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Top Chef - D.C. - Ep. #7 - 07/28/10 (Spoilers)

LindaWhit Jul 28, 2010 06:23 PM

So - in the house before they head over to the TC kitchen, Kenny doesn't think he was on the bottom in the last EC because of his food - he thinks it was because of the strategy (essentially blaming Angelo). Interesting. Wonder what he thinks now knowing the judges felt the same was his fellow cheftestants did about his dish?

Aaron Schock, Representative from Illinois and Padma greet the cheftestants for the QuickFire. Schock explains what a new Rep goes through when they first start out - a discussion on ethics (oh, I'm SO reserving comment on THAT!) and that includes food. Food MUST be served at these lavish parties as "bite-sized fare" - on toothpicks, so the reps cannot be swayed by lavish dinners. And the winner of the Quickfire? Gets $20,000 and immunity.

Oh wow - Tiffany's dish sounded wonderful! In fact, several of these appetizers sounded wonderful...I wonder if some of them can be stretched out to a larger tapa-type dish? And Padma wrinkles her nose at Alex's dish, who had pooh-poohed Stephen's "elaborate" appetizer. Yeah, that's always a guarantee that Alex will be in the bottom group and Stephen will be in the top group.

In the bottom group? Alex, Ed and Kelly. In the top group? Kevin, Angelo, and Stephen. (Elves, that one was WAY too easy to figure out re: Alex and Stephen! LOL)

And the winner? Angelo's cucumber cup with shrimp and cashews! Interesting - that was a substitute prep when the pineapple roll wasn't working. I like the idea of pineapple, shrimp and cashew better. But Kevin's ticked off that Angelo won yet again.

On to the EC - create a power lunch at an "upscale eatery" - The Palm. They essentially take over the entire kitchen. They'll each serve 24 diners, using 5 of the ingredients on their main menu, which The Palm will provide:

Lobster - Angelo & Ed
Swordfish - Andrea & Tiffany
Salmon - Alex & Stephen
Lamb Chops - Kevin & Kenny
Porterhouse Steaks - Amanda & Kelly

Angelo and Ed are a bit handicapped, as they're dealing with a live animal, whereas everyone else is working with pre-cut fish and meat. A lot of Angelo's and Ed's time is taken up in prepping their lobster.

Back at the house, Ed's talking about his pea purée with Tiffany....this must be the infamous pea purée that Alex absconds with, as we saw in the preview last week. And Andrea, Kenny and Alex were talking about peas in the kitchen as well.

WHOA! They just showed the bit again - and Ed can't find the pea purée and asks Alex if he saw it - and Alex says he DIDN'T see it - after they had just showed him stirring the purée and tapping a spoon against the pot! Holy crap - I really hope he gets called out about this!

Commercial - Dinner For Schmucks....THIS one looks odd! LOL

Back at The Palm...to begin preparation for lunch. The owner comes back to the kitchen to say this is the first time they've ever handed over the kitchen. With a fully booked lunch, he's understandably nervous. :-) The winner of the EC gets their dish on The Palm's menu, and their picture on the wall at The Palm.

And Alex is now saying his whole game plan was based on making a pea purée? So did he take Ed's purée or not? However, Tiffany is saying that Alex didn't conceptualize his dish until DAY OF the challenge....and even Ed knew the same thing. So did he really take it? WTH?

Chef Art Smith, politico Aaron Schock from IL and Mark Warner from VA, and journalists Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, and Savannah Guthrie are all the judges, along with John Podesta, Luke Russert, and the VP of The Palm Restaurant (sorry, can't remember her name!)

Amanda and Kelly are first up with their porterhouse steaks. Kelly's seems well received. Next up are Tiffany and Andrea's swordfish. Tiffany's seems well received, except for her overcooking the fish (which she knew).

Salmon is up next - Stephen and Alex's dishes. Alex's dish is well received, especially by Chef Art Smith - BECAUSE of the pea purée!

Lobster is next - Angelo and Ed. The foam on Angelo's doesn't go over well. Ed had peas on his plate (rather that the pea purée). Peas were "unnecessary" per Gail Simmons.

Finally, the lamb from Kenny and Kevin. Luke Russert had a funny line about Kenny's dish (which of course I now can't remember except for the first part: "Oscar for Best Actor (the lamb)...") At least it cracked up Art Smith.

And the question for viewers? Do you think Alex took Ed's pea purée? This will be interesting.

Wow - and now Alex is saying in the Stew Room that he didn't even KNOW that Ed was getting peas - but then they show Alex, Kenny and Andrea talking about it the night before in the TC kitchen....and Kenny even said after Ed pureed it, it looked really good. So Alex is lying. DAMN.

Alex, Tiffany and Ed are in the top group. Art Smith is raving on Alex's dish, especially the pea purée. Oh - I'll die if Alex wins this one. And holy crap. He wins. Wow.

EVERYONE in the stew room is saying that there's NO WAY that Alex could have made that purée in the amount of time the day of preparation at The Palm. I'll be very interested to read what Colicchio says in his blog.

Kelly, Kevin and Andrea are in the bottom group. Kevin's lamb dish is way overcooked and overseasoned. Andrea's swordfish was not well received. Kelly's porterhouse steak was definitely over-salted, per the judges. And she knew it was oversalted as the plates went out. Is that going to be her downfall? Kelly didn't share her salt, as Amanda noted. Amanda also says because she didn't share, she deserves to be in the bottom. HUH? Kelly gets very emotional in the Stew Room while they're waiting. She seasoned to the way she thought they'd want "aggressive flavors", vs. her way, which is delicate. COOK YOUR OWN FOOD, Kelly!

I'm not really sure who's going home. But I think it's either Kevin for overcooking his sous-vide lamb, or Kelly for her oversalted porterhouse.

I'm still pissed at Alex winning. I really, REALLY want to know if he stole the purée! And NINETY PERCENT of those voting think Alex took the pea purée!

Who's going home? Wow - it's Andrea. The vanilla in her dish did her in. I think Kelly dodged a major bullet there.

And I just noticed at the live blogging at Bravo, this little gem: "Bravo Monica:
Tom's blog is all about Pea-gate this week, so be sure to read after the show! " I'll be VERY interested to know what he thinks/knows!

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  1. monavano Jul 28, 2010 06:50 PM

    Alex totally bogarted the pea puree ;-)

    9 Replies
    1. re: monavano
      LindaWhit Jul 28, 2010 06:55 PM

      And if he did, that should disqualify him completely. But I wonder if they'll ever know for sure. I'll bet next week will show everyone getting all over Alex for taking it.

      1. re: LindaWhit
        monavano Jul 28, 2010 06:57 PM

        90% of the Bravo audience agree that Alex swiped the pea puree.

        1. re: monavano
          LindaWhit Jul 28, 2010 07:02 PM

          Just noted that in my original post. And I just edited it to say that Tom's blog is all about Pea-gate as well, which will be at interesting read!

        2. re: LindaWhit
          l
          Leepa Jul 31, 2010 11:57 AM

          They can check his receipt from Whole Foods to see if he bought the ingredients for it. Simple.

          1. re: Leepa
            Caitlin McGrath Jul 31, 2010 02:17 PM

            I don't think people are claiming he didn't buy the peas. In fact, I believe the discussion about Ed's pea purée at the house began because Alex said he had peas. But having bought the ingredients doesn't preclude his taking Ed's purée instead of making his own.

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath
              l
              Leepa Jul 31, 2010 07:25 PM

              My apologies, Caitlin.

              1. re: Leepa
                Caitlin McGrath Jul 31, 2010 09:29 PM

                No need to apologize! We're all just sharing our opinions, some of which are bound to contradict others, and that's not a problem for any of us, I hope.

        3. re: monavano
          piglet86 Jul 28, 2010 07:00 PM

          Heh. Won't it be interesting when he gives The Palm his recipe for it to put on the menu?

          1. re: piglet86
            Shrinkrap Jul 28, 2010 10:04 PM

            But folks will come to see the picture of "the guy who stole the pea puree!

        4. LindaWhit Jul 28, 2010 07:06 PM

          Tom's Bravo blog is up:

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

          "First of all, if there’s a single viewer who still wondered whether the judges know what goes on behind the scenes (and make decisions with any of that in mind), I would hope that this incident would have laid that to rest forevermore. This episode surely proves that we judges absolutely never have access to behind-the-scenes conversations or goings-on, as there is no way on earth that we would blithely have judged the dishes as we did this week without delving into the matter of the creator of that puree. We just judge the food on the plates in front of us. Not even I knew about the controversy, even though I spent some time in the kitchen, as I had arrived there after Ed had gone searching for his pea puree and there was no mention of the issue to me by any of the contestants while I was there. The other judges and I first learned about it just as you did, by watching the episode this week, and I was not happy to learn that there had been any question of impropriety. I’m surprised, frankly, that the producers didn’t choose to depart from normal protocol and say anything to us to clue us in about the matter."

          There's a lot more there at the blog - Tom lists 3 scenarios...two of which you can't blame Alex for. But here's the thing - there are cameras. ALL OVER THE PLACE. The editors know whether or not Alex swiped the pea purée. They would have filmed him making the purée, yes?

          So I think we have to believe he didn't - the editing elves would know. And if they did, I have to believe (I *WANT* to believe!) the producers would have clued in the judges, and Alex would have been eliminated immediately for cheating.

          32 Replies
          1. re: LindaWhit
            f
            FlyerFan Jul 28, 2010 08:41 PM

            Interesting comments by Tom - I'm rewatching the episode and you can clearly see Tom in the kitchen when Ed is frantically searching the kitchen for the missing puree (Tom's blue chef's jacket makes him very easy to spot).

            1. re: FlyerFan
              susancinsf Jul 28, 2010 09:10 PM

              It could be that he arrived after Ed said anything, and thought Ed was just sort of frantically running around without focus, without realizing what Ed was looking for. (IIRC, Tom did mention to the others at JT that he thought some of the contestants seemed frantic and lacked focus in the kitchen: running around looking for stuff certainly qualifies to fit that description).

              1. re: FlyerFan
                j
                JayEsBee Jul 28, 2010 09:17 PM

                It appeared to me that Tom was in a position to see and hear Ed searching for his pea puree. Maybe not enough to cause suspicion in and of itself, but then when Alex's dish shows up with pea puree and Ed's does not, I can't believe an alarm doesn't go off.

                But even if he was oblivious, I can't believe that there's no one from the TC crew who knows what happened. I guess it doesn't matter now, except to us obsessives who will be talking about this on the boards for years to come.

                Oh well. As for the rest of the episode and the season in general, I haven't fallen in love with any of the contestants, but one advantage this season has over last season is suspense. Did anyone NOT predict the final four last year after two episodes? While Angelo seems to be the strongest chef, he's not bulletproof. The cheftestants are much more evenly matched this year. Ed & Tiffany are growing on me. I don't mind Angelo as much as most people seem to.

                1. re: JayEsBee
                  lisavf Jul 29, 2010 07:46 AM

                  You're right that they seem more evenly matched, but I have to say, I liked seeing the sheer craftsmanship and artistry that last season's top 4 brought to the table, so I was only too happy to watch them cook each week while waiting for the remaining contestants to be eliminated. I thought there was actually a lot MORE drama each week because it was a really tight game among the top 4. I found that more interesting than this season, where anyone can (and does) win, but nobody really shines. I liked it that last season 4 people were amazing, 1 or 2 others were pretty close behind, so there really was a competition, each contestant pushing to top the others, and those close behind trying to push their way into the top, whereas this year, even the best food seems to be fairly middling.

