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Top Chef - D.C. - Finale, Part 2 (Ep. #14) - 09/15/10 (Spoilers)

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Now's the time to say goodbye, to all our family......Oh wait - wrong show. :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~

Here we go - the finale! We have Angelo, Ed, and Kevin duking it out to win TC7. And Padma asks to see all three back at JT...and there's a knife block to pick from! Padma's going to announce the challenge tonight - 4 course meal - a veggie course, a fish course, a meat course (Tom and Eric will choose their protein choices), and then Gail says they MUST make a dessert course.

Of course, they get help - former TC winners: Hung Huynh, Michael Voltaggio, and Ilan Hall.

Ed gets Ilan; Kevin gets Michael (with whom he's worked before and is friends), and Angelo gets Hung. Angelo's sick and goes to bed. Michael, Hung and Ilan tell Ed and Kevin to stay true to themselves; don't go crazy, don't do anything new - do what they know.

In the a.m., Angelo's still not up - he's REALLY sick - he's talking with eyes closed to the camera confessional. They bring in a doctor to see him. He's been in bed all day and hopefully resting through the night will help him.

Oooh - previews show Ed getting a bit ticked off at Ilan while shopping. "You ARE my sous chef, aren't you?" :::::Zing!::::: :-)

(Posting this part a bit early because somehow either a Firefox update has screwed up the font size of the typing box OR Chowhound's updated the site and it's now super-teeny-tiny and I can't read it...at least in edit mode, it's in a god-awful Courier font, but at a size I can read it.)

And we're back - back in the kitchen and Tom explains that Angelo is STILL sick. Hung will be on the phone with Angelo who will give him instructions on what to prep. Hung has someone else to help him prep. If Angelo's feeling well enough, he'll cook. If not, they'll figure it out.

Proteins: Rouget (what was supposed to be featured), Mullet, Cuttlefish, Skate, and Lobster for seafood, Duck (what was to be featured) and Pork Belly for meats. (I may have added a few seafood choices in there, based on what I saw they were making. Not sure if they got any additional proteins from the restaurant's kitchen in which they're cooking/serving.)

And they're off to shop! Hung's probably the best person for Angelo to have as a sous - really helpful during the shopping.

And back in the kitchen, Hung scores all the foie for Angelo. He's seriously the same whirlwind he was in his own season getting stuff prepped! Doctor's back in Angelo's room, giving him a shot of antibiotics in the butt, and Angelo misses Hung's phone call. But the doctor is warning Angelo that it would be rare for him to be 100% during service tomorrow; more likely within 2-3 days or worst case, up to a week. Not looking good for Angelo!

Angelo's looking a bit better in the morning; and doc said he's well enough to cook. Better wash your hands a LOT, Angelo, so you don't make anyone else sick! :-)

They have 3 hours to prep at the Jim Thompson Restaurant. Kevin at least wants Angelo to bring it vs. Ed who wishes he was still too sick to cook. Ed's still got that "Angelo is my toughest competition; it would have been cool if it was just me and Kevin." Ugh.

Michael teased Kevin: "I like the old days Kev where I prepared the fish and YOU pulled the bones out." :-)

Both Kevin and Angelo note to the camera confessional that they want to keep it simple, but Ed tends to have too many ingredients on his plate.

I notice that Angelo's wearing gloves the entire prep time. No washing his hands needed other than rinsing the gloves when needed. Smart.

The guest judges are Eric Ripert, Seetoh, Dana Cowin, Paul Bertolotta, David Chang, Vincent Bourdain of Valrhona, Andre Chiang, a chef now based in Singapore, and Siu-Lyn Tan, a food author. Also Vincent Bourdain, pastry consultant for Valrhona, and Susan Feninger.

And it looks like all three might have broken the Top Chef Curse of the Desserts - it seems like those tasting the desserts liked most or all of them!

And we're back to Judges Table - Ed's Roasted Duck Neck dish was very well received. But hmmm...interesting response Ed has to Tom Colicchio re: his dessert (Tom said he could get it at home, and Ed said he could have made a Lemon Curd but really screwed it up and what was he going to do?)

Kevin's Singapore Sling's dessert was VERY well received and one of the diners had said he just invented the country's new dessert. :-) (Yes, I know that comment's out of order in which it came, but I just remembered it.)

Vegetable Course - seems to go to Ed.
Seafood Course - not really sure who won this one.
Meat Course - seems to go to Ed.
Dessert Course - Either Angelo or Kevin won this one.

Based on what we've heard, it *sounds* like it's going to be Ed that wins? (And that might jive with the rumors that he's NOT in Top Chef All-Stars too.) And the phone poll shows that most people (49%) want Ed to win as well.

Preview of the Reunion - we find out the TRUTH about the Pea Puree! LOL

OK - back to JT...WHOA! Kevin actually WINS it! I guess him resigning from The Rat Restaurant was foretelling him winning! But what a rather uneventful announcement of the winner. Ugh - this season sits right with TC2 and TC5 when it comes to winner, IMO. Bleah.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Well, folks - my self-appointed job here is done. It's been fun. Hope you've enjoyed it, too. Someone else can pick up the TC: Just Desserts write-ups, 'kay? ;-)

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  1. I know we knew Ilan would be there, but now that the episode is on, I found myself offended. Someone gets Michael. Wow!!! Someone gets Hung. What skill!! And someone gets Ilan, who, if it weren't for Hosea, would be the least deserving Top Chef winner ever. Hrmph. Makes me think about rooting for Ed, even though I turned on the episode rooting for no one in particular.

