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Top Chef - D.C. - Ep. #12 - 09/01/10 (Spoilers)

He's BAAAACKKK!!! Anthony Bourdain, that is. Color me HAPPY! :-)

And before going to the TC kitchen, the show starts off with Kevin saying he didn't think he'd make it this far - a foreshadowing?

They arrive at the TC kitchen for the QuickFire - a table is filled with wine bottles. The Quickfire is to choose one of the wines and create a dish to pair with it. It's the *final* high stakes QF - the winner will be going to London for 6 nights.

Wow - Kevin's braised pork belly dish doesn't get cooked fast enough in the pressure cooker - with about 10 minutes to go, he switches gears and goes with quail - with a red wine choice. Hmmm...

Tiffany chose a Shiraz - she went with a Waygu beef.
Kevin picked a Merlot and when the pork belly didn't work, made quail.
Angelo chose an Evolution white wine and paired it with foie gras.
Kelly went with a Zinfandel and made a beef dish with a blue cheese crust.
Ed had an Italian red, and went with a Waygu rib eye.

The worst pairings were Kevin's quail and Kelly's beef. For the two best dishes, Dana Cowin chose Angelo's foie gras and Tiffany's Waygu beef.

The winner is Angelo - perhaps he's back in a good cooking groove. He gets the trip to London. Then Padma tells the 5 of them that only 4 will make it to the finale - and that they're going to Singapore for the finale!

The remaining 5 chefs head to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and Tom meets them in the Control Room, and they get a message from the astronauts in space. They are asked to create "space food" - and the winning dish will be served in space! Buzz Aldrin is a special guest judge. A head scientist gives them some basic guidelines - food shouldn't be too large, shouldn't have a lot of sugars, as it doesn't freeze-dry well, and well-spiced foods are always very welcome in space!

Ed's going with lamb and Moroccan flavors (later noted to be yogurt-marinated lamb and a lamb kebab); Tiffany seems to be going with Asian-inspired flavors and fish (pan-seared halibut with a coconut curry). Kevin's going with beef and seemed to be picking out some hot peppers from the produce area (he's going with a NY strip steak with a bacon-jalapeno marmalade and a corn puree).

When they come back, they're in the TC kitchen beginning prep. Angelo is doing a ginger-lacquered short ribs with a horseradish sauce, and Kelly's doing a pan-roasted halibut.

Oh NO...Tiffany had put her mussels in the fridge, and they've all frozen solid - they're dead. NOT good! Back at the TC house, Ed and Tiffany are commiserating about the mussels. What will she do now?

The next morning...a note on the kitchen counter says their ride is outside, and the winner of the challenge gets to take it home - a Toyota Avalon all tricked out. :-) They pull up to the International Trade Center, and they have 1 hour to finish cooking. It's a *very* tight kitchen, and they're all on top of themselves. Ed and Angelo bring in a table to try and give them more work space.

So Tiffany's dealing without any mussels; Angelo's short ribs could be too sweet. Hmmm... The guests are seated, and in addition to Bourdain, it's Eric Ripert, Colicchio, Buzz Aldrin, the head food scientist from NASA, and two other astronauts from NASA.

Kelly's dish is out first...she sees Bourdain and said "he always says it like it is and I'm interested in hearing what he has to say!" The head scientist from NASA says "too much liquid".

Ed's Moroccan lamb dish comes out. One of the astronauts says "people forget about trash; usually you can take it outside and throw it away, but in space you can't!" She was referring to the bones from the rack of lamb.

Kevin's up next with his strip steak. He gets good reviews on flavors; the crispy onions would be a challenge to keep crispy, says the head scientist.

Next up is Tiffany with her halibut and coconut curry. Again, a lot of liquid? But Bourdain likes the fish sauce. Ripert doesn't like the combination of the sauce, rice and fish together.

Finally, Angelo comes out with his ginger-lacquered short rib. (God, that sounds **SO** good and that's going to be one recipe I pull off the Recipes page at Bravo's TC website!) Buzz Aldrin likes the flavors a lot...but Tom Colicchio didn't like the candied ginger - thought it too sweet, but said overall the flavoring was good. Bourdain LOVED it and didn't understand Tom's "dark, cynical side." :-) Come on - is THAT all we're going to get? Hopefully there will be more at Judges Table. :-)

They're all tasting each other foods in the "in-between" and it seems like the flavors were all good, according to Kevin. They *did* happen to all look very good - which one could be the worst? Tiffany? Kelly? I think the overall flavor on Tiffany's would be better received; Kelly's seemed to be rather plain - at least visually.

And they're all there at Judges Table. Tom Colicchio said the measure between the winners and losers was very small, so they all did VERY well. They're critiqued in front of the judges....Ed gets good overall reviews, although Ripert still said it was too complicated. Tiffany's dish gets criticized on the tomatoes in the dish - the skin should have been removed. Kelly's dish gets high compliments from Eric Ripert. Angelo's dish was (mostly) well received, although his comment about "making love to the short ribs" got an eyebrow raise. :-)

And finally, Kevin's dish was good - but Bourdain said he thought that perhaps Kevin played it safe. And after the cheftestants go back into the Stew Room, Bourdain was pretty adamant: "This is TOP CHEF - sirloin? Really?" He's got a point. But Tom seemed to favor the fact that Kevin made something that would remind them of home. But there's still the issue of the fried onion rings and how to accomplish that in the freeze-dried world of space.

OK, we're back - decision has been made. Bourdain gets to announce the winner - and it is? Angelo! Another double QF/EC win (his second)! So that makes two double winners who've won doubles twice - Angelo and Tiffany. He also gets Bourdain's latest book, "Medium Raw", the car, AND he gets to watch the next launch from NASA - AND his food is going in to space! Quite the haul for winning this challenge!

Who else is going to Singapore? Not Tiffany. DAMN. She's asked to PYKAG. :-( So it's Kevin, who doesn't deserve it, IMO, and Kelly and Ed.

Shoot - I was really rooting for her. Yeah, she's won a trip to Paris and $20K. But she should have been there in the finale!

And the previews for the finale in Singapore look CRAZY!

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  1. I thought the same thing on the possible Kevin foreshadowing.

    I'm to the point now of not wanting themed challenges. Can't they just cook? Does a Top Chef really need to make freeze dryable food? Five chefs yet, and we're still on gimmicky challenges. Blah.

    I thought Kevin adapted well with the pork belly fail. He knew his pairing would not be good, but he managed to put some good meat on the plate in a short period of time.

    2 Replies
    1. re: debbiel

      To me, the foreshadowing is never as it seems. The editors are good at making you think what will happen, but it never does. Think back to all the teases you've seen over the years.

      1. re: debbiel

        "I'm to the point now of not wanting themed challenges. Can't they just cook? Does a Top Chef really need to make freeze dryable food? Five chefs yet, and we're still on gimmicky challenges. Blah."

        Especially when the challenge is so gratuitous!

        There was absolutely no point to the challenge! None of the chefs seemed to take any aspect of it into consideration, and none of the judges seemed to care.

        (I haven't read the thread yet, so forgive me if this has been mentioned already - I'm a bit late to the party!!)

      2. Too bad Tiffany's mussels froze. But could you really freeze-dry them for space anyway?

        1. Astronaut Leland Melvin presented my daughter with a NASA science award 6 years ago - super nice guy!!!!! I was excited to see him on tv.

            1. re: debbiel

              I'm with you - Noooooooooo!!!!!! Who am I going to root for? I don't think Kelly can win it, so I guess Ed ? IDK - sad night for me.

              1. re: debbiel

                I agree. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

                1. re: debbiel

                  Seriously bummed, as I just wrote in the OP. She SO should have been there. Kevin shouldn't be. BUT....it's not a cumulative judging situation, as we all know. It's the "best dish tonight". :::Sigh::::

                  The contest is between Angelo, Ed and Kelly, I think. And out of those three, I'd root for Ed, I think. Not crazy about any one of the final 4 but those 3 are "tolerable." Oh well.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    Quote: "the contest is between Kevin, Ed, and Kelly, I think."
                    ___________

                    Do you mean as to who to root for? Why on earth would you think Angelo couldn't win this season?

                    1. re: cowboyardee

                      Sorry - I fixed it. I *meant* Angelo, Ed, and Kelly.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        S'ok. I wasn't offended. Just confused.

                        I wouldn't be shocked to see Kevin win this. I don't think he's so much weaker than the others as to be counted out already. That said, I think I'd give Angelo 1:1 odds, Kevin maybe 10:1. I don't really have a personal favorite of the remaining chefs, though I dislike Ed.

                        1. re: cowboyardee

                          Exactly - I'm not crazy about any of them - I'd say Angelo and Kelly are probably close to even-Steven...Ed's a close third, and Kevin's tagging along in the rear. :-)

                    2. re: LindaWhit

                      Yeah, no one thrills me. I'd be disappointed if Kevin won, but I could handle any of the others winning. My order of preference: Ed, Kelly, Angelo, Tiffany in some surprise comeback, Kevin.

                      1. re: debbiel

                        seriously bummed!!! She was from Beaumont!!!! I was rooting for her! SO maybe they did the foreshadowing with Kevin just to throw all of us off. Maybe the writers read the chowhound threads!!! Well she definitely is my fan favorite.

                        I wanted to see her in the finals. This isn't as big as Carla's upset loss in the finals but I dont know who to cheer on now.

                        1. re: porkbutt03

                          Did you catch that "Beaumont, we have a problem," from the often misquoted "Houston, we've HAD a problem." Beaumont is a mere ninety mies down I-10 from Houston, too bad to see her go.

                      2. re: LindaWhit

                        Yup -

                        I'm with you. Linda!
                        I was really rooting for Tiffany :(
                        At one point I liked Kelly, but ehhhh...

                        I'm not crazy about any of them either, but I think I'll have to *root * (not that he deserves it) for Kevin...only cuz he is from Jersey. (I think!?)

                      3. re: debbiel

                        Completely disappointing, but I figured it was her or Kevin. I was hoping Kevin. Tiffany made out pretty well, though with some high stakes wins and a trip. I predict that she will be voted fan favorite, so hopefully that will be some consolation to her.