                  1. re: lisavf
                    SDGourmand Jul 29, 2010 08:22 AM

                    completely agree. This season is putting me to sleep. I just want restaurant wars and then the top 4.

                    1. re: SDGourmand
                      j
                      jeanmarieok Jul 29, 2010 03:09 PM

                      The food hasn't been interesting, and I don't care enough about any of the contestants. I know i want Amanda to go home, already, but other than that, I have no favorites to win.

              2. re: LindaWhit
                JasmineG Jul 28, 2010 10:13 PM

                They don't have all that many cameras, though -- it's not like the real world house where they have them mounted on the walls; they just have camera men, and they're not following each chef around all the time, especially at this point when there are so many chefs. Especially since they were in The Palm's kitchen, it would be a lot harder for camera men to follow every storyline going on. I think that if they had the footage, they would have used it; I think that they showed everything about the pea drama that they had.

                1. re: JasmineG
                  ChinoWayne Jul 28, 2010 10:42 PM

                  Agree with your last sentence. Also the timing of the editing comes in to play, the editors may not have seen all of the episode's footage, or any of it, when the judging was going on. If something untoward were discovered in editing, it would probably have been too late to tip the judges for that episode.

                  Tom's blog post also makes sense, and, at least to me, the circumstantial evidence against Alex seems very convincing that the puree he presented was not his own.

                  I figure, Karma is going to take care of Alex in this regard, we haven't yet seen what transpires in future episodes. Now if Ed had been eliminated tonight, then it would have been a whole different story on what should have happened next.

                  1. re: ChinoWayne
                    Shrinkrap Jul 29, 2010 06:40 PM

                    They have already shown him literally falling down in the previews.

                  2. re: JasmineG
                    m
                    momjamin Jul 29, 2010 03:18 AM

                    I agree the cameras couldn't have picked everything up -- remember when Fabio got hurt and kept on cooking -- they didn't seem to have footage of his actual accident, and there were way fewer chefs at that point, IIRC. If the camera crew were "everywhere", we'd see them in wide shots. No one's going to hang around the coolers with a camera when all the chefs are busy cooking, once they have a shot of general frenzy. Although they don't seem to have any footage of Alex making a fresh puree from scratch either.

                    1. re: momjamin
                      LindaWhit Jul 29, 2010 05:41 AM

                      "Although they don't seem to have any footage of Alex making a fresh puree from scratch either."
                      ~~~~~~~~~
                      And THAT is probably the most damning evidence against Alex. There have to be at least two or three hand-helds filming them while they're cooking, I'd think. Someone - ANYONE - should have caught him making the purée at one time in The Palm kitchen. But nothing.

                      1. re: LindaWhit
                        j
                        jbw Jul 29, 2010 06:37 AM

                        "And THAT is probably the most damning evidence against Alex. There have to be at least two or three hand-helds filming them while they're cooking, I'd think. Someone - ANYONE - should have caught him making the purée at one time in The Palm kitchen. But nothing."

                        And maybe they did, but it got edited out. After all, would we be all talking about this now (and viewing next week) if we knew the answer to this question. And if we knew the answer all the "drama" around which the entire episode was built would have been leached out. (The fact that in the past all improprieties on Top Chef have been quickly "outed" makes me think that there was no impropriety here, and the producers know that.) I guess the question boils down to who do you trust more. The unknown chef (with kind of scary eyes) or the producers whose life blood is ratings.

                        1. re: jbw
                          LindaWhit Jul 29, 2010 06:53 AM

                          Then the producers are playing fast and loose with the integrity of the show. And that just plain sucks. Above all, even though we get the drama bullshit throughout the seasons of TC, the integrity of the show has been there. If the producers aren't willing to pull out all the stops on finding out what happened with all of the footage they might have, I'm pissed.

                        2. re: LindaWhit
                          l
                          lizzy Jul 29, 2010 10:19 AM

                          I find this whole situation odd. I find it extremely strange that none of the cheftestants and none of the cameras saw Alex making "his" pea puree. No one saw any of the dirty dishes, utensils, gadgets Alex used or even the peas themselves. Also, if Alex didn't use Ed's pea puree, then where was the pea puree? Why did it never show up, did it just fall into the abyss that is the Palm kitchen? Did it get left behind at the TC kitchen? I feel like the editing was horrible, and they raised more questions than they answered. What is this Lost: TC style?

                          I did read Tom's blog, and he did make a couple of good points. Namely, Ed not confronting Alex and if he did do it karma biting Alex in the ass.

                          On another note, I have been kind of rooting for Kelly so I hope she is back on her game next week. Also, I cannot believe that Kenny still refuses to believe that he was on the bottom for his food. I believe the judges told him as much last week when he was at JT.

                          1. re: lizzy
                            w
                            waldrons Aug 2, 2010 05:29 PM

                            >>Although they don't seem to have any footage of Alex making a fresh puree from scratch either.<<

                            >>none of the cheftestants and none of the cameras saw Alex making "his" pea puree. No one saw any of the dirty dishes, utensils, gadgets Alex used or even the peas themselves. <<

                            I remember seeing a brief shot of peas cooking in a large pot of water about the time of the search for the pea puree, so I wondered if the elves were hinting that Alex started cooking his peas and then thought he'd made the puree already? Or he did make his puree after cooking the peas and this is a tempest in a pea pot?

                            But it is strange that no other footage or witnesses or anything have stepped forward to say, "yeah, I saw Alex making the puree". If he did steal it, he must have ditched his own peas somewhere.

                            (Of course, I haven't read all the thread yet, so this may all change downstream!)

                            Susan

                        3. re: momjamin
                          b
                          bonappetite Aug 14, 2010 04:26 AM

                          Ok, finally i'm going to fess up, perhaps it was a dream as peagate was so disturbing, but i originally though i saw footage of Padma questioning alex's pea puree that ed could not find his own......have never seen it again, but remember thinking when it was not addressed at the end of the show that it would be a surprise the following week,but obviously not. Funny if it disturbed me so much to enter my dreams, but i really felt like i saw mention of it!

                        4. re: JasmineG
                          LindaWhit Jul 29, 2010 05:39 AM

                          Good point on not having cameras mounted to walls, etc. I guess these are just the hand-helds, and they're going to be limited on the space they have to have videographers in the kitchen while they're cooking. HOWEVER....

                          I agree with Chino - Karma's gonna come back and bite Alex in the butt. It just seemed like he took it. He just seemed WAY too nervous. EVERY time there was a sense of impropriety in previous seasons, there was either the camera showing that someone had left the meat out of the fridge (Hung), proof given on Tom's blog because he knew what happened, OR the producers stepped in (Cliff pinning down Marcel and being booted). There has ALWAYS been something to support or disprove what we've seen. Nothing shows Alex making the purée.

                          Considering how this can make or break a chef's reputation (something that Tom seems to be adamant about - keeping things on the up-and-up and the integrity of the show), the fact that there is nothing showing Alex making the purée is damning in and of itself. ESPECIALLY since when Alex claimed he didn't know that Ed was doing a purée, the editors spliced in the bit from the night before showing he DID know about Ed making that purée in the TC kitchen - from Andrea and Kenny. So they showed him lying. Again - Alex seems to have taken the purée. Nothing shows that he made his own in the morning.

                          And if there had been accusations in the Stew Room (which it seemed there were, but not sure if they were voiced directly to Alex), if he HADN'T taken it, I'd think he'd have vigorously defended himself. All there was was a very brief comment to the confessional camera - and I think it was a voiceover only...not a direct comment to to camera.

                          Considering everyone else in the Stew Room voiced an opinion that they thought he had taken it, I'm really surprised that no one brought it up while they waited. But as Colicchio said, perhaps Ed didn't want to seem the tattletale. And he *was* in the Top 3.

                          It still makes Alex a slimebucket.

                        5. re: LindaWhit
                          chicgail Jul 29, 2010 04:30 AM

                          If the pea puree went missing, it was somewhere. If it didn't get packed to take to the Palm, it got left in the TC kitchen. So where was it? It didn't walk on its own somewhere on its own. If it wasn't packed and Alex didn't take it from one of the portable coolers, wouldn't it have been available on a workspace or a cooler in the kitchen where prep was done?

                          And how fortuitous for the producers. Now we have another villan to hate -- someone to root against and keep us coming back. Those elves!

                          1. re: chicgail
                            coney with everything Jul 29, 2010 06:27 AM

                            true, true, chicgail. And the point made upthread about no film of "Alex's" pea puree being made is very damning, IMO. If not a camera, one of the other chefs would have seen something.

                            1. re: coney with everything
                              LindaWhit Jul 29, 2010 06:34 AM

                              Several additional points about Alex's pea purée.

                              1. The Palm provided PROTEIN ONLY. Which means Alex would have had to *buy*y the peas before prep in the TC kitchen, NOT get them from The Palm's produce. Did we see Alex pick up a package of English peas at WF? Would he have had to shell the peas? (I'm assuming WF sells them already shelled?)

                              2. Alex didn't have any idea what he was making the night before - "I have 20 ideas running around my head" was what he said to Kenny and Andrea. Kenny joked that he really needed to pin down what he was going to make. And during the comments re: Ed's purée and how good it looked, Alex was very intent on that conversation.

                              3. We know Alex didn't prep any pea purée in the TC kitchen the night before.

                              4. So far as we know, none of the other chefs saw him making an English pea purée at The Palm.

                              5. There was NO footage (even shot after the challenge to prove Alex made his own purée) of Ed's pea purée being found in another cooler, in the TC fridge, nothing. (The producers have always shown this before to clear things up.)

                              The evidence against Alex is circumstantial, but it is still pretty damning.

                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                lisavf Jul 29, 2010 07:11 AM

                                I'm in no way defending Alex here, but as to #1, I believe that's how Ed's pea puree came up in conversation at the house - Alex was saying he didn't know what to do with his peas, and Kenny said that Ed had peas and made a puree with them. So I do think Alex bought peas. Now, as to what he did with them...

                                1. re: lisavf
                                  LindaWhit Jul 29, 2010 07:17 AM

                                  I'm reading TWoP's forum about this episode, and someone said in a re-watch that they did see Alex take packages of peas out of a cooler....very briefly, but they did see it (I'll have to re-watch to see if I see the same thing).

                                  Another person said "I don't think there's any question that Alex had peas. He did, and described them as shitty the night before. We do see him taking out peas in a ziploc bag and we do hear him interviewing, "I'm gonna make a pea puree first thing. If it's good, I'll use it. If not, I'll toss it."

                                  So yes, the question is - what did Alex do with his OWN peas?

                                  ETA: Another post has these two points:

                                  1) Stephen's response to Ed's question clearly makes it seem as if the puree was definitely in the cooler Stephen got his stuff from. If that was the case, it could not have been left behind in the TC kitchen because Stephen says something like it was in the cooler under whatever he took out, and because his stuff was on top, he had no need to move Ed's puree, meaning the puree was present when the food got to the restaurant, yet magically disappeared sometime subsequent to this.

                                  2) Alex on the evening before the actual cooking clearly has no idea what to do with his dish, let alone the peas; so even if Kenny never mentioned the puree (which he clearly did), Alex's sudden claim that his entire dish centered on the puree form the very beginning seems questionable at best, and makes him look suspect -- perhaps there was a portion of his conversation with Kenny and Andrea where he states he thought about a puree but wondered if that was the way to go took place, but the reactions we were shown from both Andrea and Kenny as puree-gae unfolded do not seem to support this speculation. My other issue is the considering the puree would have needed to be strained more than once to assure a universal consistency (this is where I think Kenny's questioning of the time factor comes into play because Alex was clearly seen running around doing his main course yet strangely not observed repeatedly straining peas).
                                  ~~~~~~~
                                  I think the time factor is key.