    9 Replies
    1. re: debbiel

      I am totally with you - Ilan is only slightly more interesting than Hosea. and both are at the bottom of the Top Chef barrel.

      1. re: debbiel

        When I saw the sous chefs assigned, I told my brother that whoever had Michael would win. Seriously, that guy is in another league. Oh, and I also told him that whoever had Ilan was destined to fail.

        1. re: soypower

          Really! I think even I could win is I had Michael V! lol

        2. re: debbiel

          Ed admits he was disappointed to draw Ilan:
          http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/seaso...

          Also in that clip, Kevin said he could have won with Michael V or Hung as a sous.

          To be fair, it didn't look like Ilan screwed anything up for Ed. I just don't think he has the skill to be as helpful as Hung or Michael V could be and likely were.

          1. re: cowboyardee

            What's also funny is that in Tom's blog, Tom addresses how the Voltaggio-Kevin pairing and the Angelo-Hung pairing weren't that much of an advantage. I noticed that he declines to comment on the Ilan-Ed pairing. He also says that Ed's dessert would have been fine for mid-season, not the finale. I think that was Ilan all the way as he's got that on his menu at Gorbal's. I'm really surprised that Ed gave him full reign with dessert, especially after it appeared that Ed was ordering Ilan around.

            1. re: Miss Needle

              I'd say it's Ed all the way, even though Ilan serves the dish at his restaurant. Ed's decision. Ed's mistake. It's a shame for him, though.

              1. re: debbiel

                I meant that it was Ilan's dessert without any of Ed's influences. Totally agree with you that it was Ed's fault for letting Ilan take the dessert. He should have tried his lemon curd dessert than letting Ilan make a sticky date toffee pudding. It wasn't really appropriate in this situation.

                I'm glad that Ed did not listen to Ilan about the corn course. I don't want to think about what the judges would have said if they were presented with corn slathered with some herb butter.

                1. re: Miss Needle

                  Well it was Ed's idea to sea salt the cream but that got mixed reviews.

          2. re: debbiel

            I love it...no one wants Ilan.

          3. Michael V. and any one of the chefs in competition should be fierce. Angelo must be dying not to be at the market. Hung is seems to be doing a good and responsible job.

            1. Does anyone feel like they should have postponed the cooking until Angelo was better? It's not the poor guys fault he got sick....

              70 Replies
              1. re: HungryRubia

                No. I don't think they should delay. Things happen. Life sucks sometimes. But what championship for anything gets delayed because someone is ill?

                1. re: HungryRubia

                  Do you know what a delay would have cost Bravo? They are spending thousands of dollars a day producing this competition in Singapore. There is no way they could have delayed it.

                  1. re: John E.

                    Project Runway had a sick finalist and she ended up leaving before the finale I think. And she was only touching clothing, not food. LOL

                  2. re: HungryRubia

                    In season 1, LeeAnne Wong was sick with the flu as they went into the Las Vegas finale (she even got the same antibiotic shot in the butt), which she blamed for hurting her performance and knocking her out of the finale. (They didn't put her illness in the show, but she talked about it in interviews after.) I think if chefs get sick, it's kind of tough luck for them. At least Angelo was able to cook when it counted, and he was really lucky to have someone as fast and organized and calm under pressure as Hung.

                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                      Didn't Jen from last season fall I'll as well? Flu IIRC.

                      1. re: isadorasmama

                        Eli claims on this weeks blog that Michael V. had a fever of 104 during the Bocuse D'Or challenge and that they considered calling him an ambulance.

                      2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                        Lee Anne Wong had already been eliminated from the competition by the time they went to Las Vegas. She was a sous chef for Harold at the final. If she had the flu in Las Vegas, it didn't affect her status.

                        1. re: 512window

                          You're right; I misremembered the timeline, as in S1, they didn't take the final 4 to the finale and eliminate one, they took the final 3 and eliminated one, leaving the final competition between two. At any rate, LeeAnne has said that in the episode where she was eliminated, leaving Harold, Tiffani, and Dave in the finale, she had the flu and it affected her sense of taste, her explanation for why her cooking was off. She was sick while competing, and the show didn't cut her slack for it, which is what my post was about.

                      3. re: HungryRubia

                        I know this is late to the conversation, but oh well. When they first advertised that they were going to Singapore, I thought, "Someone's going to get sick." And I sort of wished they did postpone it. Yes production costs a lot, but when traveling abroad there are usually some built in flex days to accommodate for unforeseen events (delayed flights, lost bags, etc.). Probably the most inflexible thing was that one of the main judges had to leave for another engagement.

                        With that said, I did find it a bit reckless to take them abroad. I don't think it was really that necessary to crown a champ. And then they showed up jet lagged and were immediately put into a challenge. Fatigue, jet lag, stress and new foods increase the risk substantially of some getting ill. And if I remember correctly, they had them cooking with unknown ingredients where the signs weren't even in English so many of them were having to taste them as-is just to figure out the flavors. I imagine the cheftestants were smart enough to not taste ingredients that needed to be cooked but a situation where they are all fingering a lot of uncooked products (some of which needed to be cooked) was probably not the most sanitary situation.

                        Regardless, I have travelled a lot outside of Europe and North America, and getting sick is not that uncommon after long plane rides, going into a different food culture, and being exposed to different bugs.

                        I was no fan of Angelo, but I think if the contest had factored out those 'sickness/weakness' variables the competition would have been different.

                        1. re: smkit

                          I don't know why they couldn't have waited one more day for Angelo to get better. It's worth a few dollars.

                          1. re: Brian S

                            Because it would have increased production costs by tens of thousands of dollars.

                            1. re: John E.