                        I thought the freeze dried challenge seemed kind of lame, but it didn't really have much of an effect. I thought maybe they'd actually freeze dry it, or do a freeze dried version and a regular version, but that would have been pretty stupid.

                        1. re: JayEsBee

                          That is exactly what I thought they were going to do, make them freeze dry the stuff and then serve it.

                          1. re: Phaedrus

                            that would have made some sense.

                        2. re: debbiel

                          my thoughts exactly! I'm super bummed that Tif went home!

                        3. BTW, thanks for yet another great recap Linda!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: debbiel

                            Thanks! Just two more recaps to go. :-)

                            And I just saw Ed's QF dish on the TC Recipe Finder list, so I was able to fix that in my original post before I got locked out...I'm glad they get the recipes up quickly now!

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              Just two more recaps to go--until Just Desserts that is! ;)

                              1. re: skoolpsyk

                                LOL!!! I'm pretty sure I'll be watching JD (at least the first couple of shows) but I seriously doubt I'll be live-recapping. ;-)

                          2. WTF.......SOOOOOO disappointed....I was sure Tiffany would go to the end....not sure I care anymore who is going to win...just being honest....

                            15 Replies
                            1. re: christy1122

                              extended judges table is out. they are funny. :)

                              1. re: porkbutt03

                                Can you post a link? Cant find it...

                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                    Thanks. I love the extended JT. I wish they'd run the whole thing. I loved after Tom asked for the AC to be turned on, ER asked if they could (I think he said unplug) Bourdain. LOL

                                    I thought it was interesting at the time when they showed a picture of Angelo's drawing of his dish presentation and then when Tom waxed poetically about how beautiful the dish was presented (on the extended JT), I thought, well, Angelo did have a vision. I'm glad Tom appreciated it ;o)

                                    I've felt for a while that Tiffany was getting the Fan Favorite edit so I was not surprised that she went home. I didn't think she'd get to the end.

                                    I guess I'm on Team Kelly. I would be okay if any of them won, really. I'm not invested this season.

                                    1. re: Manassas64

                                      I find myself rooting at this point for Angelo to win, not because I like him better than the other contestants, but because I don't have a clear favorite and I think Angelo winning would make for the best TV and the best food in the finale.

                                      Kelly is a bit too conventional to be exciting. She has a good chance to win it though. I think Ed is running out of tricks at this point, and if he wins it will be because others messed up. Kevin hasn't really impressed as much as the others so far, but I admit it would be sorta cool if it turned out he was saving his best for the finale and he pulled off some kind of crazy turnaround. But chances are he's only winning if the others mess up.

                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                        Don't be too sure. Have you eaten his food at Rat's?

                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                          I'm far from sure. Just my impressions. I feel like I have less grasp on what Kevin is capable of than I do of the other chefs - hence my admission that he might be able to pull off tricks we had no idea he could execute in the finale.

                                          I have not eaten at Rats, though I might someday since my parents live in Philly. Have you? Was it good?

                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                            I've not eaten Kevin's food at Rat's either (although he is no longer to be there, it seems - he tendered his resignation recently). Nevertheless, I can choose where I wish to eat and I am reluctant to patronize a person who seems like a jerk and a prick from what one sees on TC (editing elves notwithstanding). There are many other talented chefs around. I look forwards to Table 21 at VOLT when I return there in a few months, for example...

                                            1. re: huiray

                                              I've not eaten Kevin's food at Rat's either (although he is no longer to be there, it seems - he tendered his resignation recently).
                                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                              Oh lordy. Please let THAT not be a preview of the season finale!

                                        2. re: Manassas64

                                          @Manassas64
                                          I thought Tom really only waxed poetic about Ed's presentation (on extended JT). What did he say about Angelo's plating? I must have missed it when I watched earlier.

                                          1. re: gastrotect

                                            I don't think Colicchio said anything about Angelo's plating. He was waxing rhapsodically about the artistry of Ed's plating, the delicious angles he so brilliantly conjured for his food etc etc etc.

                                            1. re: huiray

                                              OK, that's what I thought. I wanted to make sure I didn't miss something.

                                        3. re: cowboyardee

                                          Good extended JT. I love Bourdain describing when he was eating Tiffany's dish, he forgot he was on Top Chef, that he felt he was on a little stool in a Thai marketplace with dogs yapping at his heels while Thai pop music was playing in the background...the dish had to have been very good in flavor!

                                          And as Tom said - all 5 dishes were very good upon the first few bites. But once they delved deeper into the dish, the various things wrong with the dish came to the fore.

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            Oh sorry, thanks for the correction. It's hard to hear on my laptop. I thought they were talking about Angelo.

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              Damn.
                                              I havent got a computer at home, and I can't watch the extended JT at work becasue it gets blocked!! Darn it!
                                              I'll have to remember to watch it next time at am at DH's house...

                                    2. Hi all - I have been reading these posts for a while, and finally figured I would chime in. Thanks for having me.

                                      First - a question for Linda: do you type these posts as the show is actually airing, or do you take notes and do it later? I've always been curious... the tone seems like you are writing as we are experiencing the show, but that must be kind of exhausting!

                                      Second - a thought. I have long lamented Top Chef's editing formula. At this point, it's pretty easy to figure out who is in the crosshairs based on camera time. When I told my wife that I thought it was Tiffany or Kelly based on screen time, she thought I was crazy.

                                      (I know they did it once this season, but when - oh when - will they make calling people in to judge's table more random? It would make it so much better if you didn't automatically know who won based on who was called in first. Angelo's reaction to Tiffany being out was proof of that.)

                                      Third - I would like to officially start a conspiracy theory. Did anyone else notice that Angelo's final dish incorporated a PEA PUREE?

                                      Thanks for these fun re-caps. Oh, and I think Bourdain was joking with Ripert, not Tom, about the "dark, cynical side." I thought that was an intentionally funny moment given the two chef's dispositions.

                                      18 Replies
                                      1. re: chorosch

                                        Kelly can't win? really? shes the one who will bring it home. called it from the start. eat it haters. :)

                                        1. re: chorosch

                                          Sry chorosch this wasn't meant for you.

                                          1. re: chorosch

                                            < "Oh, and I think Bourdain was joking with Ripert, not Tom..." >
                                            -------------
                                            Anthony Bourdain slapped down Ripert twice, in fact, as well as Colicchio. I was very, very pleased he did that to them. Ditto when he contradicted their opinions at JT. Pleased with that too.

                                            1. re: huiray

                                              Yeah I thought that was fun, and a nice change of pace since Ripert and Colicchio are usually so revered that their opinions aren't challenged.

                                              Off camera, I think Bourdain is good friends with both chefs, so that might have loosened his tongue a bit. In the extended judges table, Bourdain even takes the liberty of referring to Colicchio as "Dr. Evil."

                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                Can't decide whether he looks more like Dr. Evil or Mini-Me.

                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                  I am pretty sure that Bourdain and Ripert are besties. They hang out.

                                                  1. re: LaLa

                                                    I took that to be self effacing. Everyone and his uncle knows that Tony is the snarky, cynical one. So he was teasing Ripert as if he had come over to the dark side.

                                                    Really, I was impressed by how happy AB was- never heard him give so many compliments! Wonder if that was a condition of his return?

                                                    1. re: julietg

                                                      Really, I was impressed by how happy AB was- never heard him give so many compliments! Wonder if that was a condition of his return?
                                                      ~~~~~~~
                                                      A "condition" of his return???? Considering that his comments are usually spot on (and the editors are certainly adept at removing anything overly snarky but usually leave them IN for our viewing and listening enjoyment), I doubt there were any conditions to have him return to guest judge.

                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                        I dunno- last time he was on with any regularity there was a huge amount of snark-a-tude about Rocco diSpirito's IQF meals. (Which I thought was great, but the sponsors probably not so much) He was on only sporadically after that, right? Am I remembering it incorrectly?

                                                        1. re: julietg

                                                          AB was pretty snarky with Ripert.

                                                          "The ripper ..."

                                                          1. re: julietg

                                                            He's always been pretty snarky about DiSpirito after "The Restaurant" debacle. Yes, he was on pretty sporadically after that, but remember - he's got a LOT of travel for his "No Reservations" show. That could have coincided with last season's filming, preventing him from showing up as guest judge, as much as I would have *loved* to have had him there during TC6. (He's only been a guest judge on TC3 and TC4. according to Wikipedia) It's also quite possible that they wanted to allow others to be involved in judging.

                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                              so I just watched the extended JT, and I realized. AB is CHOWISH!!
                                                              he wants a hole in the wall with a naked light bulb and a plastic chair!!

                                                              (I also asked my friends who edit No Reservations for some intel. I got some that he is shooting a TC right now, so that whole TWoP thing may be true. I asked again about why the hiatus from TC. Will report back.)

                                                              1. re: julietg

                                                                She just wrote back. The theory is that Travel Chanel is owned by Scripps, which also owns Food Network. There may have been a network conflict.

                                                                1. re: julietg

                                                                  Ahhh, that's right. I remember the Scripps/TFN and Bravo conflicting ownership coming up in the past. Makes sense. Perhaps he's renegotiated his contract and is able to appear now.

                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                Linda -
                                                                in your recap, you say: "Bourdain LOVED it and didn't understand Tom's "dark, cynical side." :-) "
                                                                But actually, Bourdain was takling about your boy - Ripert when he said that!

                                                  2. re: chorosch

                                                    Quote: "I have long lamented Top Chef's editing formula. At this point, it's pretty easy to figure out who is in the crosshairs based on camera time."
                                                    ______

                                                    I've often actually wished the show were less concerned with keeping you guessing. I feel like they often cut short discussion/critique or hide key details about the food for fear of making it obvious who's getting sent home.

                                                    1. re: chorosch

                                                      Hey chorosch - my computer's in my living room, so it's live typing. I usually save the first part 20 minutes in, and then add to it and save it each commercial break. :-)

                                                      And my back was to the TV, so I might have missed who Bourdain was teasing about his dark, cynical side. :-) Yeah, I'm one of those philistines who doesn't have a laptop where I can sit on my couch facing the TV while I write up the recap. :-)

                                                      1. re: chorosch

                                                        yeah, that was really funny when Bourdain was talking about Ripert's dark cynical side and saying he's all "sweetness and light' himself... or some such, I laughed out loud!