                          2. re: LindaWhit
                            j
                            jujuthomas Jul 29, 2010 05:39 AM

                            I'm so going to have to read Tom's blog when I get home! I was very disturbed last night by the way the editing implicated Alex. I want to think these people are above stealing each other's food, but I know they aren't! :)
                            I was sad to see Andrea go, I really think there are weaker chefs... but clearly her dish was not good.

                            1. re: LindaWhit
                              t
                              TuteTibiImperes Jul 29, 2010 07:04 PM

                              My view is that the whole pea drama is manufactured from creative editing. It isn't inconceivable that no one saw Alex make a pea puree - after all, it wouldn't take very long to cook some peas and blend them, and since the other chefs were all hard at work on their own dishes it could have slipped under the radar. Had there been actual footage of him stealing from another chef, they would have used it, after all the controversy with the attempted head shaving a few seasons back got plenty of publicity.

                              I think part of the problem is that this season is falling a bit flat with the cast of characters. There are a couple I sort of like rooting for a bit, but still not quite to the level of seasons past. There also isn't anyone falling cleanly into the villain role. Angelo started out way too big for his britches, but he has calmed down, and now is mainly creepy with his unsolicited advice and the way he keeps hitting on either Tamesha or Tiffany. Kenny is a bit pompous from time to time, but he seems down to earth at others, and he has a certain flair, so he's hard to hate. This season just doesn't have a Marcel, Hung, or set of Voltaggio brothers you want to see fall hand first into a meat grinder.

                              1. re: TuteTibiImperes
                                d
                                DGresh Jul 30, 2010 03:14 AM

                                I rewatched the episode yesterday, and in the midst of the "pea drama" there was a very short short (2 seconds at most) of a pot of peas on the stove. Clearly after the original puree had been made. So was that Alex cooking his peas? Maybe.

                                1. re: DGresh
                                  Manassas64 Jul 30, 2010 08:46 AM

                                  But the editing fairies could have used footage from the day before of the "Original Pea Puree" being made.

                              2. re: LindaWhit
                                Caitlin McGrath Jul 30, 2010 12:58 AM

                                One of the three scenarios Tom lists seems an impossibility to me: that Alex innocently confused his and Ed's pea purées. Alex hadn't made a pea purée during the prep period, so he had to be starting from scratch at the Palm, and so how likely would it be that he then innocently grabbed the purée that Ed brought with him?

                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                  LindaWhit Jul 30, 2010 05:29 AM

                                  Agreed. Alex didn't even know what he was cooking the night before - he had just prepped a bunch of stuff without any idea how it was going together....and he hadn't thought pea purée until Kenny mentioned it.

                                  Someone on TWoP took a screen shot of Alex supposedly removing a package of (whole peas) from a cooler, so perhaps he did make a purée. But it was really hard to see if it was actually peas in the Glad Ziplock bag. :-)

                                  I still don't get why no one confronted Alex in the Stew Room about the purée. In that, I'll agree with Colicchio - Ed was a wuss in not saying anything in the Stew Room (at least from what we've seen - who knows if this issue will be brought into next week's episode).

                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                    chicgail Jul 30, 2010 05:59 AM

                                    Ed may have been a wuss or he ultimately knew the pea puree wasn't his. If what DGresh says above is true about a hot of peas on the stove, all of this may be the tempest in a teapot that the elves wanted to whip up.

                                    I will have to watch it again.

                                    1. re: chicgail
                                      d
                                      DGresh Jul 30, 2010 06:30 AM

                                      I guess it also could have been Ed cooking more peas, right? Didn't he end up serving peas (and got dinged for them)?

                                      1. re: DGresh
                                        ChefJune Jul 30, 2010 07:04 AM

                                        Ed did cook more peas at The Palm.

                                2. re: LindaWhit
                                  huiray Aug 1, 2010 05:43 PM

                                  There are now 526 comments on T. Colicchio's blog for this episode as of 8.41 pm EST - more by far than in any other TC blog to my recollection. I wonder why... :-) I'm sure one can imagine what most of the posts are about without even visiting the website.

                                3. ChefJune Jul 28, 2010 11:21 PM

                                  I still can't believe Alex won FOR the stolen pea purée. He'll get his.....

                                  very sad Andrea went home. From what I know of her, she has not really been on her game most of the time. :(

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: ChefJune
                                    h
                                    hobbess Jul 28, 2010 11:50 PM

                                    I don't understand Kenny's statement that Alex couldn't have made the pea puree that same day.

                                    And, I thought the editing was terrible where the show pretty much said Alex stole the pea puree without any evidence of it. Sometimes, the show likes to manipulate the editing to manufacture a storyline. Last week, it seemed as if Kenny was being unfairly targeted when Amanda had cartilage in her dish yet you had to read Colichio's blog to discover that Kenny's dish really was that bad.

                                    If he didn't, he's still been branded a thief by the show. And, if he did steal it, its pretty terrible the show would allow that to happen without consequences.

                                    With all the cameras there, you'd think they should have dug up something. Or, they could have searched high and low to look for Ed's pea puree to see what happened to it. The producers should have further investigated this matter before making such explosive accusations.

                                    1. re: hobbess
                                      ChinoWayne Jul 29, 2010 09:27 AM

                                      "With all the cameras there, you'd think they should have dug up something."

                                      I think we need to consider that it is possible there are only two cameras present when everyone is running around cooking and they are hand held,. If there were more, we'd seem them on the periphery of some shots. You couldn't capture all of the action, at all of the cooking stations from a fixed position camera, and unlike a Hollywood motion picture, with endless "set ups" and endless re-takes, the action unfolds in near real-time. (I don't think a director on "Top Chef" is going to say "cut, let's repeat breaking down that side of beef from another angle." Also when they are "on location" there is not enough space for a huge cast and crew, and there are no "break-away" walls they can push out of the way.

                                      The production budget might also limit the "filming" to only two hand held camera operators, and one or two others handling a boom microphone for each camera (never noticed any of the cheftesants mic'd). If there were more cameras and camera operators they'd be stumbling all over each other and the cast.

                                      Saying all that, one could surmise that it is possible that any pilfering of ingredients, or on the other hand any prep work on, say, peas, might not have made it to the editing room.

                                      Something we should keep in mind, is that it was a deliberate decision in the editing process to include this bit of drama, and regardless of the final outcome at the end of the season, it has caused a lot of "buzz" about the show, and will be cause for viewers to tune in to see how it all plays out.

                                      1. re: ChinoWayne
                                        lisavf Jul 29, 2010 09:46 AM

                                        But even with only two cameras going, I find it hard to believe that the didn't get any footage at all of Alex boiling peas, draining peas, blending or otherwise pureeing peas, seasoning a pea puree, etc. I am curious to rewatch the episode to see if there's even any hint of that whatsover. And since it obviously was so controversial among the contestants, the producers/editors would have known about the controversy, and they could have, at the end of the episode, found some conclusive evidence and showed it to us, as they have done when there have been other similar mishaps (something left behind, something left out on a counter overnight, an item not being purchased, etc.). I actually always like that "aha" moment when we see how perception can conform to or be different from reality, and it would be more in keeping with the standards of Top Chef.

                                  2. r
                                    Reignking Jul 29, 2010 07:14 AM

                                    Someone was applewood-smokin' some olive oil, I think. Better than your average Smoking Gun contraption. Any ideas what it was?

                                    1. HabaneroJane Jul 29, 2010 07:31 AM

                                      ok, so no big deal that Andrea went home, snooze. and the whole feigned Tiffany and Ed drama, whatever. But Pea-Gate?! They need to strip conniving Alex of that win, his scheming mug and his recipe from the Palm menu. I wonder if this will be addressed. It was so obvious. And shameless. Wow.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: HabaneroJane
                                        C. Hamster Jul 29, 2010 08:18 AM

                                        Here, here!

                                        1. re: C. Hamster
                                          HabaneroJane Jul 29, 2010 08:23 AM

                                          meanwhile Andy Cohen at Bravo already posted a link on Twitter to Alex's mug on The Palm wall...unreal...

                                        2. re: HabaneroJane
                                          m
                                          momjamin Jul 29, 2010 11:29 AM

                                          I'm not concerned about his picture on the wall of the Palm. This is DC, after all. I'm sure there are many more better-known controversial figures than our Alex ;-)

                                          1. re: momjamin
                                            HabaneroJane Jul 29, 2010 11:52 AM

                                            good point, momjamin. he is in good company amongst pros in thievery, lying and deceit!

                                        3. lisavf Jul 29, 2010 07:37 AM

                                          I'm interested to see what Kelly will do next. It seems like she learned a valuable lesson last night; hopefully it will carry through to future episodes. She learned something we've all been saying or thinking here - that we liked the professionalism and attitude of the Top Chef Masters chefs. Did anyone else think, if that had happened on Top Chef Masters, the salt would have been shared? Of course, she shouldn't have shared if it would have compromised her dish, but it seems like the exact opposite happened - she used "all" of her salt, and that's what ruined her dish. Karma at its best. Maybe if she adopts a more generous attitude, she might just win, because it seems that her food, when she prepares it to her own standards, gets high marks for excellence of preparation (think omelet). And while Kenny thinks he's all that, he seems to miss the mark at least as often as he hits it. So "complex" preparations mean nothing if you can't back it up with taste and technique.

                                          17 Replies
                                          1. re: lisavf
                                            m
                                            MartinDC Jul 29, 2010 08:28 AM

                                            They've showed Kelly relaxing with a cigaret back at the house. Do you think there's some truth to the fact that smoker-chefs tend to oversalt food?

                                            1. re: MartinDC
                                              C. Hamster Jul 29, 2010 08:31 AM

                                              Not if you watch the folks on Hells Kitchen who chain smoke and underseason things with regularity.

                                              1. re: C. Hamster
                                                HabaneroJane Jul 29, 2010 09:16 AM

                                                "Not if you watch the folks on Hells Kitchen who chain smoke and underseason things with regularity."
                                                --C. Hamster

                                                Hehhee. Touche!

                                              2. re: MartinDC
                                                lisavf Jul 29, 2010 09:39 AM

                                                I can't speak to that, but in this case, she knew she oversalted, even did it deliberately because she thought the judges wanted bolder flavors from her. So I doubt her smoking habit interfered with her taste buds (her brain, maybe:) )

                                                1. re: lisavf
                                                  j
                                                  jcattles Jul 29, 2010 12:00 PM

                                                  "she knew she oversalted, even did it deliberately because she thought the judges wanted bolder flavors from her"

                                                  I just want to know does Kelly really think bolder flavors=more salt? There are so many ways of getting bold flavors into the meal. She could've made an herb butter, chimichurri, or sauce to complement the steak, keeping it within the steakhouse feel she was going for. A trained professional chef should absolutely know that oversalting will kill an amazing dish everytime. Even basic cooks know this.

                                              3. re: lisavf
                                                LaLa Jul 29, 2010 09:36 AM

                                                I took it more as Amanda is always disorganized and is skating by and that is why she didnt share, because it did show her share something with Andrea a few scenes later.

                                                1. re: lisavf
                                                  g
                                                  gastrotect Jul 29, 2010 11:11 AM

                                                  I almost got the impression that Kelly really doesn't like Amanda and used all of her salt mainly to spite Amanda. Her excuse, to Amanda, for not sharing was that she needed all of it, so by George she was gonna use all of it. It also falls in line with her desire to do bold flavors, but I don't necessarily equate salty with "bold flavor" so I'm not sure about that.