                              it's worth it to have a fair contest

                              1. re: Brian S

                                Unless, as others have pointed out, it goes on and on and on as others get sick. This just isn't done in competition. Sometimes life isn't fair. If Top Chef finales were our biggest fairness issues, we'd be in pretty damned good shape.

                                1. re: Brian S

                                  To John E.: No, it's not about production costs.

                                  To Brian S.: It would have been UNfair to postpone the final meal.

                                2. re: John E.

                                  I have worked abroad for big organizations and I don't buy the production cost argument. You build flex into the budget when you do things abroad, and they willingly took on a huge additional cost to bring the competition to Singapore. They could have done it in New Orleans or Vancouver and saved much much more. Cost was not an issue -- they wanted foreign 'bling' to make the show sexy.

                                  I do think there is some merit in saying a competition is a competition and if someone is sick -- so goes it. But even olympic and sports athletes don't fly over several timezones and go right into a challenge/game, and the coaches wouldn't want them to do that. But the drama of Top Chef is not the same as a coach's management I guess.

                                  I just think the format was a bit poorly thought out. This season was a horrible season, and the challenges were gimmicky -- as was the finale location. Hey...let's take it to Singapore...that would be cool.

                                  If I were a cheftestant I would have gone over a week ahead of time to settle my body down. But then again, they probably didn't give them that opportunity.

                                  In the end, it was a poor season. Maybe I am just pissed that they made me feel sorry for Angelo. Just kidding...sort of.

                                  1. re: smkit

                                    I know many athletes who travel several time zones and go right into the challenge. It's why home field advantage is so important. People don't have the resources if they're not professional (and Olympians at this point are, with sponsorships). All the cheftestants had the same challenge of that. But, regardless, the Olympics go on, whether someone gets sick.

                                    As cost goes, the trip to Singapore was budgeted; holding off production (and everyone else involved probably had lives to go back to) was not. I agree that the show is gimmicky; it's TV. But, I thought the Singapore part was interesting and I loved seeing the street food. At least they didn't have the run off to another Whole Foods to buy their ingredients.

                                    Do you think they should have postponed the final four when Kelly cut her hand and was bleeding everywhere? That was an unfair disadvantage, too.

                                    1. re: chowser

                                      Of course I wouldn't postpone anything for a cut hand. That is a common enough event in a kitchen and no one would ever suggest to taking it to that extreme. Regardless, chowser I do agree with you that they all had the same risk of that it was probably better that they didn't postpone. I was just thinking...and sometimes that doesn't work...

                                      Your point is made. I think I was just so disappointed with this season, that that sickness issue just seemed to rob the show of its last bit of true competition, and a lot of the footage was wasted dealing with Angleo's state of being (and not food).

                                      1. re: smkit

                                        I agree about wasted footage--I think there was far too little cooking this season and far too much other stuff. Did we need to see Angelo get a shot in the bottom? A resounding no. Please show more of how Hung did the job of two chefs in one day.

                                        1. re: chowser

                                          Chowser, that is a huge part of what was wrong with this season. Too little cooking. And the shot in the bottom was very representative of that issue.

                                        2. re: smkit

                                          I also agree about the wasted footage on Angelo's shot, et al. But I think the elves found it important to show us that he was REALLY quite sick.

                                          I guess I'm a minority of one around here, but I personally found this season quite interesting. I wasn't looking for another "Season 6." Every season is different, and although I thought the food got off to kind of a slow start, I thought the characters were pretty interesting, and the food definitely improved as the season went on.

                                          How come no one has made any mention at all of the Reunion show? Or didn't anyone else watch?

                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                            When was it on? I think my DVR misses these episodes.

                                            I think you are right that the show and food got better. It seemed to coincide when Kenny left and the producers were able to let that Kenny-Angelo drama die.

                                            The thing I didn't care for this season was not so much the characters, but I felt there were too many group cooking challenges and on some shows they hardly even mentioned what some of the people were cooking.

                                            Also, in the past some of the cheftestant dishes inspired me to cook something similar or try new things, but this season with food taking the back seat a lot of the time, I didn't get that same feeling. Buy hey, they won the Emmy.

                                            1. re: smkit

                                              hey, they won the Emmy.
                                              ~~~~~~~~~
                                              I'm pretty sure they won the Emmy for LAST season - which would be appropriate, considering the caliber of chefs on TC6.

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                You are exactly right on that point. I didn't mean to imply that they won it for this season. Season 6 was a great one to watch.

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  I'm pretty sure they won the Emmy for LAST season - which would be appropriate, considering the caliber of chefs on TC6.
                                                  ______________________________

                                                  The quality of the cooking has little bearing on the decision to award the Emmy to Top Chef. It's more about editing, selection of story lines, etc.

                                                  The previous winner in this category -- The Amazing Race -- was winning regardless of whether the contestants were good or not. It was about storyline and editing -- really, it was almost all about the editing given that it was a reality based series.

                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                    Yes, I'm aware of that. I'm just glad that they DID win for TC6 vs. TC5 *because* of the caliber of the chefs in TC6.

                                              2. re: ChefJune

                                                The reunion show was the following Wed., but played a lot earlier in the evening (at least it did on the West Coast). i caught it on a rerun. It was ok. the editing on that show is so blatant and choppy as to make it uncomfortable to watch. the reactions they try to make match with what someone said - it always seems so fake. anyway, glad to hear that Tiffany (this season) is going to be on next season's top chef allstars. and the pea puree debacle was settled. Amanda saw Alex make the puree, and Kelly saw him with the peas too, said they were bad peas, but nevertheless he used them in his puree. I totally thought he'd stolen them.