                                                      2. boo. as i've said every week, this season sucks. sorry to see Tiffay go, she really deserved to be in the finals.

                                                        and seriously, just ONCE i'd like Angelo to get through an episode without some sex-related comment about his food. it's nauseating.

                                                        i'm "rooting" for Kelly to win, but i honestly don't really care much at this point.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                          That whole comment about making love to his short ribs was really odd, or as my kids put it, "awk-ward..." with the responses from the judges. It might have been editing but it seemed like it was in response to their being too sweet.

                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                            he says something like that EVERY week. "I made love to that duck breast." "I'm going to make a sexy dish." "I made love to those short ribs."

                                                            ick.

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              Heh. Perhaps he engages in hyperbole and somewhat overly flowery descriptions of his relationship with his food. Still, I don't recoil from his flowery passages - I just smile at them. I don't mind his weird descriptions of what he did with his food. Actually, I'm not sure I would call them that weird. Rather, I think of them as expressions of his passion with his food. :-)

                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                Just make sure to practice safe cooking, and make sure to wear a prophylactic. :)

                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                            ?? I think everyone had read it was Singapore already.

                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                              I was referring more to 'the final four' as had been previously revealed on TWoP...(and maybe more...)
                                                              :-)

                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                Ahh...well, I didn't go to the TWoP link to see what it might say re: Final 4 (and maybe more) last week. Why not just leave that at TWoP and let the rest of us see it as it happens?

                                                          2. I don't really have a favorite to win Top Chef this season. I picked up on it at the befinning of season 5 and always had at least 1 or 2 that I was rooting for but not this season. (Actually, I was rooting for Tiffany a little, but now what?)

                                                            Twice I saw Angelo taste a sauce with a spoon and then stir the sauce with the same spoon that came out of his mouth. I don't even do that in my own kitchen (or very infrequently anyway, and I feel guilty if it happens). The first chef to be elimininated in the first season of Top Chef was kicked out of Hubert Keller's kitchen for tasting a sauce with his finger. (If the guy who did this wasn't so arrogant as to argue with Keller and Colicchio about it, it might not have been so bad for him). I think putting a spoon into a sauce that was just in your mouth is much worse.

                                                            1. It's hard for this season to be good especially with the Voltaggio brothers last season. I don't really like anyone this season. I was shocked Tiffany went home because she's been doing so well. I was thinking Kelly would go home based on the amount of time she was 'narrating.' I kinda like Kelly but she isn't good enough to win. I wanted Kevin to go home tonight. I hated Angelo in the beginning but I guess him sucking the past few weeks made him more tolerable. Ed is such a goober but he's been doing well. This is turning into the season where Hosea won... forgettable.

                                                              13 Replies
                                                              1. re: justinelc

                                                                OK, I think you just summed up the entire season and those remaining PERFECTLY, justinelc! LOL

                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                  Ok - I agree this season is a real yawn - but to compare it to Hosea's season is WAY off base man!

                                                                  That was my bestest season ever!!!!

                                                                  It had my 3 favorite TC chefs! \
                                                                  Stefan, Fabio and Carla!

                                                                  True, it blew when Hosea won but I truly enjoyed that season....

                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                    See, I wasn't as enamoured of Stefan as others were, and it took awhile for me to warm up to Carla. Fabio was fun, but I didn't think he could win.

                                                                    This group is just boring. So I'll agree that in that respect, they're different that the TC7 group.

                                                                2. re: justinelc

                                                                  I think Kelly is better than she is been given credit for....it was like Tom said last night...she makes it look effortless

                                                                  1. re: justinelc

                                                                    I thought Season 5 was much more entertaining than this season's showing. At first I didn't much care for Stafan but then I enjoyed his banter. Fabio was entertaining. I thought some of the chefs were good. I think the chefs of Season 6 set the bar pretty high and I don't know if they'll ever get that good of a group of chefs on the show again.

                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                      I should really read the entire thread before I post!!

                                                                      Anyway - thanks John I totally agree!

                                                                    2. re: justinelc

                                                                      Exactly. Last season, I would have eaten at either Voltaggio brother restaurant,or Woodfire Grill (or Le Bernardin, of course). This season, I would have eaten at Tiffany's restaurant if I found myself in Beaumont, but certainly would never plan to eat at Xie Xie, Plein Sud or Restaurant Kelly Liken

                                                                      1. re: cabking

                                                                        I might be showing my ignorance here, but is it common to name a restaurant after your complete name? 'Restaurant Kelly Liken' sounds like (no pun intended) someone that is really full of themself. I've seen a restaurant named after a first name or last name, but cannot recall one at the moment that is a full name.

                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                          sho shaun hergat

                                                                          emeril counts too, as we all know which emeril

                                                                          danial boulod and jean georges?

                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                            jean georges is just his first two names :)

                                                                            1. re: DGresh

                                                                              yeah i know. but still......

                                                                            2. re: thew

                                                                              Both Daniel Boulud and Jean-Georges are just a wee bit better known than Kelly Liken. I can give them a pass. :-)

                                                                              Actually, when I read her name, I'm thinking of lichen...that green fuzzy moss on rocks in a river. Not an attractive name for a restaurant, IMO.

                                                                            3. re: John E.

                                                                              I'll agree with this. Stupid name for a restaurant, especially when you're not exactly burning up the culinary world

                                                                        2. Tiffany? I'm ferklempt.

                                                                          1. I have to say that I would have been sad to see any of these five go. So, although I was sorry Tiffany was eliminated, no elimination was going to make me happy. I still don't like Angelo very much, but he has clearly exhibited real cooking chops consistently, and altho he's not my "favorite" for the win, I think it's probably his to lose. Especially since they are doing the finals in the "Asian cooking Capital of the World," and that is definitely his metier.

                                                                            1. Some disconnected thoughts:

                                                                              Not much fanfare for this episode. It was a pretty weak excuse for a elimination challenge in the first place - the chefs pretty much just cooked whatever they wanted, and as far as I can tell, the judges didn't hold them to any real challenge-specific criteria. But even more so, it was just strange that this felt like any other elimination challenge this season. Season 6, with five contestants left they had the Bocuse D'Or challenge, complete with Thomas Keller in the flesh. Season 5, they trotted out Jacques Pepin, among others.

                                                                              Just wanted to point out - Ed's dish included yet another eggplant preparation, this time a puree. It also featured a couscous fritter that was similar in technique (though not in flavor profile) to the risotto fritter he won with last week. I'm just starting to wonder if he has a few real go-to tricks and ingredients and he's running out of new options.

                                                                              Kelly pulled off a very cool-looking plating technique in the quickfire, where she plated a foam on top of a blackberry sauce, and the sauce sort of darkened the edges of the white-colored foam. Here's a good shot of it:
                                                                              http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipe...
                                                                              If any chowhounds know the best way to pull this off, please inform me.

                                                                              I had always laughed off the claims that the show is rigged and that people are cut or kept on the basis of who'd make the best TV. But I guess at the same time, I always thought that for episodes like this one there were some considerations beside the food that determined who would go home. In other words, I had always figured that the judges, given dishes of similar quality as they were in this week, would give the historically better or more interesting chef a pass. I thought the judges would, consciously or subconsciously, come up with a justification to send, say, Kevin home instead of Tiffany when the dishes were this close. I guess I was wrong. Could be that it wasn't as close a call as it seemed. But the extended judges table definitely made it seem like this weeks elimination was a contentious one for the judges.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                Bourdain touched on the judging in his book. the basic take is that Colicchio is the conscience of the judging and he is adamant about the judging not having any memory, i.e. the best dish wins the day and the worst dish goes home. What he said made a lot of sesne, basically that they bring so many guest judges on that it is unfair to force the judges to take everyone else's word for how great the chefs were previously.

                                                                              2. I don't even know why I'm so disappointed. I don't even care who wins at this point.

                                                                                The NASA challenge didn't seem to take into account the comments of the scientist who freeze-dries the food. The short ribs may not even make it into space. Made me wonder why they bothered with all that. And I, for one, have no interest in ever eating anything that Angelo has made love to. Ick.

                                                                                Yes, Tiffany made a fatal mistake in the EC and didn't fix it well. That was apparent. However, this has been a horrible season in every way. I'm not even sure that I'm going to bother watching the finale, unless it just occurs like a car wreck that I am compelled to watch as I drive by.

                                                                                It's ironic to me that TC just won an Emmy. It's pretty clearly not an Emmy for the current season and I have to wonder if, after the spectacular last season, the producers have pretty much decided that something is handled and is more or less running on fumes.

                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                1. re: chicgail

                                                                                  The whole challenge was irrelevant, other than the cheftestants putting in more spices. The first rule they said was not to use large pieces and they all did that. None of the food looked like it could be freeze dried. I think they should have served the dishes, both hot and freeze dried and then tested it. But, then again, who can freeze bacon foam and poched eggs and that almost won the QF challenge for Schwan food. LOL, if it were in the contract that they had to use the dishes, I could imagine the company trying to figure those out.

                                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                                    Regarding the frozen mussels, did anyone else wonder why Monogram is ok about showing that their refrigerators freeze food? I mean, my GE Profile occasionally does that if I put it too close to the back, but I don't think it's a "selling feature"!!

                                                                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                        I think they're thinking it's more of "chef malfunction" than a "equipment malfunction" ...

                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                          How would a refrigerator that freezes mussels in the refrigerator section be a "chef malfunction?"

                                                                                          1. re: chicgail

                                                                                            I'm sure they would claim the thermostat was set too low.

                                                                                          2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                            She put it on the top shelf (warmest) in the front (warmest) - what else could she do?

                                                                                    1. On kevin's dish. I am kind of confused. Comfort food for me is meatloaf, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, shrimp and grits if you're from the south, congee if you are Chinese. Sirloin doesn't come close to being a comfort food. I kind of agree with Bourdain, I think Kevin coasted but came up with a plausible excuse for coasting.

                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                        I agree - I wasn't getting Kevin's "comfort food" either. And Bourdain was right in that he said "This is Top Chef!!! Sirloin? Really?"