                                                  1. re: gastrotect
                                                    susancinsf Jul 29, 2010 12:52 PM

                                                    I agree. I actually think that a big part of the reason she oversalted the dish was to justify (to herself perhaps) not sharing the salt. Moreover, I think she realized that was her motivation and mistake, and that was part of the reason she was crying and so upset. She said, "I should have done my own thing" but what she didn't want to say out loud is that "I tried to stab someone else, and only ended up stabbing myself". (Admitting it to herself is one thing, admitting it to Amanda would have been too much for her I suspect).

                                                    1. re: susancinsf
                                                      t
                                                      TuteTibiImperes Jul 29, 2010 04:10 PM

                                                      Something about Kelly really rubs me the wrong way. She seems very stuck up, and I haven't seen her produce anything yet this season that stands so far above everyone else as to back it up.

                                                      Amanda, on the other hand, is my dark horse favorite for this season. A lot of the other chefs seem to be underestimating her. I would have loved to have seen Kelly go home and a bit of karmic justice, but as it was Andrea was nothing special either, so I can't argue too much there. Plus, Andrea said she hates swordfish, which lost her points in my book, I love swordfish.

                                                      1. re: TuteTibiImperes
                                                        LaLa Jul 29, 2010 05:50 PM

                                                        i think Kelly is turned like my sil...they seem stuck up but it is really more of being a introvert.

                                                        1. re: LaLa
                                                          t
                                                          TuteTibiImperes Jul 29, 2010 06:55 PM

                                                          You could be right. My feelings could also come from how they introduced her in the first episode. I can't remember how it was worded, but it gave me the impression she married into money and her rich husband bought her restaurant in some ritzy part of CO so she could play chef. When I actually read some things online that doesn't seem to be the case.

                                                          1. re: TuteTibiImperes
                                                            ChefJune Jul 29, 2010 11:20 PM

                                                            Kelly is an amazing chef, and she is SHY.

                                                            1. re: ChefJune
                                                              c
                                                              Chimayo Joe Jul 29, 2010 11:27 PM

                                                              She is my favorite this season. I'm glad she squeaked by this week because I figured they would send her home for a mistake with something as basic as salt.

                                                              1. re: ChefJune
                                                                LindaWhit Jul 30, 2010 05:31 AM

                                                                You know her, ChefJune?

                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                  ChefJune Jul 30, 2010 07:03 AM

                                                                  no, but I've met heer and eaten her food at a taste-around in Denver. and I know several folks who know her well.

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                    m
                                                                    mojoeater Jul 31, 2010 05:51 PM

                                                                    A friend of mine worked for her in her CO restaurant. Says she was tough but actually a good teacher though not overly friendly towards her employees.

                                                                2. re: TuteTibiImperes
                                                                  b
                                                                  bonappetite Aug 14, 2010 04:51 AM

                                                                  hmmm don't know and have not looked up online but impression is that she is snotty----having said that, saw lower post that she is shy and as i am shy and sometimes mistaken for stuck up can sympathize, but i've never given myself the credit 've seen her give herself-------------i know i am good at what i do, but when complimented, throw it to everyone around me........

                                                      2. C. Hamster Jul 29, 2010 08:25 AM

                                                        I've disliked Alex since his "eight ball" (or whatever) comment episodes back.

                                                        Last week he decided not to tell Amanda about the chicken cartiledge. That's gamesmanship, I spose.

                                                        But it takes incredible chutzpah to actually steal a dish prepared by someone else and present it as your own. With many witnesses and cameras rolling.

                                                        In seasons past haven't the cheftestants had their OWN coolers and rolling racks that they swathed in massive amounts of material from the Glad Family of Products?

                                                        I was also sad to see Andrea leave, but her vanilla-mustard sauce on swordfish repelled me ...

                                                        1. m
                                                          MartinDC Jul 29, 2010 08:35 AM

                                                          Off-topic: I walked by The Palm that Saturday morning on my way to my haircut appointment ... saw trucks, equipment, and some very nicely dressed people gathering on the sidewalk -- thought it odd for a Saturday morning. Now I understand it was supposed to be "power lunch" and scheduled on Saturday to be convenient to the guests who normally are busy when Congress is in session.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: MartinDC
                                                            ChinoWayne Jul 29, 2010 09:03 AM

                                                            Yes, and despite the fact that the owner said he had a full house booked, anyone disagree that there were no checks presented at the end of those meals to any of those "customers"?,

                                                            1. re: MartinDC
                                                              HabaneroJane Jul 29, 2010 09:18 AM

                                                              anyone hear Angelo say he never heard of or experienced or cooked for a "power lunch"? Strange admission coming from someone who can seemingly do no wrong?!

                                                            2. ChinoWayne Jul 29, 2010 10:24 AM

                                                              Gawker's recap: http://gawker.com/5599471/it-was-alex...

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: ChinoWayne
                                                                d
                                                                DivineFemme Jul 29, 2010 12:25 PM

                                                                That is the most confusing recap I've ever read....

                                                                1. re: DivineFemme
                                                                  d
                                                                  dingey Jul 30, 2010 11:37 AM

                                                                  That's the funniest recap ever. I love Gawker recaps!

                                                                  1. re: dingey
                                                                    C. Hamster Jul 30, 2010 01:10 PM

                                                                    I may have perforated my spleen laughing so hard.

                                                                    "This guy on the right—Aaron Schock, a Republican Representative from Illinois and last night's Quickfire guest judge—is according to his own self, straight. Self deception is nobody's business, really."

                                                                    "Mothers of America, let your kids go to the movies. Get them out of the house so they won't see Amanda's toxic stupidity."

                                                                    "Behold Eddie Cotton, his white flesh as red as the carapaces of, his eyebrows wriggling as wildly as the maxillipeds of the lobsters he swallowed. "

                                                                    Tiffany: "Oh Hail NO!"

                                                                  2. re: DivineFemme
                                                                    LindaWhit Jul 30, 2010 01:17 PM

                                                                    Agreed. Very convoluted and confusing. He just seems to be trying too hard to be funny.

                                                                  3. re: ChinoWayne
                                                                    ChefJune Jul 30, 2010 12:39 PM

                                                                    That was absolutely the best recap of Wednesday's episode ever. Had me rolling on the floor. But I don't imagine either Alex or Amanda are going to like it very much. (lol)

                                                                  4. s
                                                                    sommrluv Jul 29, 2010 11:04 AM

                                                                    I had an issue with Amanda serving a New York Strip, but my Dh said she served a duo of beef...curious...Did they have to serve the proteins exactly as? I mean, a porterhouse is no longer a porterhouse broken down, as I think someone else mentioned on the show. But a rack of lamb just becomes a boneless rack of lamb.

                                                                    Also...Did you see Art Smith! Wow, he lost 90 pounds! Go Art!

                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                    1. re: sommrluv
                                                                      m
                                                                      momjamin Jul 29, 2010 11:32 AM

                                                                      She was given porterhouse -- she chose to break it down, and served it as a "duo" with air quotes -- strip and tenderloin.

                                                                      1. re: momjamin
                                                                        huiray Aug 5, 2010 08:27 PM

                                                                        The challenge was to cook and present a Porterhouse steak to each diner. She did not do this, even if the NY Strip and Tenderloin steak she presented instead were tasty. (They would also not taste the same even if "added together", as meat cooked 'on-bone' - i.e. the intact Porterhouse - tastes different from meat cooked 'off-bone'.)

                                                                        1. re: huiray
                                                                          t
                                                                          TheFoodEater Aug 6, 2010 08:16 PM

                                                                          the challenge was to prepare a dish using the restaurants proteins. Which is what happened. No problem here.

                                                                          1. re: TheFoodEater
                                                                            huiray Aug 12, 2010 06:14 AM

                                                                            They drew knives for the protein they would serve. The knife said 'Porterhouse'. They were provided porterhouse steaks, not NY Strips nor Fillets. The dish was introduced at Table by Lakshmi as 'Porterhouse'. She was lucky they chose to ignore that she changed the protein.

                                                                            1. re: huiray
                                                                              monavano Aug 12, 2010 06:28 AM

                                                                              Other chefs had lobster and broke them down. Did they violate the rules? Were the judges supposed to be given a bib and utensils to crack their whole lobsters open?.
                                                                              The protein was beef. The cut was Porterhouse. She butchered it and served it. Moreover, Amanda's dish was clearly received in a far more positive fashion than Kelly, I believe, who served the Porterhouse intact.
                                                                              She got lemons and made lemonade.
                                                                              However, it *does* make me wonder why in the heck she was put on the steaks station when she clearly stated she's never cooked a Porterhouse (huh? even I've done that!) and went on to say that she's never cooked grass-fed beef. Again, huh?
                                                                              Kenny should have had each of his chefs play to their strengthes, and in Amanda's case, her strength is no beef.

                                                                              1. re: monavano
                                                                                huiray Aug 12, 2010 06:45 AM

                                                                                I do appreciate what you are saying, but there is a difference between the two cases, even if it could be considered semantics by some. OK, I guess it would be better if I said "...that she changed the cut".

                                                                                Lobster remains lobster, whether served whole or broken down.

                                                                                A porterhouse that is broken down (butchered further) and the bone removed becomes a NY strip (the larger part) and a Fillet (the smaller part). They are all beef, yes, but in the case of cuts of beef the term 'Porterhouse" has a specific meaning.

                                                                                As for her being put on the "steaks station" I presume you are referring to this last episode (Restaurant Wars)? Yes, I agree she really should have been assigned something else by Kenny. Maybe she would have made a better salad and Kenny would have made a better beef (thankfully, not lamb - again!) dish even if he came up with another 'duo' (aarg!) again.

                                                                                1. re: huiray
                                                                                  monavano Aug 12, 2010 06:58 AM

                                                                                  I realized this thread was epi 7! Oops. Yes, I'm refering to the Restaurant Wars when Amanda was stationed at the wood-fired grill.
                                                                                  But to further muddy the protein point, you could also say lobster claw is different than tail meat (it is!). It's all lobster though.
                                                                                  The point is (and I agree with your assertion; I thought Amanda would get her butt served to her for butchering the beef) the judges and guests loved what she did. It surprised me too, but I see the point, which is, cook to the best of your ability.
                                                                                  Maybe, maybe, she just got really lucky that day.

                                                                    2. p
                                                                      Parrotgal Jul 29, 2010 11:08 AM

                                                                      Has anyone noticed that the demonizing of Alex seems to have started way back? Mostly in other chefs' comments, but they've also chosen awkward and/or messy moments of his to show. So this whole thing could be basically manufactured, or at least blown way out of proportion, just to keep him as the villain.

                                                                      Or maybe because nothing else interesting is happening. Hoarding then overusing salt doesn't really count as very interesting to me.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Parrotgal
                                                                        monavano Jul 29, 2010 11:38 AM

                                                                        Agreed.
                                                                        Then to further their point, the editing elves show Alex taking a header in the kitchen in next week's episode!

                                                                        1. re: monavano
                                                                          m
                                                                          maxie Jul 29, 2010 12:26 PM

                                                                          I think the editing pixies intentionally left it out so there is an opportunity for Alex to get his comeuppance next episode. Whatever drama befalls Alex in the next episode is probably made more intense leaving the did he or didn't he question unanswered. If Ed had been sent home they would have shown what happened.

                                                                          1. re: maxie
                                                                            monavano Jul 29, 2010 12:52 PM

                                                                            The editing has become predictable in foreshadowing who will be leaving (most of the time). It's fun to guess who's going packing before any food is tasted.