                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                  That's it. If I can take one thing home from this season it is pea puree...ok, and scandal/infighting, and Angelo's derriere too. But I choose the puree. I am setting a personal goal to make a pea puree this week so I can focus on something other than -- well -- those other things. I don't know what I am going to pare it with, but pea puree it is...

                                                  k.

                                                  1. re: smkit

                                                    did you make one? i've made a pea puree with a hint of mint and a fat seared scallop on top - yum...

                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                      Not yet. I have some lamb chops de-thawing that I am going to pare it with. Been too busy so far. Maybe Friday.

                                                      1. re: smkit

                                                        I can't help it. If you're 'de-thawing' lambchops, does that mean you've put them back into the freezer?

                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                          Good point, you caught me there.

                                                          Now I have to go put them back in the freezer just to prove I am right. ; )

                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                            LOL! I was *this* close to asking the same question of smkit! :::vbg:::

                                                        2. re: mariacarmen

                                                          Ok, I made the pea puree. It turned out great, and I was amazed at how easy it was. It only took about 15-20 minutes in all. I topped the puree with roasted cauliflower florets and some grated parmesan, and it accompanied my 'thawed' lamb chops. The minty puree was a nice combo with the lamb.

                                                    2. re: ChefJune

                                                      I was also surprised not to see any mention of the reunion. I always feel bad for those people who left early and are basically just sitting there with nothing to do. I thought it was interesting that people still didn't believe Alex didn't steal the puree even tho two people saw the peas and/or puree.

                                                      And I know I can google it, but who won the fan favorite? It didn't show on that episode and was supposed to be the next nite I guess, which was stupid, but I didn't see it or any repeats of that airing.

                                                      1. re: Joanie

                                                        I just had to go Google it, because I couldn't find it on Bravo's website.

                                                        http://www.pegasusnews.com/news/2010/...

                                                        Tiffany won. No surprise. So winning $10K for Fan Fave, plus $20K in two previous EC wins, she didn't do too poorly in the money department! LOL

                                                        ETA: I love love LOVE seeing Anthony Bourdain's mug at the top of the Bravo Top Chef website showing the judges for TCAS. :-)

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          And don't forget the trip to Paris.

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            Hmmm, I thought on the reunion show that they didn't announce fan favorite but were holding it for a future episode or something? Did they announce it somewhere? I assumed Tiffany won--who else might have?

                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                              They announced it on "Watch What's Happening" the following night. LIVE! Haven't the foggiest idea of when that show is on, but they have to give that WWH Bravo VP something to do other than host these reunion shows, I guess, so he had a separate show that included the Fan Favorite.

                                                              And Joanie - didn't Tiffany win another trip other than Paris? For some reason, I have it stuck in my brain that she had a "choice" of honeymoon spots. But maybe someone else won a trip?

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                I think she was hoping to win the trip to London too (and they showed a little clip of her saying it would be geat to tack that on to her Paris trip) but someone else won that; I believe it was Angelo.

                                                                1. re: DGresh

                                                                  That's it - thanks for the reminder, DGresh.

                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                  IIRC, Ed won the London trip, but that ep had an interview with Tiffany saying "Since I'm already going to Paris, it'd be nice to do London while I'm over there!"

                                                                  1. re: momjamin

                                                                    Top Chef geek that I am I had to check; apparently it was Angelo who won the trip to London:

                                                                    From http://rocknrollghost.com/2010/09/02/...
                                                                    "Alas the free London trip goes to wouldn’t you know it…Angelo."

                                                                    1. re: DGresh

                                                                      Thanks -- I often check, somehow missed your upthread exchange w/Linda, and mostly just remembered Tiffany's hopes that didn't happen here.

                                                    3. re: smkit

                                                      How big do you think Magical Elves is?

                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                        That's an interesting question. Here's their website: http://www.magicalelves.com/home.html

                                                        And here's an article that calls them "small and scrappy": http://www.multichannel.com/article/8...

                                                        And later within that article: "The company has a core staff of about 20 people, but with “permalancers,” the company can have from 80 to 200 people working on shows, according to Cutforth." That's a pretty small company, IMHO.

                                                      2. re: smkit

                                                        Unfortunately, TC no longer has drama or suspense (heretically, even though it is a much worse show, I think that Hell's Kitchen was more suspenseful this season than TC). TC does have surprise, yes, based on a lot that is unseen and not spoken (at least until the Bravo.com extras and blog postings). If they win the Emmy this year for anything, it'll be because it was the least bad TV show, not because they have done anything well.

                                                        1. re: cabking

                                                          personally, i am glad for no drama. i like watching them come up with great dishes, not watching the infighting (which just makes me cringe). i even hate the use of editing to make it LOOK like some real drama went on! i think most agree this was a bad season, but i'm still looking forward to future seasons.

                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                            It is the drama of the cooking to which I was referring. There is not enough cooking shown, and what is shown is often intentionally deceptive through editing or deceptive by omission, at least until the extra judge's table videos or Tom's magically informative blog postings. In agreement with you, mariacarmen, I also do not enjoy the "drama for drama's sake", but do enjoy the suspense of finding out if what looks like the best dish will win. Too often this season, it was not possible to tell based on what was presented; hence, more a "gotch ya" type surprise than well documented and presented suspense based on the purported core competancies of the show.

                                                    4. re: Brian S

                                                      Because it's a competition and you need to be able to compete, regardless. They don't hold any competitions, Olympics or whatever, until all the competitors are at top form.

