems pretty genuine in most of his behavior, and I thought that his little pep talk to Tamesha was nice.

                                                                                                                1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                                  I agree with Jasmine G and Susancinsf

                                                                                                                  he's talented, driven and smart enough to accurately assess how good he is. that's not arrogance. it's close, but it's not arrogance.

                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                      Whew. What a bio on the behind the burner page! Personally I have not found him that off-putting. I do wish they'd give us more of the food creation and prep and less of this "reality show" drama crap.

                                                                                                                  1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                    Personalize the challenges? What is this - The Next Feed Network Star?

                                                                                                                    On the nest TNFNS we'll see Bob get all teary eyed as one of the contestants, maybe Tom, tells a compelling personal story of how he struggled through having crabs during the next Star Challenge where they are cooking with crabs....

                                                                                                                    1. re: AmblerGirl

                                                                                                                      Personally, I think that Top Chef became the equivalent of the Next Food Network Star a long time ago. Like it or not, that is what it is, IMO. And if it wasn't, why would anyone talk about whether Angelo has people conned or not? It is clearly edited to be about the personalities, and the participants, thinking ahead to their career, play on that (with, as I alluded to, varying degrees of success).

                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                          Who does this guy's PR? I don't like him and now it turns out he's everywhere.

                                                                                                                    2. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                      Here's a paragraph from one poster's (Exceptionalists) contribution in the comments section for Tom Colicchio's blog for this episode on bravotv.com:
                                                                                                                      "On a (relatively) lighter note, I am appalled at how many fans seem to adore Kenny yet seethe at Angelo. I find it laughable that when Angelo goes out of his way to help other chefs, a trait that has been in general sorely lacking this season, he is chided as having some sort of sinister agenda. Kenny on the other hand, cannot even spare two seconds to apologize to his teammate for knocking over his cauliflower (The wind excuse? Take a closer look at that scene – my, those tablecloths are fluttering, and the branches on the tree behind them are swaying so dangerously the cameraman should be screaming “Heads Up!”). If I have to see Kenny puff out his chest, unfurl his plumage, and say, “I should be the alpha male” one more time, I am going to lose my lunch."


                                                                                                                  2. re: elliora

                                                                                                                    I had the same thought about Angelo and how he was playing. I think your analysis of his strategy is right on and I, too, would love to see him go down to one of his "mentors" but I don't think it will happen. I don't like him at all, but I don't know yet (still!) who is strong enough to take him out.

                                                                                                                    1. re: elliora

                                                                                                                      I really thought that highlighting of the handling of the crabs headed for the oven, on the part of the producers/editors, was gratuitous and should not have been included.

                                                                                                                      It would be interesting to know what the real timeline is on this show (i.e. how many hours or days transpire in real time between each scene and from "episode" to "episode") we just might find that episodes are carved out of the complete story narrative long after all episodes have been recorded.

                                                                                                                      I think that the editing has clearly telegraphed that Tim's time on the show was limited early on, that his particular "story arc" is enhanced by deliberate editing. And I believe this is standard operating procedure on how they present most of the other characters, (and I term them "characters" in this context because that is what the producers and editors intend them to be, not really chefs or contestants, but character types). I believe that careful observation of the episodes as they "play out", keeping in mind terms such as narrative, character development and story arc, and keeping in mind how the editors can use cutting and pasting techniques (both visually and aurally) part of their bag of tricks, would reveal a lot about the eventual outcomes.

                                                                                                                      While this may, arguably, in the eyes of many be one of the more "honest" reality shows on TV, they are still following a static formula in order to keep the audience's interest.

                                                                                                                      It is still an entertaining viewing experience, though. And I really would like to see Tamesha make a fool of Angelo, it's always fun seeing the cocky guy get knocked down a few notches.

                                                                                                                      1. re: ChinoWayne

                                                                                                                        From what Colicchio has said in the past, the entire season (except the finale episodes) are filmed over an approximate 30-day period. I think each episode takes two or three days, depending on what's going on.

                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                          Then that would seem to jibe with my theory that most of the episodes could be "in the can" when the editors get their hands on them.

                                                                                                                          1. re: ChinoWayne

                                                                                                                            Yes, that's how they do it. It has the same shooting and TV schedule as Project Runway. Every episode before the finals is taped over 30 days. So the TV people edit with the foresight of everything before the final 4. To keep spoiler free, the finals are semi-live, in they happen only one or two weeks before being shown on TV. So the finals are held in a different location, months later, and the finalists have seen the other episodes and their and other contestant TV portrayal.

                                                                                                                            This season of Top Chef started taping during DC's cherry blossom, about the end of April.

                                                                                                                    2. I watched last night and did NOT expect Tim to go home! But now that someone mentioned the comments on flavor, it makes more sense to me. That was Kenny's first EC win, no?
                                                                                                                      ITA with whoever said that Eric Ripert looked HOT bundled up in that scarf. I couldn't drool too much watching the episode, DH was sitting next to me, lol!

                                                                                                                      Man, next week's preview made it look like a train wreck all around!

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                        Really disappointed to see the ads for tonight's quickfire. Odd ingredients like alligator and duck testicles. Remember last week when Ed and Tiffany were discussing a challenge using alligator. Clearly, they knew about the quickfire ahead of time. Very disappointing for anyone who thought the quick fire was actually a surprise..

                                                                                                                        1. re: Trip Klaus

                                                                                                                          How did they "clearly know" about the quickfire? Anyone who's seen past seasons knows they always have an "odd food item" challenge. The editing could have also taken Ed and Tiffany's comments out of context as well.