                                                                      2. e
                                                                        elliora Jul 29, 2010 03:07 PM

                                                                        I'm surprised there has not been more talk about Ed's role in this fiasco. I was starting to really like him but have lost some respect for him after last nights show. He didn't need to make a big huge deal but he could have asked to speak to the Judges after JT. If he had expressed his reservations in a calm polite way, making sure that he is not saying Alex did it, that he just wants it looked into, this all would have been resolved. As others have said, it really is quite simple, the pea puree was somewhere or there had to be even a little footage of Alex preparing it. Especially when you see Alex's dish is going to be on the menu at the Palms and there is even an inkling that it might have one of your components on it, how do you not question it? show some pride in yourself and your dish. Ed had no issue telling everyone else about it except those who could really solve the mystery. By the way did anyone notice the shot of the pan of peas? Although it could have been Ed's replacement ones.

                                                                        1. chowser Jul 29, 2010 04:00 PM

                                                                          Either Alex stole the puree which is inexcusable; or he didn't and TC contrived the whole thing to make him look like he did which is inexcusable. Either way, someone completely lost his/her integrity. We were joking that if they made Alex's caricature on the walls green, it would look like a pea which would be fitting.

                                                                          Oh, I think it's funny how this whole episode started with talk about ethics.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: chowser
                                                                            coney with everything Jul 30, 2010 05:14 AM

                                                                            Do you think Bravo is subtle enough to include an ethical dilemma plotline in an episode based on Congressional/lobbyist ethics rules?

                                                                            1. re: coney with everything
                                                                              LindaWhit Jul 30, 2010 05:32 AM

                                                                              Subtle? Oh no - they were using caveman clubs in the ethical plot line inclusion. ;-)

                                                                          2. a
                                                                            alfairfax Jul 29, 2010 04:25 PM

                                                                            Am I the only one to notice the edit when a b&w flashback was inserted into the otherwise color Judge's Table sequence? This is a common editing technique to indicate a change in time or place from the main scene into which it is inserted. In this case, Alex had just said he did not know about Ed making pea puree and the b&w flash was from an earlier scene when Ed discussed his pea dish and Alex was sitting close by. I don't record shows so perhaps someone who did could check to see if I just imagined this. Also: the editing showed both Tiffany and Ed giving shocked/perturbed looks at Alex when he gets the win for his peas. These edits must mean something, no?

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: alfairfax
                                                                              chicgail Jul 29, 2010 07:38 PM

                                                                              The edits absolutely mean something. They mean that is how the "story line" was edited. Period.

                                                                              Keep them watching. Maybe they'll find out who's pea puree it was.

                                                                              Go elves.

                                                                            2. s
                                                                              SeoulQueen Jul 29, 2010 07:58 PM

                                                                              Cliff Crooks from season 2 was sent home for "harming or threatening to harm other contestants" when he mnahandled Marcel Vigneron. I couldn't believe at the time that the camera crew who were standing there filming the whole thing didn't step in and do something. However, they at least showed the footage to the judges which resulted in the disqualification.

                                                                              Now, it seems the camera crew again just stood there during this week's Pea-Gate. Surely taking another contestant's food would be cause for automatic disqualification? They showed Alex rummaging in the cooler and then the next shot is of him walking around with a pot of pea puree so I have to believe that the camera crew did see what happened. If Alex did take Ed's pea puree, the crew should have brought it to the attention of the judges, esp when it seems that the pea puree was a big part of why Alex was given the win.

                                                                              What I do know is that the show is starting to lose credibility with me.

                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                              1. re: SeoulQueen
                                                                                s
                                                                                sommrluv Jul 29, 2010 08:48 PM

                                                                                In the head shaving incident, that was actually taken on a hand camera that was either loaned to the chefs for night time filming or was their own. Who films something like that is beyond MY comprehension.

                                                                                I've been thinking about the cameras and placements as well...weren't there "hidden" cameras during the whole Josea/skanky girl make out session? I thought they had put a camera into the wall and that's how they caught them.

                                                                                There seems to be quite a few scenes where chefs think the cameras are focusing on contestants in the foreground, and they are in the background talking smack, and get caught on camera. I think a good case in point is the conversation between (Andrea? Curly hair) and (Ed? ) about Ed "banging" Angelo's girlfriend...which he put in more polite terms during the interviews. There were two groups of chefs in "front" of them in the camera scene, and they were in the rear of the room whispering.

                                                                                For a show that thrives on inter-character drama and good shots of cooking, cooking mistakes, cooking triumphs, etc....for them not to be recording nearly everything would TRULY surprise me.

                                                                                I think the more likely explanation is that Pea-Gate is being blown out of proportion by the elves because there was a lack of drama. Because there was so much conversation about the pea puree being swiped going on behind the scenes, they are milking it for a storyline.

                                                                                1. re: sommrluv
                                                                                  cowboyardee Jul 29, 2010 09:00 PM

                                                                                  "In the head shaving incident, that was actually taken on a hand camera that was either loaned to the chefs for night time filming or was their own."

                                                                                  Yeah, that camera was loaned to the chefs by the producers - that was in fact Ilan filming the whole ordeal (while shrieking for Sam to come and shave Marcel's head), and as such there was no staff around to step in.

                                                                                  1. re: sommrluv
                                                                                    JasmineG Jul 29, 2010 09:22 PM

                                                                                    The cameras mounted in the walls were there in the house that they live in, and there may be wall mounted cameras in the Top Chef kitchens, but this time they were cooking at the Palm, so there would be no wall mounted cameras, and only what the camera men could get.

                                                                                  2. re: SeoulQueen
                                                                                    LindaWhit Jul 30, 2010 05:35 AM

                                                                                    My understanding is that the crew does NOT step in unless someone is about to come to harm. They are essentially invisible - filming what's going on, but they don't interfere.

                                                                                    We don't know if this issue is finished - it might be brought up in the house by the other cheftestants at the beginning of the next episode. The Elves have drawn out conflict into several episodes in the past.

                                                                                    1. re: SeoulQueen
                                                                                      d
                                                                                      dach Jul 30, 2010 08:01 AM

                                                                                      Keith on Project Runway ... was is season 3? Got kicked out for sneaking in illegal reference material.

                                                                                      So I'm a bit on the fence. The "Magic Elves" have kicked off contestants for serious breech of rules. So I kind of hoping the producers if at the time of taping knew for certain that peas where stolen, they take action. Maybe we'll see followup next week. (Like a day or two later in film time)

                                                                                      Or we saw everything anybody knows, lots of circumstantial evidence, but no solid proof. And then the producers just let the issue die on its own. OTOH, Ed's pea puree must have been found somewhere. If never found, someone did take it. Alex? If not Alex, who? Is there a MOLE or someone else in the house!?

                                                                                      1. re: dach
                                                                                        Manassas64 Jul 30, 2010 08:52 AM

                                                                                        This pea puree drama will obviously be the focal point of the reunion show. Hopefully we'll get answers then.

                                                                                        Tom says that this pea puree controversy doesn't change the outcome of the show, but to me it does. If it had been brought to the judges' attention and it was proven that he stole it, he would have been let go this week and someone gets to cook another day.

                                                                                        Plus someone else would have gotten the win.

                                                                                        Ugh! There are much more important things in life than this, but it makes me mad just the same. LOL

                                                                                    2. l
                                                                                      lawgirl3278 Jul 30, 2010 10:29 AM

                                                                                      Don't forget Alex lied about knowing that Ed made a pea puree. Kenny told him about it in the kitchen the night before.

                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: lawgirl3278
                                                                                        d
                                                                                        DGresh Jul 30, 2010 10:53 AM

                                                                                        not that I'm a fan of alex, but lying about perhaps "borrowing" an idea is distinct from actually "borrowing" the item. Just because he lied about one thing doesn't mean he did the other.

                                                                                        1. re: lawgirl3278
                                                                                          m
                                                                                          momjamin Jul 30, 2010 11:37 AM

                                                                                          As a mother to two boys who regularly claim they didn't hear me, I would posit that Alex wasn't necessarily "lying" when he said he didn't know about Ed's prep; he *could* have been out to lunch when Kenny was talking about it, trying to figure out what he was going to do, and maybe the idea got into his eight-ball-addled brain without him realizing whence it came. We didn't see footage of him acknowledging "pea puree, that's an idea" or any real engagement when Kenny was talking. (IIRC)

                                                                                          1. re: lawgirl3278
                                                                                            s
                                                                                            SeoulQueen Jul 30, 2010 01:12 PM

                                                                                            Wasn't there an earlier episode where Amanda and Alex fought over an oven that she had set to a specific temperature and he put his food in it? He said there was no name on it, so he used it. I would think if the oven is turned to a specific temperature, a normal person would assume someone was planning to use it. At the least, you shout out "hey is somone using this oven set at xyz temp?" Instead, he just stuck his food in. Plus Ed also commented on a previous episode about Alex using other people's prep space.

                                                                                            So I get a picture of Alex as someone with a "relaxed" attitude regarding other people's space/property. If so, then it's completely possible Ed didn't label his pea puree (plausible since no one else worked with them that day including Alex) and Alex saw the unlabelled pea puree and just took it because in his mind it might mean they didn't belong to anyone. It also means he could be technically correct in saying he hadn't seen Ed's pea puree when asked since the puree wasn't labelled. I know, I know ...it's a warped way to think but that's how people justify all sorts of bad behaviour. Even in the "confessional" portion, Alex only says it's a coincidence, he never flat out denies taking the pea puree.

                                                                                            1. re: SeoulQueen
                                                                                              ChefJune Jul 31, 2010 01:19 AM

                                                                                              Oh, he said it's a coincidence, did he? There is NO SUCH THING as coincidence. It's always an excuse. Just sayin'.........

                                                                                              1. re: SeoulQueen
                                                                                                c
                                                                                                celfie Jul 31, 2010 07:03 AM

                                                                                                anyways...who serves a mystery container of pea puree? alex didn't find it. he either stole it or made his own. i think it's more likely that he stole it which is absurd considering the cameras are there...

                                                                                                1. re: celfie
                                                                                                  j
                                                                                                  JayEsBee Jul 31, 2010 06:02 PM

                                                                                                  You know, I rewatched the episode last night, and I could have sworn I heard Alex say to Ed, "I didn't use any peas" when Ed asked him if he saw the pea puree. I listened to it several times. It was kind of hard to understand, so maybe I misheard, but did any one else hear that?

                                                                                                  1. re: JayEsBee
                                                                                                    c
                                                                                                    celfie Jul 31, 2010 07:11 PM

                                                                                                    yup, i watched it online and rewound to be certain

                                                                                            2. lisavf Jul 30, 2010 12:03 PM

                                                                                              Here's a chat with Andrea after her loss:

                                                                                              http://live.washingtonpost.com/top-ch...

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: lisavf
                                                                                                LindaWhit Jul 30, 2010 12:15 PM

                                                                                                Hmmm...wonder who she's talking about here? ;-)

                                                                                                "Who do you think is the most talented chef out of the remaining contestants? Who do you think should have already been sent home at this point? (shh, we won't tell)"

                                                                                                Andrea Curto-Randazzo writes:
                                                                                                I think that you know who should already have been sent home and it's probably the same few people who I think should already have been sent home.

                                                                                                "You know who..." ;-)

                                                                                              2. c
                                                                                                chrisonli Jul 31, 2010 01:50 PM

                                                                                                I don't have anything to say about Pea-gate, but I haven't liked Alex since the hooker comment, nor trusted him since he didn't tell Leah-clone about the cartilage in her chix dish.

                                                                                                After re-watching the episode last night, my only question is WTF was Padma wearing? There was a shot of her getting up from the table at the Palm (the session with just her, Gail, Tom and Art (food is love) Smith and it looked like she was wearing hot pants! It was just a quick glimpse but it really took me by surprise...did anyone else notice this?