                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                          Re: comfort food

                                                                                          I think sirloin steak is comfort food for to a large portion of Americans - specifically the 'Mom/Dad couldn't cook worth a damn, EXCEPT he/she could broil up a decent steak.' For the first 15 years or so of my childhood, steaks were all my Dad could pull off, so an undersalted unevenly cooked wedge of sirloin with a hint of A1 and garlic powder tastes like home to me.

                                                                                          When we could afford it, steak was a VERY welcome break from Kraft mac n cheese with canned tuna in it ('Tunafish Crappos' in my dad's culinary lexicon). I doubt I'm the only one.

                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                            Interesting cowboyardee. I guess I don't feel that the special foods are what I consider to be comfort food. To me it is something that I had regularly, something mundane and absolutely reminds me of mom and dad and home. We didn't have steaks much either while growing up and eating steak now doesn't make me think of family and home. To each their own.

                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                              My take was that Kevin's use of "comfort food" was somewhat of a misnomer. I think he was trying to present a well made, tasty, simple presentation of straightforward flavors and calling it "comfort food." He was trying to contrast his dish with the more "elevated" preparations of his competitors (the Moroccan flavors of Ed or the blue cheese foam of Kelly).

                                                                                              1. re: JayEsBee

                                                                                                So, is there a problem with calling it what it is rather than being disingenuous? In the end if he is trying to give the customers what they want, then that is an admirable trait. It may not win him at JT, but it is honest.

                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                  I'm not sure what you mean here. Do you really think he was being disingenuous? I thought maybe he was being a bit vague in his language, but not that he was trying to BS anyone. 'Comfort food' is a pretty ambiguous term when you think about it. I already get the impression it doesn't quite mean the same thing to me as it does to you.

                                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                    'Comfort food' is a pretty ambiguous term when you think about it. I already get the impression it doesn't quite mean the same thing to me as it does to you.
                                                                                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                    I would say that's a given depending on where you've grown up and what you were eating. Comfort food to *me* is meat loaf and mashed potatoes, homemade macaroni and cheese, roasted chicken or a roasted leg of lamb.

                                                                                                    To someone else, it could be congee, Pad Thai, or borscht, jerk chicken from a tiny little stand on the way to their childhood home in Jamaica, smoked salmon on fresh, homemade bagels in NYC that their grandfather picked up every Sunday. Or grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup their Mom made when they were sick. Or slow-cooked collard greens, grits, and BBQ at the big Southern Sunday family dinners. Or apple pie, sticky toffee pudding or mochi ice cream.

                                                                                                    So yes, "comfort food" is in the tummy of the taster. :-)

                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                      All of those things sound like comfort food to me!

                                                                                          2. just by last night's dish, angelo is a cut above the other chefs. he brings the same type of sophistication and originality as brian voltaggio-maybe his flavour profile is different but really who cares. i'm sure tiffany's food tastes good but i don't find it particularly interesting. angelo is definitely the front runner. he is weird, acts unexpectedly and makes beautiful food. he is perfect for tv and much better than the others.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: celfie

                                                                                              I love Anthony Bourdain but I am really not loving this season of Top Chef. Kevin, who chose sirlion, stays over Tiff, whose flavors and fish sauce impressed (most of) the judges? So over it. Was totally rooting for Tiff. Now I am on Team Ed. OR Kelly. Anyone but Angelo. He makes me cringe and I don't think his food looks that fab or creative.

                                                                                              1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                                If you watch the extended judges' table, it appears that the judges weren't as thrilled with Tiffany's dish, and had several criticisms, including that it was the one dish that wasn't very professional. In that, we even see Bourdain back off from his enthusiasm with it. The only dings we saw Kenvin get were for the choice of cut (from Bourdain) and the meat being sliced too thin (from Colicchio).

                                                                                                I would much rather have seen Tiffany in the finals, but it sounds like she had the weakest dish of the five.

                                                                                                1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                                  One judge comment that caught my attention re: Tiffany's curry was that it lacked for acidity. How you make a coconut curry without including kaffir lime or lime juice is beyond me, it would be overly rich. Her response to this was to say that she intended to have mussels in the dish - missing the point entirely. My guess is that her curry simply didn't have the balance and harmony (both in the sauce, and holistically with the other ingredients) necessary to wow the judges. And for all we want to knock the sirloin for being banal, coconut curry isn't exactly haute cuisine nor cutting edge.

                                                                                              2. anyone else find Tom's comment about there not being too many Middle Eastern astronauts completely ridiculous?

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. so sad that Tiffany went home. no one worth rooting for anymore :( she had a good personality and her food seemed above average. angelo is just odd and hard to look at. kevin is just a jerk. ed is well, just ed and kelly just seems like a big spoiled brat. yes, they get judged on the dish and not based on the overall performance thru the show but they need to change this b/c kevin should have gone home!!

                                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: trolley

                                                                                                    They CAN'T judge it on overall performance, as Tom has said a gazillion times in the past, because they have guest judges, and those guest judges haven't been able to partake of the previous challenge dishes.

                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                      it goes deeper than the guest judges.

                                                                                                      i would hate the show if they took overall performance into account. it would dull the edge.

                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                        I agree. While it's frustrating for us viewers, it only makes sense to judge it on a single dish during that single challenge.

                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                          I totally agree, and, though I really like Tiffany and think she's incredibly talented, the peppers, it seemed, totally killed her dish last night. I have great hope for her, however, to win Fan Fave!

                                                                                                          1. re: phee

                                                                                                            The judges also complained about her using mealy, flavorless tomatoes in the dish for color contrast. And about how she cooked the fish, though I suspect she was in a bind there from the get-go - if she steams or simmers the fish she gets accused of not making it upscale and professional enough, and if she sautes the fish she gets dinged for not being authentic enough. Colicchio mentions that she could have sauteed it and basted it with spices used elsewhere in the curry, but I have doubts even doing that would have been met with universal approval.

                                                                                                            1. re: phee

                                                                                                              Very sadly, Tiffany did have a bad night. However, although her dish may have been overall the weakest, is it fair to make the criticism about unskinned peppers? I eat a lot of Thai and Indian curries, and do not seem to remember preparations with skinned peppers. I don't think Tom is very hip to non-European ethnic cuisines in general (and doesn't like them much either), but thought that Boudain or Padma might have spoken up about the peppers. Maybe the rest of the dish was so sub-par that this did not warrant mentioning?

                                                                                                              1. re: cabking

                                                                                                                < "I don't think Tom is very hip to non-European ethnic cuisines in general (and doesn't like them much either)" >
                                                                                                                ------
                                                                                                                I somewhat suspect this too.

                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                  I suspect this as well. Or at least I have wondered about it since his reaction to someone combining peanuts (or peanut butter, I don't recall which) and tomato in a dish. I don't remember the dish, or even the season, just that he seemed incredulous about it. I happened to have had leftover stew with pb and tomatoes in the fridge, so that one stuck with me. I think in certain regions of Africa this it's not at all an uncommon combo.

                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                    I don't know how you can say this - chefs who cook "ethnic" cuisine have done well on TC. Let's not forget that the Voltaggios cooked a wide variety of styles, Angelo obviously does Asian-esque and is appreciated, and of course there was Hung, who occasionally reverted to his family food and received high praise.

                                                                                                                    1. re: fame da lupo

                                                                                                                      ...because I suspect their understanding of at least some aspects of such cuisine.

                                                                                                                      They may like many such dishes and so on but their taste preferences may be closer to a Western preference than a true ethnic understanding of the taste profile. One example was how they panned Ed's tea-smoked duck in Episode 8 for its fat and un-crispy skin, for example. Such a duck preparation is supposed to have both fat and what a Westerner would call 'rubbery' skin and I for one would expect both and consider the taste profile to be deficient if the duck lacked either. Your comments are true regarding the Voltaggios and others cooking a wide variety of styles and others who have cooked "ethnic" or Asian-esque styles who did find favor with Colicchio & Co. but the point here is that they all cooked Americanized or Westernized versions suitable for Colicchio & Co's personal preferences. When they did not, they were faulted.

                                                                                                                      I talked about this on that thread - http://www.chow.com/topics/725378

                                                                                                      2. Bourdain needs to stop taking wardrobe advice from the ICA Chairman.

                                                                                                        Show didn't really take full advantage of the NASA theme. Just make sure it's not too sweet and things are in small pieces? Nobody adhered to that (at least the "small pieces" part). Should've made each of them cook with a freeze dried ingredient and incorporate it into their dish -- e.g. use Astronaut ice cream in your dish. Whatever.

                                                                                                        There was word that Angelo and Tiffany have already been asked back for the next Top Chef (in NYC), and were caught being filmed in a Whole Foods, so it seems like those two cats are not this season's winners. Take it for what it's worth.

                                                                                                        Angelo wins the Avalon ... and the "Medium Raw" book? What a letdown. Bourdain should've offered a "guest host" spot on No Reservations for the EC winner. That would've been cool.

                                                                                                        I'm pulling for Kevin ... because it's nice to know I'm not the only one who eats cereal at night.

                                                                                                        32 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                          There was word that Angelo and Tiffany have already been asked back for the next Top Chef (in NYC), and were caught being filmed in a Whole Foods, so it seems like those two cats are not this season's winners.
                                                                                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                          Why would they have the same chefs back on another season? I'd think they're only doing that if it's a Top Chef reunion type of show, pitting many of the top players from previous seasons with each other - similar to the earlier Christmas special where Tiffani eventually won.

                                                                                                          Angelo also got the London vacation as the QF winner, and he gets to watch a NASA launch. A car is a "let-down"? I think I'd be happy! There have been many other episodes where the winner didn't get anything.

                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                            I meant it was a letdown in the sense that the only thing Bourdain gave Angelo was the stupid book and nothing else.

                                                                                                            As to the car ... an Avalon is sort of a "soccer-mom" car and who wants to wheel around in a car with a sticky accelerator? If it had to be a Toyota (and it did), I would've prefered a Land Cruiser, or maybe a Lexus ...

                                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                              Ohhh....well, a lot of the guest judges only give their most recent cookbook, but I see what you mean.