                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                        +1. If they are sick, lose their knife roll, don't get the order they placed with a vendor - they have to "make do" and deal with it. Just like in any kitchen.

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          Yep, like when Kelly cut her hand and was dripping blood everywhere until she put on the gloves, they didn't postpone it until she was better. I'm wondering if the other contestants/helpers got sick after the competition. I watched Angelo shaking hands with them all before heading to bed and thought, "Noooo..." If they held it for Angelo, and others then got sick, it could be a long time before filming.

                                                        2. re: chowser

                                                          Well said Chowser.

                                                        3. re: Brian S

                                                          I don't know why the Olympic committee didn't hold off on that Gold Medal match because one of the competitors was sick. Makes no sense to me...

                                                          1. re: Brian S

                                                            I just googled heavyweight boxing postponed illness, and got tens of matches that were postponed by one of the competitors being ill, including one postponed because Mike Tyson had diarrhea. (The sick competitor did not forfeit, the match was rescheduled to a later date.) If "Top Chef Finale" isn't like heavyweight boxing, what is it like?

                                                            1. re: Brian S

                                                              the olympics. the super bowl. wimbledon finals. the US open. the masters.

                                                              1. re: Brian S

                                                                I'm guessing that has a lot more to do with money than it does with fairness.

                                                                1. re: Brian S

                                                                  Heavyweight boxing is nothing like Top Chef. If they chose two competitors to have a cookoff, and didn't start with 18, and one of them was sick, then I guess you would be correct. Top Chef could be compared to Olympic boxing and if one of the boxers gets sick at the Olympics, tough cookies for him.

                                                                  1. re: Brian S

                                                                    The difference with professional (not amateur or Olympic) boxing is that there is a Champ and a Challenger.

                                                                    The Champ has the title belt (e.g. WBC Heavyweight Title, etc.). The Challenger wants that belt / title.

                                                                    If the Champ refuses to fight, they don't fight.

                                                                    If the two sides can't agree on a specific date to fight, they don't fight.

                                                                    Professional boxing is sort of like mating. Male and female both have to be feeling "it" to get it on.

                                                                    Top Chef -- and every other type of competitive sporting event -- is not set up that way. Sick during the day of a marathon? Tough. Break an ankle before Game 7 of the NBA Finals? Sucks for you, and your team. You get the idea.

                                                                    Capiche?

                                                                  2. re: Brian S

                                                                    Because if they did that and someone else got sick, they could have been there indefinitely. But I'm guessing the real reason is that there are people involved who have other commitments. You can't have not only a whole production crew, but professionals like Tom and Gail and Eric Ripert and Michael Voltaggio taking extra days out of their busy schedules to wait until everyone is in top form.

                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                      That contingency is almost certainly written into everyone's contracts.

                                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                                        But probably not for things like one of the contestants not feeling well. Strikes, disasters, etc. but not "does Angelo feel up to cooking."

                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                          It's one thing to have the flu, but I do wonder if he had to be hospitalized, what would happen? For instance, if he had appendicitis and had to be hospitalized for 5 days or so...would that stop production or would it just be tough cookies for Angelo?

                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                            I would think if someone couldn't perform, then they'd either do w/out or bring in the last eliminated contestant who could make it.

                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                              Shoot - that means Tiffany could have competed. :-)

                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                hahaha LW, i know you didn't mean it this way, but it sounds like you're saying "if only Angelo would have been sick enough to hospitalize"!! ( :

                                                                                I loved Tiffany too...

                                                                                edit: oh wait, just saw your smiley face - you did mean it that way! love it.

                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                  :-D

                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                    But wouldn't Kelly have come back first?

                                                                                    1. re: bear

                                                                                      I'm just joking around. Yes, she probably would have come back before Tiffany. I think I would have preferred either.

                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                        I didn't see it, but in the first season there was a chef that got eliminated twice. She got eliminated in the second elimination challenge and then in the third episode somebody had to leave because of an ill family member, she came back and got eliminated again a few episodes later.

                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                          I do remember that. That was Andrea, who was brought back after Cynthia left the show because her father was ill. I think Andrea was the holistic foods chef.

                                                              2. Can you imagine if Angelo had gotten Ilan? I'm guessing the shot does Angelo well and he's back in it next day.

                                                                1. Hung is a monster. Angelo is lucky he needed his speed and prep skills. Ilan is just anoying. Michael V rocks as always.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: chris2269

                                                                    I think you perfectly described all three sous chefs! LOL

                                                                  2. Hmm...on Ed's attitude. I guess I read that as sort of deadpan sarcasm. I didn't sense that he really wished Angelo would stay sick.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: debbiel

                                                                      I would hope not. True, his humor IS rather deadpan. And I did hear Angelo throw a remark back at Ed in the kitchen when Ed asked if he was still sick...Angelo responded "I'm sick of your attitude." :-)

                                                                      1. re: debbiel

                                                                        I don't know. Ed seemed extra super-doucebaggy in this episode. I understand that his humor is acerbic, but perhaps it started getting on the nerves of the other chefs in the kitchen. Did anyone notice that when Ilan was joking with Hung? Ed tried to get in on it, Ilan pretty much cut him off.
                                                                        Rewatching the episode, Ed was critical of the dessert he tasked Ilan to do. He questioned it. Why would you send it out if you didn't like it? Perhaps he should have used his several weeks at home to think about a dessert that would have been more appropriate for the region and the meal.

                                                                      2. I don't care who wins but MAN I dislike Ilan. I had almost forgotten that. Thanks, TC!

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Jeserf

                                                                          I think that dislike is universal. I can't recall anyone who's liked him.