                                                                                                13 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: chrisonli
                                                                                                  LindaWhit Jul 31, 2010 02:02 PM

                                                                                                  I did as well. Looks like she's doing a Nair commercial. "We wear short-shorts!" :-)

                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                    Caitlin McGrath Jul 31, 2010 02:20 PM

                                                                                                    Those shorts suits were an unfortunate trend last spring, which was when TC7 was filmed. I saw photos of other celebrities wearing them, as well.

                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                      LindaWhit Jul 31, 2010 04:05 PM

                                                                                                      Well. How gauche! You'd have thought that, knowing when the show would air, Padma would have had the foresight to dress in whatever was trendy for Summer 2010 instead of all the way back in Spring 2010. ;-)

                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                        Caitlin McGrath Jul 31, 2010 04:42 PM

                                                                                                        Linda, I know you know that the key word in my post is "unfortunate"!

                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                          LindaWhit Jul 31, 2010 05:07 PM

                                                                                                          Oh, absolutely Caitlin!

                                                                                                      2. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                        j
                                                                                                        JayEsBee Jul 31, 2010 06:04 PM

                                                                                                        I noticed. It might be unfortunate on most, but not on Padma. She certainly has the legs to pull it off.

                                                                                                        1. re: JayEsBee
                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                          brooklynkoshereater Jul 31, 2010 07:32 PM

                                                                                                          She does, but have you noticed that, hot pants aside, she's been dressing a lot more 'soccer momly" since having her baby?

                                                                                                          1. re: brooklynkoshereater
                                                                                                            j
                                                                                                            JayEsBee Jul 31, 2010 08:32 PM

                                                                                                            Yeah, but I kind of got the feeling she hadn't lost all the baby weight at the time of the taping.

                                                                                                            1. re: JayEsBee
                                                                                                              t
                                                                                                              TuteTibiImperes Jul 31, 2010 08:49 PM

                                                                                                              If she looks as good as she does after surviving a tiger attack, a little baby weight isn't going to keep her down.

                                                                                                              1. re: TuteTibiImperes
                                                                                                                lisavf Aug 2, 2010 04:19 PM

                                                                                                                Wow, when was she attacked by a tiger?

                                                                                                                1. re: lisavf
                                                                                                                  d
                                                                                                                  DGresh Aug 2, 2010 06:36 PM

                                                                                                                  I thought it was a car accident that gave her that nasty scar on her arm.

                                                                                                                  1. re: DGresh
                                                                                                                    t
                                                                                                                    TuteTibiImperes Aug 2, 2010 07:26 PM

                                                                                                                    Sorry I figured everyone would pick up on the joke. In one of the recent Top Chef reunion episodes one of the fan questions was how she got the scar, and she played along for a while that she was attacked by a tiger while a child in India, she fessed up at the end it was from surgery after the accident.

                                                                                                            2. re: brooklynkoshereater
                                                                                                              chowser Aug 1, 2010 08:54 AM

                                                                                                              If only I could look that "soccer momly"!

                                                                                                    2. huiray Aug 1, 2010 07:46 AM

                                                                                                      Not much more to add regarding "pea-gate" based on what we see in the episode...but here's an interesting comment on it regarding the posted recipe, from the bravotv BB on this episode:

                                                                                                      Quote (posted by bridget09: http://boards.bravotv.com/index.php?s...

                                                                                                      )

                                                                                                      (by bridget09)

                                                                                                      " Bravo's integrity is even more questionable than this episode. Today I read Alex's recipe for his supposedly awardwinning pea puree, which is posted on Bravo's recipe site.
                                                                                                      I suggest that everyone go read it now. The recipe calls
                                                                                                      for dumping 2 lbs. of English peas and 1 pint of cream (which he now calls for reducing by half) in a "Vitaprep".
                                                                                                      That's it. No seasoning, no re-warming in butter, nothing.

                                                                                                      What is most troubling, however, is that I tried this afternoon to post a comment about the recipe as proof that Alex could not be the same chef who sent Art into waves of ecstasy. The comment was not posted, and between about 2 p.m and when I rechecked at 8:00 p.m., Alex's recipe had been changed to make it look more professional. In the first version, there had been no mention of warming or reducing the cream. There were no numbers delineating each step of the recipe. Other embellishments have also been added.
                                                                                                      So Top Chef's producers have again deceived its viewers,
                                                                                                      and has done so with such contempt that I'm in disbelief.
                                                                                                      Of course, the original recipe is gone and so is the evidence of their duplicity. This show is sinking to the bottom rapidly. "

                                                                                                      Unquote.

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: huiray
                                                                                                        g
                                                                                                        gastrotect Aug 2, 2010 08:55 AM

                                                                                                        They should have screen captured that recipe to be safe. Too bad it's lost to the ether now.

                                                                                                        1. re: gastrotect
                                                                                                          LindaWhit Aug 2, 2010 08:56 AM

                                                                                                          I wonder if it (the first recipe) could be found in Google cache. Depending on how long it was up there, it *might* still be found.

                                                                                                      2. huiray Aug 1, 2010 09:39 AM

                                                                                                        Getting away from pea-gate for a moment, there is an interesting comment from 'Jonathan' (on 7/31/2010 at 1.21 am) on T. Colicchio's blog for this episode on bravotv regarding how chefs seem to keep harping on how stuff is 'outside their comfort zone' as well as on how 'asian/chinese' influenced food is constantly dissed - especially by Kenny and Kevin. I am ITA with that comment. What gives with these guys? Are they so dismissive of one of the great cuisines of the world that they sneer at any adaptations of the principles of that cuisine?

                                                                                                        If this is so, I would definitely agree with what 'Jonathan' said at the end of his comment:
                                                                                                        Quote:
                                                                                                        "Also, since when did spiced shrimp and cashew in a cucumber cup become a Chinese dish? I'm sorry, but I'm not sure if the comment was more offensive toward Angelo or to Chinese cuisine. I hope none of the chefs who have negatively remarked about Asian flavors ever use anything remotely Asian, but I doubt they'd even realize their hypocrisy."
                                                                                                        Unquote.

                                                                                                        Do look up the full post by this guy if you are interested.

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: huiray
                                                                                                          t
                                                                                                          TuteTibiImperes Aug 1, 2010 03:07 PM

                                                                                                          In regards to the 'outside my comfort zone' complaints, part of me reacts with 'so what? you're supposed to be one of the best of the best, you'd better learn to do it' while another part of me realizes that a single mistake can send anyone home, and in seasons past it has often been when a chef tried to do something outside of their box that they screwed up and got the boot.

                                                                                                          I actually agree with some of the dissidents on Asian cuisine. There has been more and more 'Asian' inspired food on Top Chef, and in fancy shmancy restaurants in general lately. One part of the problem is just calling things 'Asian' if they happen to use some traditional Asian ingredients, regardless of if the preparation or flavor profiles would traditionally fit within a single cuisine.

                                                                                                          A lot of what gets called 'Asian' seems to be food prepared with hints of Japanese or Thai-lite flavors, with some Chinese and Vietnamese influence thrown in here and there for good measure. I'd love to see some more authentic Asian inspiration from some neglected areas - Thai food that is more than coconut milk, lemongrass and chiles, or some Filipino or Malay food.

                                                                                                          There are also plenty of cuisines which are used far less frequently than the big Asians - you don't see nearly as much Mexican, various South American, or North African flavors as you do French, Italian, and Japanese/Chinese on Top Chef.

                                                                                                          1. re: TuteTibiImperes
                                                                                                            huiray Aug 1, 2010 03:50 PM

                                                                                                            Yet it ought to be the mark of a good chef that he or she is able to summon the imagination to go beyond one's comfort zone and come up with delectable dishes. Yes, there is danger in doing so - but that is part of the process of becoming a great chef. On TC it is certainly true that a single mistake could send you home, so yes, it is different from "real life" when you would have the ability to experiment a little before "releasing it to the eating public", as it were. But I would concur with those who opine that if you want to be perceived as one who aspires to topchefdom on TC or anywhere else you SHOULD be willing to embrace that risk of stepping beyond something you may ordinarily be able to do in your sleep.

                                                                                                            As for the 'Asian flavors/influences' scenario, what you describe is true enough and I do agree with what you say in your careful description of your objections to the casual and perhaps bogus (over)use of Asian influences in a fair bit of food nowadays. The objection I posted above, however, related to the apparent dismissal of anything Asian in nature by those cheftestants on TC - seemingly as a matter of their view on food - and without the valid nuances you describe. That is what is verging on being offensive. In fact, calling that cucumber cup of Angelo's a "chinese dish" or "asian dish" (or words to that effect) would be ridiculous and would show a faulty grasp of what constitutes a cuisine and if you, as a chef, were to call it as such, I would doubt your qualifications to be called a chef.

                                                                                                        2. chicgail Aug 1, 2010 02:06 PM

                                                                                                          This whole season is depressing.
                                                                                                          No apparent great chefs.
                                                                                                          No one with any apparent integrity.
                                                                                                          No one especially likable.
                                                                                                          Tons of huge egos.
                                                                                                          Scheming.
                                                                                                          Gamesmanship.

                                                                                                          For this I don't need Top Chef. Big Brother fills that category.

                                                                                                          What went wrong? Did the show just jump the shark?

                                                                                                          27 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: chicgail
                                                                                                            LindaWhit Aug 1, 2010 03:06 PM

                                                                                                            Oh my, chicgail. While I really love this show, you've just listed a lot of what I've been thinking as well. And even more, you might have said the words I've been dreading about Top Chef - "jumping the shark." I thought TC2 was an anomaly with the Ilan/Marcel baloney, and I didn't like the Leah/Hosea showmance, but otherwise, this show has seemed above the usual reality crap. Now, I'm wondering if Bravo has caved to the "Housewives of..." type of show.

                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                              huiray Aug 1, 2010 03:23 PM

                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/719057#5741673
                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7190...
                                                                                                              ;-)

                                                                                                              1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                LindaWhit Aug 1, 2010 03:45 PM

                                                                                                                LOL! I've been trying to ignore what you've been saying in previous episodes, huiray, because I don't want to believe it. Say it isn't so, Joe!!!! ;-)

                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                  huiray Aug 1, 2010 04:40 PM

                                                                                                                  I only wish I could!

                                                                                                                  Y'know, I was visiting friends out of town and did not see this episode when it first aired, only catching up with it on Saturday. Guess what - I really did not hanker for it on Wednesday; I almost couldn't care less that day.

                                                                                                                  It also seems, from the "Live Chat" session that they had and which I took a look at today on bravotv's TC website, that "pea-gate" will be addressed in the reunion episode that presumably will be aired after the finale. To me, this would be in keeping with the magical elves' intentions of reducing TC to a crap piece of Housewifery rubbish, where they set up these Dramatainment Scenarios to titillate the viewing public then have Crying/Breastbeating follow-ons. How low can they sink?

                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                g
                                                                                                                guster4lovers Aug 2, 2010 08:43 AM

                                                                                                                I don't disagree with chicgail's assessment, but that's also the way I felt during the NY season, with the exception of Stefan and Fabio, and occasionally Carla. The fact that HOSEA won still astounds me. He is BY FAR the most mediocre chef to ever win, or even reach the top 5 on TC.

                                                                                                                Last season restored my faith in TC. I'll give it another season before I give up on it. If I had given up during NY, I would have missed the greatness of Kevin and the Voltaggio brothers. This show is cyclical - if this season is bad, just wait. Season two sucked, so seasons three and four came along. Season five sucked, so season six came along.