                                                                                                              And I didn't think the Avalons were on the recall list. But good point on the Landcruiser. Then again, he'll probably just sell it, as he's in NYC, yes? Who needs a car in NYC? :-)

                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                If one wants to leave NYC on the weekends (that's Mondays for a chef?), especially in August, a car is a most welcome luxury to have. Garage costs in Manhattan are mad expensive, though.

                                                                                                                Also, if he lives in the outer boroughs, there are some 'hoods you kinda NEED a car.

                                                                                                                1. re: julietg

                                                                                                                  Fair enough. But as you said - garaging it for when you don't need it is very expensive.

                                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                  The judges giving the book is way less about a prize, methinks, than about the judge mentioning his or her book on national television.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                    Very true. It's all about the advertising. We know that. :-)

                                                                                                                3. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                  I thought the commercial within the show of them all oohing and aahing over the Avalon was a riot--"Oooh, leather seats!" as if no one has ever seen that before.

                                                                                                                4. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                  Yes, they are apparently doing a complete season with former contestants who did not win. There's lots of coverage of the speculation over on Eater, and there have been a few confirmations of filming here in New York. The only person I heard was actually spotted was Stephen from season one.

                                                                                                                  1. re: chorosch

                                                                                                                    "Top Chef Retreads!"

                                                                                                                    I believe Angelo and Tiffany from this season were also spotted in NYC.

                                                                                                                    1. re: chorosch

                                                                                                                      Interesting list of potentials - almost like a "Good Guys, Bad Guys" list! LOL Three of my FAVORITE "Good Guys", if this list is true! (Warning, there are potential spoilers here for this season!)

                                                                                                                      http://eater.com/archives/2010/09/01/...

                                                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                          Oooh! I'm LIKING the last one in that list, soupkitten! Now all we need is a Sam Talbot sighting, and I'm a happy camper!

                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                            @Linda, you know i'm with you on both counts :) but since i don't think Sam is going to end up on that list, it's Tre all the way!

                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                              I guess we'll have to make do, ghg. ;-)

                                                                                                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                          I commented on that list on another thread in this forum. Doesn't look good for Angelo!

                                                                                                                          mmm. and Kevin has just left Rat's? I hadn't heard that. Verrrry interesting. ;)

                                                                                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                            < "mmm. and Kevin has just left Rat's? I hadn't heard that. Verrrry interesting. ;)" >
                                                                                                                            ------
                                                                                                                            http://philadelphia.grubstreet.com/20...

                                                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                            These recaps crack me up, I was thinking the same thing:

                                                                                                                            Other than that, "you're open to whatever your imagination can come up with." I don't want to dwell on this, Vickie, but can your imagination come up with clear braces? It's 2010! You are not Mark McKinney playing the shy, naive girl Melanie on Kids in the Hall.
                                                                                                                            (The accompanying pictures are great.)

                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                              I'm sure they asked Stefan to come back, but either it doesn't work into his schedule or he doesn't wish to risk not winning again. I thought he was entertaining on TC5. Nobody from TC6. I suppose it's too recent and apparently doing this show is quite grueling.

                                                                                                                              My guess is that Bravo has been thinking about doing a TC season like this for a while and their lower ratings for this year prompted them to follow through on their idea (I think the lower ratings are also because of the time of year).

                                                                                                                              It will also be interesting to watch Carla kill Marcel with kindness. I think Marcel is such a doosh because he's insecure and socially inept. He lashes out at people as a defense ("I'll get them before they get me").

                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                I agree with all of your points, John, especially the ratings, as they probably figured out this season wasn't going to come near TC6's excellence.

                                                                                                                                However, having seen Marcel in at least one follow-on special show, he might actually have grown up a little bit and he's not such a doosh as he used to be. He seemed much more secure in himself on that special show. But then again, I could be wrong about that. :-) We'll see how it plays out.

                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                  I was acutally thinking of the last reunion show and how Marcel acted when I was disparaging him. He was very insulting to Fabio for no particular reason. Marcel said something like "I'd comment on your season of Top Chef, but I didn't watch it".

                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                    OK, I do remember that. Then maybe I'm thinking about an earlier special show where he actually wasn't as bad as he has portrayed himself. Guess he didn't continue to redeem himself with the Fabio comment.

                                                                                                                                2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                  "Nobody from TC6."

                                                                                                                                  Mike Isabella is on that list.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                    Yeah, I missed that. I was thinking of Brian, Kevin and Jen when I wrote that.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                    <Nobody from TC6.> Mike Isabella is on that list.

                                                                                                                                3. re: chorosch

                                                                                                                                  I think it's possible this may be a reunion episode and not "Top Chef Season 8". Out of the list, I find several of the chefs a bit annoying at times including Marcel, Stephen, Spike, Mike Isabella, and Angelo to a certain degree. Tiffany Faison from Season 1 seemed to have taken the criticism she received to heart and decided she didn't like the way she behaved on that show.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                    As has been said in earlier posts (or perhaps on the Eater comments section) the time for filming in and around NYC has been longer than for just a reunion show or a "Christmas special"...plus, there's a LOT of potential cheftesants in the list. So it sounds like they're gathering from all of the previous seasons for a full-on All-Star Season vs. just a special one or two episode All-Stars.

                                                                                                                                4. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                  If I recall, the winner of the car has never been the TC winner. Further foreboding for Angelo.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                    The car seems to be kiss of death -- or 2nd prize, depending upon how you look at it. And I would have liked to see Angelo winn over some of the others, either him or Tiffany.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                      Michael Voltaggio won a Toyota Prius in Top Chef 6

                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                        ahh, you're right. for some reason i was thinking it was Jen, which would have meant the car curse was intact :)

                                                                                                                                  2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                    "Bourdain needs to stop taking wardrobe advice from the ICA Chairman"

                                                                                                                                    I just almost inhaled my coffee at that! LOL!!!

                                                                                                                                  3. i was really rooting for her too!

                                                                                                                                    1. Add me to the list of those upset that Tiffany left. It was pretty obvious early on, though, that hers was the worst, though that didn't soften the blow.

                                                                                                                                      I loved Anthony Bourdain in this, and in the extended JT when he told Eric Ripert, "You mean she (Kelly) cooked the way you would...." He seems much less full of himself these days. In the past, I thought he took himself too seriously, tried too hard to be the "bad boy" but he seems to have matured and isn't afraid to embrace/enjoy things.

                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                        Having a child will do that to you.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                          i was thinking that too phaedrus when folks said how much less snarky he is and how that must have been part of his contract... nah. think it's just mellowing with being a dad.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                            I was a little bummed with the kinder gentler Anthony. He had funny moments but I like his snarkiness. and the face time in general seemed really limited.

                                                                                                                                            As John mentioned, I too noticed Angelo double dip from the spoon.

                                                                                                                                            I was sad to see to Tiffany leave but the reactions of people to her going seem over the top ("Tony and Tom and all the rest can just kiss my lovely pink fundament."??). I guess I just don't think this season is as bad as everyone else. I don't feel invested in anyone really but still enjoy watching what goes on. Ah, it's almost done and I can then concentrate on Sons of Anarchy.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                              I thought he was cleverly funny but I would have liked to see more face time. I don't dislike his snarkiness but I always had the impression he worked too hard to conjure up the bad boy image. Either you are or you're not but it looked like he was trying too hard in the past.

                                                                                                                                              Yeah, I was sad to see Tiffany go, not too vested in any of them at this point but I don't like her as much as I liked Jen or the Volt bros or Stephanie or Richard or Kevin, etc. At this point, I don't think any remaining stands out as head and shoulders over the rest.

                                                                                                                                          2. Colicchio's blog is up.
                                                                                                                                            http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/seaso...
                                                                                                                                            It's short and mostly about Tiffany and astrophysicists.

                                                                                                                                            He also promises the best food of the season for the finale, which bodes well at least.

                                                                                                                                            14 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                              He also acknowledges the viewers thinking this was a weak season...but obviously, gives no opinion of his own. :-)

                                                                                                                                              "I know that some viewers have expressed disappointment with the season. I also know that we’re in for a very strong finale. The chefs cook some great food – the best food all season."

                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                I'm still confused from reading the blog why Tiffany went home. Her food was delicious but not sophisticated enough? Surely neither is Sirloin, I love cooking with it at home but for such an important challenge, it seemed out of place.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: elliora

                                                                                                                                                  I didn't read Tom's blog but from watching the episode, I think the skin on the bell peppers did her in. Did she also have 'mealy' tomatoes or was that Kelly?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                    I guess it was more confusing because the dishes were so close and at least on the episode they gave very few details. Her sauce was highly praised i thought, good sauce certainly gave Amanda a pass more than once.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: elliora

                                                                                                                                                      Good sauce gave amanda a pass when competing against obviously flawed dishes. The problem here was that Tiffany's competitors didn't have enough flaws. Kevin got called out for using sirloin (which he semi-convincingly claimed was a deliberate choice to remind a homesick astronaut of home grilled meals rather than restaurant fare). I don't think they found many other problems with his dish.

                                                                                                                                                      Here's the recipe - you can judge. As is typical (and sort of frustrating) the recipe has obviously been changed before posting, even now calling for NY strip.
                                                                                                                                                      http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipe...
                                                                                                                                                      You can decide whether that's likely pretty close to what he presented. But it doesn't look poorly conceived to me.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                        5lbs of bacon for 4 servings? I don't eat bacon but no wonder it tasted good! interesting how they changed it to NY strip, sirloin is good enough to get you to the finale but not for us viewers? I guess my frustration was in the lack of explanation. Tom just seems fickle sometimes, he seemed to fixate on Kevin making an American dish as somehow automatically being superior.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: elliora

                                                                                                                                                          I'm pretty sure that the 5 lbs of bacon (and the rest of the bacon-jalapeno 'marmalade') got splt far more than 4 ways. Just from looking at the composed plate (which is actually probably the closest representation of what he actually made).

                                                                                                                                                          The recipes they post rarely seem to match up to what was made in the episode. I'm sure some of that is just that the recipe is peiced together later, and people forget exactly what they did in the first place (I cook competitively myself - remembering exactly what you did in the heat of competition is tough). But there also seems to be cases where the printed recipe 'fixes' little problems with the original dish.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                          As is typical (and sort of frustrating) the recipe has obviously been changed before posting, even now calling for NY strip.
                                                                                                                                                          ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                          But that's what Kevin said he used - note in my OP that I was writing as it happened that I said "Kevin's up next with his strip steak. He gets good reviews on flavors; the crispy onions would be a challenge to keep crispy, says the head scientist."