                                                                        2. OK - I am happy with the choice. Not an interesting season. But I thing Kevin won, fair and square.

                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                          1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                            Yeah I agree, it wasn't very interesting. I think Kevin won because of Micheal Voltaggio. Not a big fan of Kevin.

                                                                            1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                              Perhaps, but I think he's probably the one winner with the fewest number of overall wins other than the final win (1 Quickfire Challenge, 1 Elimination Challenge) ever. Hosea had 1 QF, 2 ECs. Ilan had the same number of QF and EC wins.

                                                                              But it's the final win that matters.

                                                                              ETA: Looks like Harold had 2 QF wins, only 1 EC win, so he's kind of the same as Hosea and Ilan. I just like him better than those two. :-)

                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                Yeah, Harold's kind of the same as Ilan and Hosea, except not at all. :) I'm not going to say tha tKevin didn't deserve it. I just didn't really care. That's disappointing.

                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                  Hosea didn't really impress outside of his wins (IIRC, his wins only really came when others messed up - the 12 days of Xmas and Thanksgiving episodes), whereas Kevin has cooked some good food this season that didn't win. It's hard to pinpoint why, but Kevin's win feels like nowhere near the upset that Hosea's win was.

                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                    OK, I'll give you that, cowboy. For me, this entire Finale has just been a "meh", with no one REALLY impressing. I'd have preferred Stefan or Carla winning in TC5. I didn't really care who won in TC7, except I just don't think Kevin deserved the overall title. ::::Shrug::::

                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                      Linda - I totally agree with you. Many of the losers from previous seasons (LeeAnn, Kevin, all the finalists from last season, etc.) would have made mincemeat of this season's finalists. I want to add my thanks to you for your excellent running commentary - much of it was more interesting than this season's show!

                                                                                      1. re: Claudette

                                                                                        I think you either drastically underestimate this season's finalists or drastically overestimate the abilities of LeeAnn. I think this season's Kelly Liken could have trounced her 4/5 times in a heads up contest.

                                                                                        Now the season 6 finalists, on the other hand...

                                                                              2. Eh. To next season...

                                                                                1. At one point Michael (I think) asks if Kevin has "white trash tongs" (or did he say white man's tongs). Does anyone know what he was referring to?

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: dmjordan

                                                                                    I wondered about that too (and Linda, I'm noticing a new small font too, weird).

                                                                                    Where's the Eater comedian's wrap up? I couldn't find it and that was the best part of this year's Top Chef.

                                                                                    1. re: Joanie

                                                                                      OK, so the font thingie isn't just me, Joanie - did you update your Firefox too?

                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                        Workaround: You can zoom in with Firefox (Ctrl +) to make the small font readable. (Same issue here.) It increases everything else on the page, too, so you can zoom back out with Ctrl - (that's Ctrl minus) when you aren't editing.

                                                                                        1. re: momjamin

                                                                                          Yeah, I did that last night when I started the thread. Just hate that it also increases *everything* else on the page, causing a scrolly-right-and-left situation. :-/ But thanks. :-)

                                                                                  2. Actually, I didn't care who won. I was kind of pulling for Kelly all along, and once she was gone, it didn't much matter to me. I think Kevin did a pretty damned fine job of bringing in his game for this finale; I only wished he would have been a stronger competitor during the entire season. I started off not liking Angelo much, but he actually grew on me. Kudos to him for pulling through his illness to make such a strong showing. And whoever texted the message they flashed during the break about Ed's mistake in leaving the dessert to his sous chef (why would anyone leave Ilan to do ANYTHING???) was spot on. He should have taken more control of that, and I think it's what sank him.

                                                                                    I want to thank LindaWhit for her fine recaps throughout the seasons, as well as to the other posters here. We would find ourselves at the dinner table discussing the most recent episode, and I would throw in, "well some of the Chowhounds think......", and it was always spur a lively discussion. Everyone's thought-provoking comments have made me stop and consider my own point of view on more than one occasion. Till next season....

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: phee

                                                                                      "I want to thank LindaWhit for her fine recaps throughout the seasons, as well as to the other posters here. "
                                                                                      ~~~~~~~~
                                                                                      ditto. the only worthwhile part of this waste of a season.

                                                                                      i haven't read all the posts, but i'll throw in my two cents about the finale. i was bored, only half-paid attention as i answered e-mails. thought it was sort of a d*ck move for Angelo to have Hung bogart the foie, particularly since he wasn't even there. Ed is an idiot for giving Ilan responsibility for the dessert. and though Kevin may not have been finale material all season, he appeared to have produced the winning dishes tonight.

                                                                                      oh, and boo to Eater NY for the incorrect spoiler last week :)

                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                        Thanks to both of you. :-) And yeah, EaterNY had me thinking Ed won as well. Ahh, well.

                                                                                        But like ghg, I was bored as well. This just wasn't a good season. Granted, they had to follow TC6 - most definitely the BEST season ever when it comes to quality of chefs and food turned out.

                                                                                        Ed *seemed* to realize he got the absolute WORST draw of the knives and *seemed* to realize that Ilan could potentially sink him - he kept saying so saying when other TC finalists had let their sous "take over", it was a disaster. So WTF did he let Ilan take over the dessert?

                                                                                        I thought about the Finale Part 2 episode when I was getting ready for bed last night, realizing there wasn't a whole lot of anything in it. Not a lot of cooking; and practically *nothing* at JT. Angelo's illness took up a LOT of airtime.