                                                                                                                And just for the record, I believe that Alex knowingly stole that puree. I've been disgusted with the level of conduct in the kitchen this season, and both Alex and Kelly were ridiculously horrible in this episode. The only difference is that Kelly got called out and had the chance to reconsider where she went wrong, and Alex got rewarded for his behaviour. It just makes me sick.

                                                                                                                1. re: guster4lovers
                                                                                                                  chicgail Aug 2, 2010 10:03 AM

                                                                                                                  I appreciate your (and others') take on the swings of the show with, perhaps to-be-expected ups and downs between the seasons.

                                                                                                                  While I remain really discouraged by this season, hopefully this is just a really bad low or an anomaly. At least no one has been physically attacked yet. It will be interesting to see if any of the Bravo blogs address the season.

                                                                                                                  1. re: chicgail
                                                                                                                    g
                                                                                                                    guster4lovers Aug 2, 2010 06:29 PM

                                                                                                                    I guess we really should have expected a low season after the amazingness that was last year. I mean, can you even imagine ANYONE from this season or from NY's season cooking for 3-Michelin Starred chefs Thomas Keller or Joel Robuchon? I would be embarrassed to make those world-class chefs bear witness to the amazing mediocrity of the likes of Hosea, Leah, Amanda, Andrea, etc.

                                                                                                                    I wonder how much the producers are cognizant of these diverse ability levels when they structure challenges and schedule guest judges. It is striking to consider the number of outstanding chefs judging last season in comparison to the less impressive guest judges in NY/DC.

                                                                                                                    I will say that Eric Ripert is excepted from that statement, as I have nothing but the utmost respect for that man. He is so far in advance of Colicchio et. al that I am amazed he agreed to do the show. Plus he's totally a bad ass - have you seen the No Reservations episode when Bordain goes back to Les Halles to work the line? He's struggling and barely able to manage, and he brings Ripert in to show that it's not just him who would struggle...but Eric Ripert works the grill station, the most busy and difficult station, flawlessly without breaking a sweat. I have much love for him, and honestly, he's one of the biggest reasons I'm so interested this season. Learning a single thing from him would be worth hours of watching ice melt...which is occasionally as interesting as watching this season :-) (sorry, I realise this is off topic)

                                                                                                                    Back to pea gate...
                                                                                                                    I would love the top chef team blog to speak to this issue - because as so many have said here and on the Bravo blogs, there is almost certainly one of the following in existence:
                                                                                                                    1. Footage of Alex making a puree of his own
                                                                                                                    2. Footage of where Ed's puree ended up (if indeed, it was left behind)
                                                                                                                    3. Witness account from one of the chefs or crew who saw either 1 or 2.
                                                                                                                    4. A direct questioning of Alex in regards to the issue

                                                                                                                    I also want to point out that in addition to Alex lying on multiple occasions (he claimed he wasn't using peas when questioned by Ed about the puree, then later claimed he didn't know anything about Ed's puree, either the night before or the day of...all shown to be lies), Tom lied on his blog. When Ed is rushing around asking frantic questions about the whereabouts of his puree, you can CLEARLY see Tom's blue chef coat a mere few inches from Ed. He claimed that he wasn't even in the kitchen at that point. That leads me to believe that Tom was more complicit than he wants to admit, and that's why he took the approach he did on his blog. After all, he IS the executive producer. If something happens, he SHOULD know about it.

                                                                                                              3. re: chicgail
                                                                                                                j
                                                                                                                JayEsBee Aug 1, 2010 07:02 PM

                                                                                                                Obviously, this is all subjective and if you don't enjoy the show as much as you used to, there's nothing anyone can say to change your mind. Nor would I want to. But I'm puzzled by these types of complaints.

                                                                                                                I've seen every season as have most others here. I just don't see that the show has changed as radically as many here think. There have always been strong personalities, egos, clashes, gamesmanship, bad behavior, etc.

                                                                                                                The show is not presented in real time. It has to be edited. Some here seem offended by the temerity of the producers and editors to *gasp* entertain the viewer. It's not an educational show. It never has been, as far as I can tell. That doesn't mean you can't learn from it. But it's always been a competition first and foremost.

                                                                                                                People speak of the "integrity" of the show as if it's a sporting event. As viewers, how could we even begin to discuss the rightness or wrongness of the judges? We're watching people taste dishes and give their opinions on which is best. How can claim to have any kind of insight into what the dish tastes like and whether or not their judgements are correct, well intentioned, biased, or whatever?

                                                                                                                Of course the editors are going to create narratives. How can they not? That's what editors do. It's almost the definition of film editing. It's not just splicing together a bunch of images in chronological order. It's to create a story and hold the viewer's interest.

                                                                                                                And as for everyone's squeamishness with the few romances that have developed, I suspect the same people who complain about Josea/Leah & Angelo/Tamesha, would complain just as bitterly if it had been discovered that these relationships had taken place but the editors and producers had kept them out of the shows.

                                                                                                                Here's the last thing I'll say about this, and then the flaming may commence: If personality clashes, alliances, romances, rivalries, etc. had not been intended as an integral part of the show from the first episode of the first season, why do the cheftestants all live together in a big house? They put them in a pressure cooker even when "off the clock" to heighten the "human drama" for entertainment value. This is not a degeneration of the producers' values. This has been there from day one.

                                                                                                                I think it's the viewers who have changed, not the show.

                                                                                                                1. re: JayEsBee
                                                                                                                  l
                                                                                                                  Lizard Aug 2, 2010 04:22 AM

                                                                                                                  +1.
                                                                                                                  In addition, virtual the water-cooler chat this programme generates is testimony to its ongoing success.

                                                                                                                  1. re: JayEsBee
                                                                                                                    chowser Aug 2, 2010 04:36 AM

                                                                                                                    This is one reason why I far prefer So You Think You Can Dance as a show. There's none of the gossipy clips edited to show romances, etc. There's some background but mostly, it's about the dance and the art. This is also one reason I prefer Top Chef Masters. There wasn't as much drama. Top Chef, other than last season near the end, is more like the Housewive series with cooking as an excuse. Not that I've seen the Housewives, but just going by the commercials. I've seen a lot of talk generated by SYTYCD so this choice by the producers isn't just about water cooler discussions. They've decided this isn't just a cooking competition. TCM generates just as much talk here, if not more, without the drama.

                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                      j
                                                                                                                      JayEsBee Aug 2, 2010 08:21 AM

                                                                                                                      And that's why I didn't watch the second season of TCM. I find it boring. There are no stakes, or at least they are not as high for the chefs. They have the luxury of being nice; they've already made it. For some, this makes the show more interesting. I understand that.

                                                                                                                      Please understand, the only reality shows I watch are TC, HK, and Kitchen Nightmares. I'm attracted to the food and cooking as the subject, but it's the human drama that makes these shows compelling. I agree that the various shows sometimes overdo it, but mostly the shows are entertaining and I sometimes learn a thing or two.

                                                                                                                      This all comes down to taste and personal preference. But the reason why I'm bothering to engage on this point is that so many posters are claiming the show has changed, and I just don't think that's the case. The only thing that changes (significantly) from season to season is the cast. This season's cast is lackluster. This is what people are responding to, but they blame it on editing (which people have been complaining about every season since I started reading this forum), romance, generated drama, etc.

                                                                                                                      1. re: JayEsBee
                                                                                                                        huiray Aug 2, 2010 08:54 AM

                                                                                                                        You and I are looking for different things, then, when watching a show like TC or TCM. To each his or her own. I am looking for actual cooking - and superb cooking, at that - to be the focus, with 'human interest' as a much smaller component of the mix. If I wanted to watch DramaQueen and Cloak&Dagger and KissyFace shenanigans, I would watch something else like "Lost" or, indeed, "Housewifes of...". Which is why TCM is so much more satisfying to me. I want to see and learn about how good chefs do stuff. (I put it to you that we are posting on Chowhound, BTW, not Gawker or Entertainment Today)

                                                                                                                        I disagree about TC being always about the drama and entertainment, and to the same extent, in all past and present seasons. It just simply does not seem that way to me. I will agree that I as a viewer have also changed, but the mix of cooking and the skill levels versus blatant dramataiment certainly seemed to vary. Seasons 5 and 6 were very good, for me, with season 6 (last year) being particularly so. Sure, this is TV, but for a show like this there always was a balance between dramatainment and cooking+cooking skills, and in my estimation this season has gone much too far in the direction of dramatainment.

                                                                                                                        Your mileage may vary.

                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Aug 2, 2010 09:00 AM

                                                                                                                          I agree with you EXCEPT for saying Season 5 and 6 were very good. Season 5 was the Hosea/Leah baloney. I think there was just as much dramatainment in Season 5 as there was in Season 2.

                                                                                                                          Season 4, on the other hand, was the Stephanie Izard & Richard Blais season, both of whom I instantly liked and wanted either to win. Although I intensely disliked Lisa and Spike in TC4...but at least they could both cook pretty damn good looking food, unlike Hosea and Leah.

                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                            huiray Aug 2, 2010 09:38 AM

                                                                                                                            Linda, you are right, season 4 was a good one.

                                                                                                                            For myself I did like season 5 - notwithstanding the H/L bunkbedshow - because there was good cooking and respect (competitive, but still respectful) between most - not all - of the chefs. Hosea's win was puzzling, but did not upset me THAT much. In particular, Stefan, Fabio, even Jamie (Top Scallop Woman) were fun and instructive to watch. Carla, too, especially her increasing confidence in herself and growing demonstration of skill (alas! only to stumble at the end when she did not trust herself). Even when people were slinging shots at each other there often seemed a wittiness to it, not the nastiness of this season.

                                                                                                                            A standout episode was the one with Eric Ripert and the fish-filleting QF and the EC at Le Bernardin - even today I still remember it fondly. Such luscious food, the challenge of recreating the dishes to which most of the chefs rose, the help they extended to each other, etc etc.

                                                                                                                          2. re: huiray
                                                                                                                            g
                                                                                                                            guster4lovers Aug 2, 2010 06:37 PM

                                                                                                                            Hey! PLEASE don't throw LOST in with that Housewife bullshite. They are SO not the same - one is a beautifully scripted drama that is one of the best things to grace US televisions for years. The other is stupid, rich, spoiled women bitching about their lives and how hard it is to have plastic surgery and be friends with people who are equally stupid, rich, and spoiled. NOT THE SAME.

                                                                                                                            (end rant...sorry, I just really love LOST)

                                                                                                                            I do agree that Top Chef Masters is more about the cooking - and the level of professional courtesy is totally missing this season in TC. For example, if someone forgot an ingredient or even needed help making something, the chefs on Masters wouldn't even hesitate before giving anything they could. Last season you saw that with most of the chefs, but mostly with the top four. It was the attitude of, "If I beat you and you weren't at your best because of x or y, then my victory is slightly empty. Therefore, I want you to do the absolute best you can so that winning is more meaningful and we can both do justice to our ability and reputation." I totally respect that. This, "I'm not giving you ANY salt because it's ALL MINE" BS is just totally ridiculous and unprofessional. If you were really confident in your ability Kelly, you would give Amanda some freaking salt. So I'm really glad she learned SOMETHING from that...even if it won't teach her to be a Top Chef Master.