                                                                                                                                                          It was Bourdain that said "This is Top Chef - sirloin? Really?" I'd have to go back and watch the episode to see if he actually bought sirloin but called it NY strip when he presented it.

                                                                                                                                                          As to elliora's comment - 5 lbs. of bacon, 3 onions, a head of garlic, 6 jalapenos and 1 cup of balsamic? That's an insane amount for the amount that was spooned on top of the beef!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                            And you see them grab the meat from the case in the episode and it looks like strip to me.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                              Ooh- good catch. I don't know for sure what he used originally.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                Could be it was strip all along. My point was not that Tiffany had the best dish, just looking for some more insight on what went wrong from someone who was doing so good. Also the lamb was supposed to be a duo, no mention of what happened there. I think because of time restrictions and general lack of food focus a lot of details get left out!

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                Oh and Linda despite people telling me how good bacon is, I still feel sorry for the person who follows that recipe!

                                                                                                                                                        3. re: elliora

                                                                                                                                                          <Surely neither is Sirloin, I love cooking with it at home but for such an important challenge, it seemed out of place.>

                                                                                                                                                          I disagree with you and Bourdain. It's not the cut of meat, but what you do with it...

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                            agreed. i happen to like sirloin. i'd prefer a good sirloin to a much less flavorful filet anytime.

                                                                                                                                                    2. At the end of a looooooong thread: I thought Tiffany was the best cook they've EVER had on that show. She had a bad-luck night. I think Angelo is the biggest asshole since Marcel. He lucked out. So they sent her home and gave him a car. I was in a roomful of people who were just as pissed as I was. We all gonna watch something else from now on, and Tony and Tom and all the rest can just kiss my lovely pink fundament.

                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                                                        LOL on kissing your lovely pink fundament, Will! ROFL!!!

                                                                                                                                                        But I'll have to disagree with you on Tiffany being the best cook they've ever had on TC. Seriously? While I would have liked having her in the finale, I think she's far from the best chef out of 7 seasons' worth of cheftestants. The top 4 from TC6 are far and away better than Tiffany, IMO, and Stephanie and Richard from TC4, Hung from TC3, hell - even Marcel from TC2 were better.

                                                                                                                                                        But I guess it's all a matter of personal opinion.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                          As an aside, Linda: have you been to Rocca to enjoy Tiffani Faison's cooking yet? It really is very very good.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                            Not yet, ChefJune. But I definitely want to try and make it there soon! Going to have to find someone to drag along with me. :-)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                              I was there a few weeks ago during Rest. Week, and on a Sun. so not the best times to judge. In addition, they had a special Sun. menu that didn't have all the choices that the RW menu had. It was decent, not great. Want to try the full menu at some point.

                                                                                                                                                        2. I was surprised Tiffany got the boot. Although I don't think her simple approach to food was ever going to win the overall prize. Not that I don't like that approach. I like the simple approach far more than the gourmet approach.

                                                                                                                                                          Ed and Kelly seem to be surging right now. Kevin is just not in the same league as the other three. He will be next.

                                                                                                                                                          Angelo will probably win overall but it depends on how popular Kelly is or becomes.

                                                                                                                                                          I still think that this show is, above all, about entertainment not cooking. The winners and losers and the order in which they lose is subject to what the producers think will produce the best ratings and the most drama. I don't think Ed is popular enough to win. Kevin will be leaving next. It is just a matter of whether selecting Kelley will create enough controversy to keep interest up or not.
                                                                                                                                                          I'm not trying to be cynical on this. They have made sure that the best cooks got to the finals. They created a bit of a stir with Tiffany leaving earlier than people thought she should have but her food wasn't ever going to take the final prize.

                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                            I'll make a prediction right now. Ed will win TC7. (I know, I know, it's easy to make a prediciton under circumstances like this).

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                              Certainly possible. I really don't think the audience wants Angelo to win. How that fits into the ratings game, I'm not sure.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                              Hank, you might want to read the entire thread - your "probably win" probably won't. :-)

                                                                                                                                                              And if the producers "made sure the best cooks got to the finals" (which, time and again, has been said that the producers *don't* have a say in who wins challenges), I'd think Kenny would have made it farther than Alex or Amanda. Not saying he's Final 4 level (although he started out promising), but if they're being eliminated based on competency, Alex should have left a LONG time ago.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                You know, I wish Tom was more injected in the chefs' growth. Isn't that what a mentor is supposed to do?

                                                                                                                                                                Project Runway doesn't pretend to forget past challenges...

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: julietg

                                                                                                                                                                  Nope. Tom's said in the past he's NOT a mentor, like Tim Gunn. He's a judge first, last and only.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                "Ed and Kelly seem to be surging right now."

                                                                                                                                                                Really?
                                                                                                                                                                nah - they have just been getting by as far as I see.
                                                                                                                                                                The only chef who was surging - was Tiffany! -

                                                                                                                                                              3. Interesting article re: replacing Ripert with Bourdain:

                                                                                                                                                                http://www.tvsquad.com/2010/09/02/why...

                                                                                                                                                                Although the article's writer is wrong about Ripert's biggest complaint about the baseball park episode - his biggest complaint wasn't Kevin's skewer length; it was Amanda's gray tuna tartare.

                                                                                                                                                                Yes, I'd love to see more of Bourdain. But I have to COMPLETELY agree with this commenter, collin:

                                                                                                                                                                "So this article is about why Anthony Bourdain is more charismatic than Eric Ripert and should be on Top Chef instead?

                                                                                                                                                                In not so many words, duh.

                                                                                                                                                                One chef is a great television personality and the other is a leader in his field. I can't argue the fact that some people would have difficulty understanding Ripert, so do as I do and turn on the closed captioning.

                                                                                                                                                                Anthony Bourdain was the Executive Chef at Les Halles for many years (in addition to being a successful author) and is now a television personality. He is perfect for the camera and his success reflects that.

                                                                                                                                                                Eric Ripert has a heavy French accent, yes. He is also a 3-Michelin Star and 4-NYTimes rated Executive Chef of Le Bernardin in NYC. He is one of the top seafood chefs in the country and his opinion matters to chefs in the industry.

                                                                                                                                                                Top Chef got Ripert as a judge because his credibility matters and if he complains about something, it's because he knows what he's talking about. I have an issue with the author's #2 point about Ripert's "complaining". If the subject were Padma instead of Eric, then I'd agree. But Ripert is a chef that is respected, and that's why on the show."

                                                                                                                                                                20 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                  Linda, Ripert is on to keep you and ghg titillated and drooling. :)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                    And to reiterate what the writer said but kinda-sorta in reverse:

                                                                                                                                                                    DUH! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                      clarification: i don't find Ripert nearly as drool-worthy as LW does, i've just learned to appreciate him as TC has progressed. though i've always had immense respect for him as a chef, i actually couldn't stand him early on! something about his demeanor just used to rub me the wrong way...but he grew on me.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                        Yet Ripert says things like minestrone needing to have pasta in it...

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                          it's pretty common. i would bet, even it italy, more has pasta than doesn't, but thats not based on empirical evidence of any sort

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                            Sure, many variations of minestrone have pasta in it. But the point is that it is NOT a requirement that there be pasta in it for it to be called "minestrone", as Ripert (and Colicchio) faulted Amanda for. Yes, Ripert and Colicchio are talented and respected chefs but their pronouncements (and personal palates and preferences) are not the Infallible & Pan-Universal Diktats of Deities as some people make them out to be.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                Are you saying that Colicchio abd Ripert and being Soup Nazis? :)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                  "Yes, Ripert and Colicchio are talented and respected chefs but their pronouncements (and personal palates and preferences) are not the Infallible & Pan-Universal Diktats of Deities as some people make them out to be."
                                                                                                                                                                                  ~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                  i didn't say they were. i said i had respect for Ripert as a chef. that's hardly deifying him.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                    OK.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I wanted to point out (to others, not necessarily you) that Ripert and Colicchio are not infallible, they can be wrong. As I mentiond above, one also ought to keep in mind that their personal taste may not represent the universal standard to judge all food by.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                      "Ripert and Colicchio are not infallible, they can be wrong."
                                                                                                                                                                                      ~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                      But has anyone said anything to the contrary, huiray? I respect Ripert and Colicchio, as ghg said. I make fun of "Ooh! that accent! Ooh! Those eyes! Ooh! Those lips and smile!" in relation to Ripert. But if his food sucked, I doubt I'd choose to eat at his restaurant (if I could afford it!), regardless of his accent and eyes. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                        Heh. Glad to hear you didn't completely fall for his batting his eyelashes at you. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                          Well, there's no teling what I'd do if that happened in person. Just sayin'. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                            He is certainly drool-worthy. But I also agree with all of Linda's points about why he's good to have on as a judge.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                                              Since he's not my type, how drool-worthy would EP be if he had a German accent and was a janitor?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                Sex appeal doesn't know ethnicity nor profession! ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Very. :-) And btw, while there are several accents that give men a drool-edge with me, the French accent is not one of them. It does not offend me, but it doesn't do anything for me either.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                              I'd like to see Jonathan Gold (from LA Weekly and Pulitzer Prize winner) be a perm judge.

                                                                                                                                                                              Ripert looks like the Venom character from Spider Man comics and Bourdain is what he is, some times his snarky act gets a bit old (he's right on the edge of jumping over the proverbial shark).

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                Bourdain's looking more and more like Herman Munster every day. In fact, with "Grandpa" Buzz Aldrin, "Lily" Lakshmi, etc..., they were a few cobwebs away from the original.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cabking

                                                                                                                                                                                  Absolutely agree. I also thought Eric Ripert looked kindof "doughy".

                                                                                                                                                                            3. A Top Chef aside - I watched "The Mistress of Spices"last night on one of the HBO channels while waiting for the Hurricane That Wasn't. It's a movie made in 2005, set in San Francisco, and starring a Bollywood female star (and former Miss World) and Dylan McDermott. And who played a small part as a spoiled young woman who didn't want to follow her family's Indian ways? Padma Lakshmi.