                                                                                        And thinking back to Judges Table - I think that had to be THE MOST anti-climactic TC Winner announcement ever. They didn't discuss a whole lot with the chefs other than pre-judging, and the entire ending fell completely flat. Perhaps it was because I didn't like any of the Final 3. Don't know. But I'm wondering did they jump the shark this year because of the high quality of TC6? We'll see.

                                                                                        Supposedly a BIG announcement from Tom Colicchio at the Reunion show next week re: TC8.

                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                          I'm sort of assuming that the big announcement is going to be about TC All Stars, though presumably it's for the sake of the audience, ass
                                                                                          some of this season's chefs are participating.

                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                            Yeah, I keep forgetting that we already know about that. :-) Interesting that any comment posted on a Bravo blog (including the interview with Kevin) aren't being allowed if they speak of the All-Stars. I've tried several times. Nope - they won't put 'em up. :-)

                                                                                    2. Ed screwed up by letting Ilan do a boring dessert. I believe the reason Kevin won is because the locals raved about his version of the Singapore Sling fruit dessert. The question I have is, did Kevin make this dessert or did Michael Voltaggio make it? Kevin talked about it, but I don't know for sure. Ed would have likely won if he had done a better dessert. He should have done the research needed to have a top notch dessert. It appears the others did.

                                                                                      I believe the reason Angelo is apparently going to be in the next season of TC allstars is because they like the ratings he brings to the show and he wasn't at full steam for the finale. Good move by Bravo.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                        I don't know who made the Singapore Sling dessert, but it was pretty clear that Kevin conceived it -- I'm guessing long before they got to Singapore -- and it was the originality of the concept, not any particular aspect of the execution, that blew the judges away. He seems to have done the best job of anticipating and planning for the final challenges, and it was pretty clear from the judges comments that they were looking to be blown away with something fresh and different rather than something that was technically well executed but safe.

                                                                                        Ilan and Ed was a horrible pairing: conservative, unimaginative Ed with slacker, "be safe" Ilan. No wonder their dishes were uninspired.

                                                                                      2. Wow! really great, I think. I picked Kevin last Wed. out of the remaining three, and actually, I picked him at the beginning of the final 4 as the "true dark horse."

                                                                                        But I already knew his food was awesome.

                                                                                        Way to go, Kevin!

                                                                                        I felt so bad for Angelo. What a bummer to go half way around the world and get so sick you almost can't compete at all. I have to think great things are coming his way soon.

                                                                                        All of these guys are more or less New Yorkers. Interesting.

                                                                                        1. Cool. Micheal Voltaggio wins Top Chef 2 years running, but this time without the worry of fabulous prizes.

                                                                                          The cumulative judging theory will surely die with the heralding of Kevin as Top Chef.

                                                                                          I've nothing against Kevin but after watching this entire season I have no idea what kind of food he cooks. Or likes to cook. Or likes to eat.

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                            Top Chef has never said anything about a cumulative judging theory. It was all speculation on the threads here at chowhound.

                                                                                            And Michael Voltaggio did not win tonight, Kevin Sbraga did.

                                                                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                              "Top Chef has never said anything about a cumulative judging theory. It was all speculation on the threads here at chowhound."
                                                                                              Yes.

                                                                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                sure he did....lol....

                                                                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                  As MplsM ary said - I have no idea what type of food Kevin has put out. He's that vanilla. You KNEW the types of food that Michael Voltaggio, Hung, Stephanie, Richard Blais put on the plate.

                                                                                                  As I said in my OP - Kevin stands beside Ilan and Hosea in the Hall of the Most Boring (or Irritating) Winner of Top Chef. Perhaps you've eaten his food, but he just doesn't seem all that to many of us.

                                                                                              2. p.s. I couldn't believe that Ed let such a sad-looking dessert plate go out. Sheesh. Couldn't even throw a mint leaf or something on it for color? But I loved David Chang's reaction to it - "It's like a big F*** You"

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: soypower

                                                                                                  Kevin knew Michael was way outta his league so he helped him execute perfectly. I thought it was funny Michael made sure to comment that Kevin worked under him all those years ago, instead of with him like Kevin had said. He's so lucky he got him. I actually don't mind Ilan during his season because Marcel was such a little jerk. But I agree he wasn't much help as a sous. I don't get why Ed decided to have Ilan make a crap dessert when his banana poppers were so good.
                                                                                                  Ugh, another TC to forget.

                                                                                                  1. re: justinelc

                                                                                                    I think you meant to say the reverse - MICHAEL knew KEVIN was way out of his league, and therefore, Michael helped Kevin execute perfectly.

                                                                                                2. I thought Kelly looked so pretty in her little yellow dress at the end.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: LaLa

                                                                                                    I didn't realize that was Kelly! They never showed her face and for some reason I assumed she was Kevin's wife. lol!

                                                                                                  2. Just wondering: if Hung did such a huge percentage of the actual work compared to the percentage of the work the other sous' did, could you really even put Angelo into consideration for winning. You could make an argument for Angelo having the concepts of the dishes, but when such a huge percentage of the actual work was done by Hung, I don't think there was any way Angelo could have come out on top.

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                      I was thinking that if Angelo actually won, they should just bill it "First time in Top Chef History -- Two-time Winner!" and give Hung the prize $$ and kudos.

                                                                                                      1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                        Very good point, PattiCakes. And depending on how much Michael did vs. Kevin, perhaps the same could be said there. ;-)

                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                          I hear ya, LW. The fact remains, though, unless Kevin actually left the kitchen entirely and watched TV for more than half of the working/prep time, Michael could not have done as much work towards the final effort as Hung did. And who knows, it is also possible that if Angelo had actually been in the kitche, he and Hung might have self combusted in some fit of kitchen frentics.