                                                                                                                            1. re: guster4lovers
                                                                                                                              Caitlin McGrath Aug 2, 2010 08:16 PM

                                                                                                                              To be fair, I think we have seen times in previous episodes this season where people offered to share ingredients and where several of them bounced ideas around at the house for challenges where they were in direct competition with each other. At this point, a lot of that seems to have broken down in favor of gamesmanship and selfishness, whereas last season cooperation seemed to increase as the weeks went on.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                ChinoWayne Aug 2, 2010 08:56 PM

                                                                                                                                It seems to me that the cast members/cheftestants last season were all much more at ease with their own skill and attributes as a chef, where this season they seem much more insecure with themselves, which is then reflected in the less than collegial group dynamic.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                  huiray Aug 3, 2010 05:37 PM

                                                                                                                                  Yes.
                                                                                                                                  Still, with regards to 'helping each other out', compare the level of 'help' with past seasons - not the same. Think of that Eric Ripert episode in S5 I referred to upthread...they were ALL plugging in to help plate dishes in many instances - something that seems to me to be inconceivable to expect in this season of TC - let alone dispensing advice and sharing ingredients.

                                                                                                                                2. re: guster4lovers
                                                                                                                                  huiray Aug 3, 2010 09:56 AM

                                                                                                                                  Heh. OK.
                                                                                                                                  Suppose you nominate another show to complement comparisons with "Housewifes of..." with regards to what TC this season is in danger of becoming?
                                                                                                                                  :-)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                    g
                                                                                                                                    guster4lovers Aug 3, 2010 10:07 PM

                                                                                                                                    Fair enough. How about Hell's Kitchen? It's always like this, only worse.

                                                                                                                                    A non-food show - Bachelor/Bachelorette? Desperate Housewives (staying with the housewife theme)? :-)

                                                                                                                              2. re: JayEsBee
                                                                                                                                chowser Aug 2, 2010 08:57 AM

                                                                                                                                I think there are more people like you than me which is why there are so many drama-reality shows. Who would watch the Bachelor if all the women were super nice to each other and fair (isn't the big reason people turn in for the cattiness and schedenfreude?)? Or, any of the Housewives shows? I do think this season is different from last season since the level of chefs are lower--no Volt bros, Kevin, Jen and there was a respect among them, a desire to win because they were better not because they played the game better. Maybe it should be said that last season was unusual and this is back to games as usual. Spike would have fit in fine this time around. Alex and Spike in a throwdown would probably generate huge ratings.

                                                                                                                                1. re: JayEsBee
                                                                                                                                  huiray Aug 2, 2010 09:06 AM

                                                                                                                                  With regards to my changing as a viewer, as I said above I would acknowledge that I probably have changed - but in most cases can it not be said that it is incumbent upon the provider of a show, entertainment, service, etc that one needs to change with the customer base, rather than remain frozen in time, if one wishes to be successful? Especially when one's expectations for the show are going up (for myself, at least) rather than down?

                                                                                                                                  Exceptions might be invoked where something had been of very high quality and downgrading it would be held as a retrograde action - but even there it would often be the case that the customer base is requesting lower quality stuff, which although a tragedy would still need to be catered to if one wishes to still sell to that customer base. (One could seek a better customer base - but this is getting farther away from the topic at hand) In the case of TC - and in particular this season's, as compared with the last (and even season 5, for all the Hosea/Leah distractions) it really does seem as if the show is becoming retrograde. The level of cooking skill and general competitiveness (without the excessive back-stabbing and scheming as seen this year) did indeed seem to be more on the "cooking" side than the "dramatainment" side previously.

                                                                                                                                  As for the early years - I could also say that the show was feeling its way into it...then, as it went along, it did seem to increase in skill level and props - then degrading into what seems like less skilled/more drama scenarios this season.

                                                                                                                                2. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                  t
                                                                                                                                  TheFoodEater Aug 2, 2010 11:14 PM

                                                                                                                                  I always thought TCM should play up the charities more to generate their drama. Instead of "the winning chef gets 10,000 dollars for their charity" they should frame it in terms of the effects of losing the money.

                                                                                                                                  For example, show some homeless babies who need blankets and a poor village that needs water. "the villagers might die of thirst and the homeless babies are hours away from dying of exposure! If Rick Moonen's funion infused butterfinger carpaccio beats Susar Lee's bologna in root beer reduction with cheesy poof powder, those babies are slowly dying of cold for lack of 10,000 dollars for blankets." or, "john can't talk into the phone to get food, or walk very far. meals on wheels needs money to keep feeding him. can chef save him from a very slow death of starvation by chopping onions faster than hubert keller?"

                                                                                                                                  That would be way high drama, and it's logically equivalent to what they are already doing with playing the charities against each other. I always felt TCM had a sort of dramatic and very sinister undercurrent with the implications for people who depend on charities that don't win.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: TheFoodEater
                                                                                                                                    chicgail Aug 3, 2010 03:54 AM

                                                                                                                                    Ick. Sorry, but ick. I hope you are joking.

                                                                                                                                    I don't watch Top Chef (or TCM) for continuous Save the Children ads. That kind of "high drama" would occur for me as a contrived intrusive commercial. Since I watch the show on Tivo, I would fast forward though any footage like like that and would eventually turn it off.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: chicgail
                                                                                                                                      Joanie Aug 3, 2010 04:03 AM

                                                                                                                                      Agreed, I think they give a nice background to the charities and that's all we need. I get depressed with those abused animal ads and have to change the channel, I'd be doing the same if they went with foodeater's idea.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: TheFoodEater
                                                                                                                                      g
                                                                                                                                      guster4lovers Aug 3, 2010 10:10 PM

                                                                                                                                      I laughed out loud. Thanks for that.

                                                                                                                                      I totally disagree with your last line, although I suppose your satire could possibly be too subtle for me on that one. :-)

                                                                                                                                      I say to hell with the cooking and just make it a full on orphan killing cannibalism show. I mean, it would have worked in Ireland if people wouldn't have been so damned....ethical...

                                                                                                                                3. re: chicgail
                                                                                                                                  g
                                                                                                                                  gastrotect Aug 2, 2010 09:01 AM

                                                                                                                                  I dunno about jumping the shark. Running it's course maybe. Until the show does something really crazy to try and grasp at failing ratings, it can't be accused of jumping the shark. It could still happen though.

                                                                                                                                  Truthfully, the show is bound to have ebbs and flows. You would think we would get world-class chefs every season, but it doesn't always happen that way. Just last season the show was excellent when there were weak seasons prior. It could be a simple matter of excellent chefs who would otherwise tryout/apply are comfortable with their current situation. Project Runway has had the same problems over its run. I feel that it's just the nature of this style of reality television.

                                                                                                                                4. l
                                                                                                                                  L987 Aug 2, 2010 05:17 AM

                                                                                                                                  sorry if its off toppic, i've tried to make that salmon dish with pea puree that alex mad (i had a big bag of peas in the freezer) didn't smoke the salmon but other that that i follow the recipe.. and i must say that pea puree was really good... espcally cold the day after.. but it was relly easy to make.. didn't take long at all 10 min maybe so he could have done it the same day without problems... but it was weird they we didn't see him make it on tv..

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: L987
                                                                                                                                    ChefJune Aug 2, 2010 06:40 AM

                                                                                                                                    Who knows whether it was his recipe or the elves? Did you read the report fartner up this thread about the two distinctly different recipes for pea puree connected with Alex's winning recipe on the TC site?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: L987
                                                                                                                                      d
                                                                                                                                      dach Aug 2, 2010 07:03 AM

                                                                                                                                      Was it the same recipe that Michael Voltaggio demonstrated on the winners dish video on bravo website?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: dach
                                                                                                                                        huiray Aug 2, 2010 09:14 AM

                                                                                                                                        I doesn't seem like it to me.

                                                                                                                                        Michael Voltaggio appears to be demonstrating how HE would make it (the pea puree) and is explaining in some detail why he is doing what he does. He is also certainly adding more stuff to the puree and altering the way it is put together, if it could be even said that the bravotv site recipe provided any instructions as to how it was put together at all.

                                                                                                                                    2. Caitlin McGrath Aug 4, 2010 09:35 AM

                                                                                                                                      A harsh review of Plein Sud, the NYC restaurant where Ed is the chef, which also touches on Top Chef: http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-08-0...

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                        LindaWhit Aug 4, 2010 09:47 AM

                                                                                                                                        Very harsh review. But I disagree with Sietsma on this point:

                                                                                                                                        "This season, he's a pink-cheeked contestant on Top Chef, where he has cultivated an affable, teddy-bearish demeanor, but proven to be rather pissy in the clenches. Food that merely looks great is the objective of the show—since the home audience can't taste anything—and it seems as if a lot of that attitude has rubbed off on Plein Sud."
                                                                                                                                        ~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                        Food that merely looks great is the objective? I think Eric Ripert and Tom Colicchio would take umbrage with that comment.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                          Caitlin McGrath Aug 4, 2010 10:12 AM

                                                                                                                                          Yes, I thought that might raise some eyebrows, and I also disagree.

                                                                                                                                      2. chicgail Aug 4, 2010 11:30 AM

                                                                                                                                        Peagate update:
                                                                                                                                        I just viewed the show again and there does appear to be a shot of Alex taking bags of something very green (peas?) out of the cooler and another shot of him holding a pot of something that also had flashes of green. Totally separately, as someone had noted, was a shot of peas cooking in a pot.

                                                                                                                                        If no one else used peas, one would have to assume that the simmering peas belonged to Alex because Ed had already made his puree by that point.

                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: chicgail
                                                                                                                                          huiray Aug 4, 2010 12:31 PM

                                                                                                                                          Uh, Ed recooked some peas that morning because he couldn't find the puree prepared previously. We see whole peas (and the broccolini)(per Tiffany's suggestion) on the plate he finally presented.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                            chicgail Aug 4, 2010 02:20 PM

                                                                                                                                            Makes sense.

                                                                                                                                            Not defending Alex, but I did see him taking bags of something green out of the cooler and I think the very next shot was of him holding a pot that seemed to have something green in it. Of course that could have been Ed's puree he was heating up. Not conclusive.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                              c
                                                                                                                                              chrisonli Aug 4, 2010 05:36 PM

                                                                                                                                              Actually, it was introduced as English pea and asparagus fricassee (I am just rewatching the ep as I type this)...

                                                                                                                                              1. re: chrisonli
                                                                                                                                                huiray Aug 4, 2010 09:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                Yes, indeed, it was asparagus rather than the broccolini...plus the peas. I rewatched the episode also. As for the sequence of 'vignettes' we see - that pot of peas boiling was shown just before Ed was shown looking for his puree...so, was the peas-in-the-pot started before or after Ed actually started looking for his puree? If before, it would suggest that Alex did start peas himself, if after it could be Ed cooking fresh peas. Huh. I don't really trust the magical elves to do things in any 'logical' or 'sequential' manner...

                                                                                                                                              2. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                C. Hamster Aug 9, 2010 08:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                It was peas and asparagus ... but whose obsessed with details? Ive watched the epi like 6 times now, for some reason.

                                                                                                                                            2. t
                                                                                                                                              TheFoodEater Aug 11, 2010 11:48 PM

                                                                                                                                              Update on PEAGATE:

                                                                                                                                              Tom Colicchio has updated his twitter feed ( http://twitter.com/tom_colicchio ) with a brief statement on peagate:

                                                                                                                                              "I also heard from at least three contestant who witnessed Alex making the pea puree"

                                                                                                                                              Alex has been exonerated by three of his peers. He is not guilty. Peagate is no more.

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: TheFoodEater
                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit Aug 12, 2010 07:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                Yeah, but I still think it's an a$$hole. :-)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: TheFoodEater
                                                                                                                                                  chowser Aug 12, 2010 09:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                  This was filmed months ago. They found the contestants before the editing. The editors chose to make Alex look like a thief. That's irresponsible and character assassination. Okay, a little dramatic on my word choice but it's wrong to edit to make someone look like a thief and to have people question his win and his integrity when you know he isn't. I don't like Alex but it's wrong.

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