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. Tiffany Derry interview
                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.slashfood.com/2010/09/03/c...

                                                                                                                                                                                She says 3 levels of her fridge froze her mussels and herbs.

                                                                                                                                                                                Most of the rest was her food style and thought process.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. What's with all the Angelo hate on these boards? I don't get it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I guess I'm the only one rooting for him.

                                                                                                                                                                                  62 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                                                                                    He has made some funny comments but he has also said some real weird things too, some of them not too kind. (I don't like Kenny and the whole shrine and worship of chefs).

                                                                                                                                                                                    He 'helped' two other contestants and his 'help' got them sent home (Tamesha and Amanda).

                                                                                                                                                                                    He easily could have been a favorite, but he's not too likeable. Actually, this season Tiffany was the only likeable one of the bunch (Amanda didn't bother me, but the other chefs seemed to have no respect for her).

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                      i don't get why no one likes Ed. i mean he's not exciting. and frankly the dress scene walked the border of hilarious and disturbing (who knows what'd happen to me if you put me in a strange situation away from the real world) - but i missed it if he did anything really unlikable.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                        He's been needlessly scathing in interviews about some of his competitors. Specifically, Alex and Amanda. I know a lot of comments are prompted by producers and then heavily edited, but he seemed deliberately nasty about those two.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't know if bothers anyone else, but that's why I don't really like him.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                          The several times he bragged about 'banging' Angelo's girlfriend is what made me not care for him too much. If it were me in that situation and I was asked by the producers to talk about my competitors, I'd try to keep it positive and boring that way they wouldn't use it and make me look bad on TV. I think it's possible to be witty, clever and funny without bashing the other contestants. Self-deprecating humor would be better than the bashing.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                            fair enough both of you. must not be paying attention. i don't love him, he just seemed boring to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                              <The several times he bragged about 'banging' Angelo's girlfriend is what made me not care for him too much.>

                                                                                                                                                                                              Why do I think that was one comment played over and over and over by the elves?

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                            he did not get amanda sent home - she asked him if she could grind tuna in the grinder. he said yes, that he had done it, and gave tips how. it is a competition - it was her business not his to decide when to grind, and if that's a good approach or not

                                                                                                                                                                                            and tamesha, if i recall, was sent off for her dish being too overly spiced with long pepper, wasn't it?

                                                                                                                                                                                            not angelo's fault, was it?

                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                                                                                            Putting aside the fact that they probably edit him to make him appear to be an odd duck (at the very least), his own statements are pretty odd. He blamed his inlaws for his marriage failing because they didn't like his career choice this week. First of all, why is this information necessary to state out loud for the entire world to hear? He needs to be a little less TMI.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Manassas64

                                                                                                                                                                                              I call BS on the fact that he's been the one saying "not nice things" about people.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Has anyone even listened to this Kevin character?

                                                                                                                                                                                              He has some kind of serious envy over Angelo. He's been talking crap about Angelo in almost every single episode so far!

                                                                                                                                                                                              Seriously.. Kevin should have been gone a long time ago, and frankly, I'll be happy with any winner as long as it isn't him. He rubs me the wrong way and strikes me as a seriously jealous jackass.. I have all of the episodes archived on my PC and I watch them at my own leisure instead of watching them live on TV so I pick up alot of other little things, and to me, Kevin is more of an envious jerk than anyone else.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                                                                                                Just because Kevin has been talking smack about others does not mean that others are not also speaking ill of people themselves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Of course not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Still, I go by what has been edited into each episode to show to us. In my books, Kevin is a much more disagreeable cad and jerk, far more than Angelo. Angelo says weird stuff but I don't get that evilness from him that so many others are ascribing to him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                    You don't get the 'evilness from him that so many others are ascribing to him'. I don't know if evil is the word and I don't really care that much, but he did 'help' two other contestants to their demize (Tamesha and Amanda).

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tamesha - not persuaded about that case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Amanda - she asked him a specific question, he answered the question. Nothing he said was designed to send her home. It was her choice to grind the tuna and do it the day before.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ok, I'm not really an Angelo hater. I don't have that much emotion invested in any of them. That being said, Tamesha's whole, was a some kind of rhubarb sauce?, was really influenced by Angelo, at least what we saw on TV it appeared that way. As far as the tuna thing, it sure seemed to me that everyone knew the tuna shouldn't be cut up the day before and yet Angelo told her to do it that way. Sure, she didn't have to, but even Tiffany said they shouldn't be taking advice from him and questioned his motives. He just seems a bit slippery to me. That and I don't like the way he says 'with', how's that for petty?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Agreed. The Tamesha thing strikes me a too Machiavellian for Angelo. He might sabotage or play games against someone he doesn't like, but I don't buy him going out of his way to befriend someone just to betray them. More likely, Tamesha's dish was a failed collaboration where Angelo gave her some well-meaning but incomplete advice that hurt her dish but was unwilling to take over and make it what it needed to be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't buy Angelo as some evil mastermind. I think he's just a fairly competitive and mostly benign dork (I mean that in the charitable way).

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Competitive and dorky -- I can't argue. But weird is also right up there. Praying to the gods of cheffing. Talking about making love to everything he cooks. The Russian internet girlfriend. Just weird. He's not the first TC contestant that fits that category, but he sure stands out in this (albeit pretty boring) group.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            That and his "helping" people on the road to elimination is a little suspect. On TC Masters,there was areal collegiality and the contestants helped each other by actually helping each other. By the same token, it's pretty naive of them to accept "help" from someone who has a motive to see them gone, and I seem to remember some comments of his to that end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The saying "wit" instead of "with" is annoying and the Russian girlfriend thing did seem weird, especially when he kept saying I love you and she didn't say it back, haha.. But that doesn't really make him less likable as a competitor, for me. Whereas Kevin's blatant and constant annoying whining, complaining, and criticizing to the cameras (while being too gutless to do it to their face) is far more lame, IMO

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                weird is good. a great chef needs to be able to think outside the box

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Weird is not in and of itself good (see Fringe Festival, Bobcat Goathwait, etc...). In fact, Angelo's weirdness has hobbled him as much as it has inspried him, so I can't say I would want to eat his food on an off night of being weird.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cabking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    whats wrong with the fringe festival?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      yeah, i'd like to hear the answer to that one as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Read the original post. All weird is not good (or creative or interesting or artistic or full of inherent integrity or...), and the wide-ranging quality of the Fringe Festival is one of the clearest examples of this truth. Pieces range from insightful and fantastic to dreadful and utterly painful to watch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cabking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          weird is not the same as good. the point is that thinking outside the box, is a necessary component of creativity. As one improvisational musician once said "we step off a cliff every night. many nights we plummet to the the ground. but some nights we soar"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          weird is stepping off the cliff - sure if you don't step off you can't fall. but you also will never soar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I completely agree with this sentiment, thew. However, improvisational musicians, abstract artists and great chefs, amongst others, master basic techniques (scales and arpeggios, knife skills) or experiment intensely with new ones (molecular gastronomy, drip art) so there is some possibility of soaring once the cliff has been dismounted. Not sure if Angelo's inherent weirdness adds anything to his cooking--it seems unrelated (although he does have technique for sure). This is getting a bit off topic, so I'll stop here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yea, I guess you're probably right on the Tamesha thing because he seemed to like her and she probably screwed up the rhubarb sauce all on her own. However, he might have steered her into making a sauce she has never made before and that could have been the problem. I agree that Kevin seems to be whining a lot. I think in his case he needs the money real bad and he's more interested in the money than the title. I don't mean to say that past winners were only interested in the title, it just seems that he really wants the money.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i hope they fly in the russian bride for the finale

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "However, he might have steered her into making a sauce she has never made before and that could have been the problem."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    he might have also murdered his grandma, stole the sheep from their farm, and kissed her sister when no one was looking. but as we don't know that it's kinda silly to speculate it

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh come on, we saw him giving advice to Tamesha on making the sauce. We didn't see him murdering his grandma, steeling sheep or kissing her sister.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I saw him being helpful. that's all i'm saying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm no fan or defender of Angelo, but Tamesha ultimately made the choice of what she was going to make and how she was going to make it. Did he try to influence her? Probably. Her own fault for following his ideas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "However, he might have steered her into making a sauce she has never made before and that could have been the problem. "
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        right, but that's not Angelo's fault- Tamesha didn't have to follow his advice. it's like when Casey "convinced" Carla Hall to do something out of her repertoire for her finale dish - some people were so quick to point the finger at Casey and blame her for Carla's downfall, but it's not like she held a gun to her head and forced her to do it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the chefs are ultimately responsible for their own dishes, and if they don't have sufficient confidence in their own skills and instincts to execute *their* food, then they shouldn't advance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm not sure people are saying Angelo was responsible for Tamesha's downfall, just that they didn't like the strategy (if indeed it was his strategy to feed her bad ideas). Those are really two different things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                                                                                                          To me Angelo seems very smug, as if the default setting of the judges should be "angelo FTW".

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I much preferred Tiffanny's gratitude for what she won and that people liked her food, whereas Angelo is more condescending.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          YMMV

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Manassas64

                                                                                                                                                                                                              She's definitely not getting my vote. I'm baffled by the amount of love and praise she's getting on here, why are people so head over heels in love with her?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think it's all relative. Many of us are not really head over heels in love with anyone this season. She happens to be favorite of many here. She made good food. She came across as pleasant and intelligent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You're right about her relative appeal - she's talented, affable, game, and good natured in a season wherein her competitors typically have lacked at least one of those qualities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But beyond that...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  She also makes food that is a bit more familiar than that of some of her competitors (yeah, her flavors have been fairly global, but they've also been global classics that the average American would recognize) and espouses generally an 'it's all about the flavor' philosophy with respect to her cooking. Chefs of her style have often been popular with viewers, whereas viewers tend to dislike or mistrust trendier or more modern-leaning chefs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's a good point cowboyardee. This season, tho, none of the chefs have struck me as particularly interesting in terms of what or how they are cooking, so she doesn't appear as lacking for that as she might have in other seasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That said, I've never voted for fan favorite and certainly am not moved to do so this year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tiffany's food may lack the finesse that others have shown but how many times have we heard Coliccio say 'just make food that tastes good'?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't think the issue is really a finesse thing, because until this week, she didn't really lack finesse. She just isn't technique-forward in her cooking. I think people just like someone who is cooking things that they recognize or make versions of themselves and winning with those dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Personally, I generally lean towards chefs that are more technique-focused. As per the Coliccio quote, this week was a perfect example of why that is at least misleading - by all accounts, Tiffany's food tasted quite good. She was cut for a poor choice of garnish (mealy tomatoes - probably only added to give the visual contrast that mussels would have otherwise), a questionable but very minor detail in her pepper preparation, and questions as to whether her perfectly cooked fish had enough to do with the rest of her dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The best competitors who have been on Top Chef are working on more levels than taste alone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I liked Tiffany - she had a good attitude and seemed to have decent skills and flavors but to paraphrase Michael Voltaggio, that dish is what I cook at home. In fact, I think I made a coconut curry with fish recently.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Anyway, I also lean towards the technical guys. You have to be amazing at technique before you can go your own way. If you have that, you can go crazy with your personal style and stuff because the rest is automatic. That's what was great about last season, especially the brothers Voltaggio. They could really show you what they were about because there was never any problem with technical skills. They didn't have to worry about whether the proteins were cooked properly or the sauces properly done so they could really show their stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I remember being impressed when Hung recreated that Le Cirque dish almost effortlessly. Sure, you need to be able to do more than copy but it shows fundamental cooking knowledge. From there, you can do anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As for fan fave, unfortunately, we Canadians can't vote but I like Tiffany for that. She has the most mass appeal. She hasn't been a jerk to anyone and seems always upbeat. None of the others particularly appeal to me. I personally like Angelo but it seems like everyone thinks he's too weird. I don't disagree that he is definitely offbeat but I think foodwise, he is the only one whose food I might be interested in eating. Not saying I would make it a destination but next time I'm wandering around New York, I might stop in for that fish sandwich from episode 2.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My comment about taste was really about how she got as far as she did. She won a challenge making tamales. Was that the first time somebody won an elimination challenge on Top Chef with a Mexican dish?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                unless you include top chef masters :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think I know why so many people may be voting for her but I won't say it.. Personally she doesn't come across really as pleasant or intelligent to me, just loud I guess...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Quote: 'I think I know why so many people may be voting for her but I won't say it..'
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          _______________

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Awww, why tease us like that?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Because she's black? MIGHT be true for me ( I've been known to vote for my peeps) , but I think your'e wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              @duckdown: < "...just loud I guess..." >
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes she was.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I also still remember (with raised eyebrows) her cackling about possibly winning in Barack Obama City in the first episode. (Uhh...lady, the place is called Washington)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I didn't find her "loud'; but maybe it's in the eye of the beholder. I also didn't think she "cackled", but I love her dimples, quick smile, and the sense that she's always seemed about to "crack up". But I'm through.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Also didn't find her loud or to be a cackler. In fact, found her so not loud (or cackling) that I'm surprised others did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I found her to be loud, but in a fun and endearing way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: donovt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      yes, loud but in a fun way definitely. not loud and obnoxious like amanda way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If that's the assumption, I think it's just as bad of one as assuming the reason people don't like her is BECAUSE of it. I never found her loud and cackling at all. I can't remember an instance where she "cackled" or was loud.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I like her because she's a true competitor. She helps others and has said she wants to beat others when they're performing the best, compared to both Angelo and Kelly who've both said they want to win regardless. That, to me, is far more pleasant than the other contestants. The vote is about fan favorite, not best chef or best technique.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "The vote is about fan favorite, not best chef or best technique."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ____________

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You don't think the two are related at all? Hmmm. I doubt you'll ever see a fan favorite whose cooking skill isn't respected by their competitors. Stephen probably won't be getting many fan favorite votes this season, even though he seemed like a nice dude, just as Robin probably didn't get many votes last season. I have a hard time believing that cooking skill and style don't factor in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I never said they're not related. Of course, technique is a big part of it it but a person can have great technique but that doesn't mean the person is the best chef. If it were ONLY about technique, those first challenges, on who could dice/slice the fastest would determine the win. And, even more so, we can't taste the food so we're not having the essential component on judging. Can we sitting at home say whose food tasted best? We're not voting for best chef because we have no idea. But, we do know who our favorite is. Personality does play a big part of it, as long as the person has good technique, not necessarily the best, as in your example of Stefan who I think came off as arrogant, not a nice guy. Possibly the most skilled that season but not the fan favorite. Robin was neither like-able not seemed to cook well. And, wasn't it Fabio who won fan favorite, despite not doing as well as many of the other chefs? Ultimately, it's not just technique, but also personality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "If it were ONLY about technique, those first challenges, on who could dice/slice the fastest would determine the win."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ____
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't think you and i mean the same thing when we say "technique." I refer to something much more encompassing than knife skills. And though I cannot taste the food, I can state with a semi-educated opinion whose cooking techniques will lead to well-developed flavors just from watching the show and reading their posted recipes. If the cooking on Top Chef was really that inscrutable, we may as well just go watch Big Brother so the drama wouldn't be obscured by all the pesky food-talk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You'll hear no argument out of me that personality is irrelevant. Of course it matters quite a bit. I objected to the notion that skill doesn't matter to fans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Above, I noted that chefs who cook skillfully in a certain style tend to be popular with viewers. My best case in point - how did Stephanie win fan fav on season 4? Richard Blais was killing it that season, he was a super nice guy, everyone in the house seemed to like and respect him. But his food was less approachable, and that seems to drive some people away. Andrew was much funnier and more entertaining. But he didn't quite have her skill, and people like to vote for contenders. Stephanie was the perfect balance of likable, skilled, and cooking in a familiar style.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tiffany has the same sort of characteristics. She's a shoo-in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's definitely a combination of all the above. As technique goes, I think it also encompasses the skills needed to develop flavors, etc, which I thought was Jen's strength last season. Overall, I think once a contestant has shown he/she is savvy in the kitchen, other factors come into play, predominantly personality. I agree that Tiffany is a shoo-in this season. I also think she's up against some more unlikeable characters this season. I like her but not as much as I liked other contestants in the past. I'm kind of meh about this whole season, both cooking and style. This is like Stefan's season to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm not black and I voted for Tiffany but didn't vote for Obama.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Discuss.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Seriously, the fan favorite vote is actually a good indicator for marketing folks because that is where the endorsement deals come from. Fabio is making a killing on endorsements. His face is plastered in various ads over every cooking magazine I get.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fan Favorite in some ways I feel is even more lucrative than winning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Manassas64

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            im jewish and did just the opposite

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I am so tired of defending Stefan, but ity seems in order AGAIN.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Re-watch the season, you will see Stefan's soft, warm hearted and extremely caring side emerge toward the end of the season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cocky?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        but "not a nice guy"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        NO

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. I also was really bummed to see Tiffany go - I liked her to win the whole season. She was so strong and consistent and was so often in the top. Her food never struck me as boring - and in fact, well-executed comfort food is kind of Tom Colicchio's thing, so I thought she had that going for her. However, it seemed very clear that she had a bad night, and if body of work can't be taken into consideration, then it was a fair decision.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I did think that Angelo's short ribs looked amazing, even if his description of them was incomprehensible!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Sorry - a few of my comments have been redundent, but after reading throught the entire thread- I want to comment on 2 things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A) I am surprised there was only one comment about yet another pea puree this season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          B) Did anyone notice Ed's rather cold reaction to Tiffany getting the boot?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I did!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          They were meant to be pretty tight - and his quick hug to her was very noticiable!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In my mind it means - either they had a falling out -
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          OR they definitely had an affair and he didnt want it to be so obvious so he kept the g'bye short!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Just speculating!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "B) Did anyone notice Ed's rather cold reaction to Tiffany getting the boot?"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No, but I did think it was...restrained.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "They were meant to be pretty tight - and his quick hug to her was very noticiable!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What does "meant to be pretty tight" mean?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "In my mind it means - either they had a falling out -
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            OR they definitely had an affair and he didnt want it to be so obvious so he kept the g'bye short!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No other choices? Really? I'm thinking they enjoyed each others company, but that was not why they were there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              No need to get snarky!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i said I was just speculating - having a bit of fun! Jeeeeez.................

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              and I will repeat myself - the two had a close relationship at one point,, so yes, the quick g'bye signified something to me. Either one of the 2 things I mentioned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Nelly, I think they were just friends with like-minded ideas on cooking and that was it. Tiffany really doesn't seem like the type to have cheated on her fiance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah I agree, and I doubt it could really be done anyway in a house full of people...but think back a few episodes - Ed was positively GLOWING any time he spoke of her.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This was in complete contrast to his demeanor when she got the boot.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was expecting him to have tears in his eyes, and he was more llike "eh too bad"!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We see what the editors want us to see. So they probably fabricated the "crush" that Ed had on Tiffany as they were working closely together, and things were said that could be construed as crush-like. And they probably had enough other footage of others saying goodbye to her. At that point, the pretend crush is a moot point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      maybe he was mad at getting shut down

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LOL! Now that's got a high probability of being true - after all, he's talked often enough about what a man-whore he seems to be. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LOL thew!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes! i think thats more what I was thinking -when I said they "had a falling out"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i guess I expected people to read between the lines there!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thats the more likely scenerio!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Exactly Linda!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sorry! I will have to look up "snarky"! Thought I could have fun too... oh well...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    okay, looked it up.I like this one;

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "A witty mannerism, personality, or behavior that is a combination of sarcasm and cynicism. Usually accepted as a complimentary term. Snark is sometimes mistaken for a snotty or arrogant attitude."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I just watched the end of this episode again and the judges' table. I didn't find Ed to be 'rather cold' with Tiffany at all. He was the first of the three that didn't win and didn't get the boot to go back to the stew room. He gave her a hug, rubbed her back and let the others in to giver her a hug goodbye. That's all they showed. What was 'rather cold' about that? He was being a good guy by letting the others say goodbye. What should he have done differently?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Apparently he should have had " tears in his eyes". (smile)