                                                                                                          1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                            I'd have liked to have seen the self-combustion, Patti - when Angelo's going full-steam, he and Hung are EXACTLY alike in the kitchen! That would be fun to watch! LOL

                                                                                                      2. at about the time the show came on for me, the Giants were in the seventh inning of a pennant race game against the Dodgers, and the score was 0-0. It was a HUGE No Brainer. I watched the game. (Giants, 2-1, yeah). I am not sure I even care to watch the TC show on tape.

                                                                                                        In short, most boring TC ever, IMO. And it might be a good thing for Bravo, (though not for Angelo, of course) that Angelo got sick; it sounds as though that might have provided the only real drama.

                                                                                                        Thanks for the recap, Linda....

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                          Thanks, Linda. I fell asleep during the finale, that's how uninspiring it was. When I awoke to see Kevin win, I said, "oh, ok." and clicked off the TV. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. This board has been infinitely more stimulating than this, the worst and most insipid season of Top Chef!

                                                                                                          1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                                            ROFLMAO!!! OMG. This has got to be the best response about the entire season EVAH. Tee hee! Glad my recaps helped.

                                                                                                            Which reminds me - have to go read Tom's blog - it wasn't up last night. I'm sure he'll have all sorts of reasons why Kevin "deserved" to win.

                                                                                                          2. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                            Where's the "like" button?!

                                                                                                          3. Like the others, I feel like I know very little about Kevin and his point of view ... after an entire season.

                                                                                                            I felt the same way he did upon finding out he won ... REALLY?

                                                                                                            P.S. what's the scoop on Angelo's illness?

                                                                                                            1. Interesting interview with Kevin at Bravo:

                                                                                                              http://www.bravotv.com/blogs/burning-...

                                                                                                              Hmmm....definitely more insight into his personality. Not favorably, in my mind. But yet again - that's MY opinion.

                                                                                                              1. Glad that this season is finally done. The episode just showed me how much I miss watching Hung in action.. He just flies around like a mad man, I love it. I think Michael Voltaggio and Hung should have a show together would be great, I never get sick of watching them cook..

                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: SDGourmand

                                                                                                                  This was my first season of TC, and now I'm dying to go back and watch Hung's season. He impressed me as well.

                                                                                                                  1. re: DivineFemme

                                                                                                                    Hung has grown on me in his follow-on appearances. I wasn't a fan of him during TC3 (although his Smurf Village is a TC Classic!), but he's definitely seems to have matured. Or perhaps because I'm only seeing him in small doses, I'm OK with his freneticness.

                                                                                                                    But no one - and I mean NO ONE! - can take apart a whole chicken like he can. Champion in the relay race. :-)

                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                      I'm with you on this. I definitely like Hung more now than during his season.

                                                                                                                    2. re: DivineFemme

                                                                                                                      Kinda strange the only time I didn't watch the entire season was when Hung won. Life was super hectic & I read a spoiler so I didn't bother. Now I want to watch it & see him in action.

                                                                                                                      1. re: DivineFemme

                                                                                                                        you should definitely go back to the beginning and watch if you can. the other disappointing seasons were 2 & 5, but neither one was as bad as this one.

                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                          Except TC5 had Carla and Fabio. And I'll even add Stefan into that mix. But if DivineFemme watches the upcoming TC-All Stars, she'll get an idea of what Fabio and Carla are about. :-)

                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                            Stefan was the only one fun to watch that season food wise or at least the only memerable one at this point. But season 5 was overall WAY more entertaining than 2 and 7 because of the personalities. Fabio was just awesome.

                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                              yeah, i guess my issue with TC5 had more to do with the winner. it was, for the most part, a relatively entertaining season to watch.

                                                                                                                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                              The quality of chefs in season two weren't all that impressive. Season 5 had some interesting characaters, even though the winner was not that impressive. I think I'd say season 7 has an edge over them.

                                                                                                                            3. re: DivineFemme

                                                                                                                              My guess is that the producers in each season encourage one contestant to be the "bad boy". In his season it was Hung, and he was often filmed looking at the other contestants with an arrogant scowl. This alienated many viewers, though from what little I know Hung is not like that in real life.

                                                                                                                          2. I guess I was between Ed and Kevin winning. It was interesting editing for sure. The judges seemed to like all the dishes across the board, but right before break they said they had a clear idea of who won... really? I didn't sense that at all. I too thought Ed was going to win, but a bit of me thought Kevin would win 1) because he was working with a chef he knew and 2) because he said he knew desserts and if that was really true then that was where he was going to strike and that is exactly what I think he did. Leave them with a good memory.

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                                              "The judges seemed to like all the dishes across the board, but right before break they said they had a clear idea of who won... really? I didn't sense that at all."

                                                                                                                              I think they always edit the finale to make it look much closer than it usually is, to create suspense. Then you read Tom's blog, and he almost always says that one was clearly the winner from the get-go, as he apparently did re Kevin.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                Plus, those comments aren't in direct time sequence. The final judge's table goes on for several hours, so they edited together various comments that were made throughout the process and then Padma's "wrap up"/transition to the announcement statement.

                                                                                                                            2. I have to say, I have no problem with Kevin winning. Since both Tiffany and Kelly were gone, I was kind of rooting for Ed, but it really seemed like Kevin came prepared to win. Out of all the menus I think I would have chosen Kevin's first, but I really wanted to try Angelo's fish course and Ed's stuffed duck neck. I loved the way Kevin's dessert looked, and after seeing everyone's faces after they tried it, I might have to make it myself.

                                                                                                                              Ed may have drawn the worst sous chef out of the three, but I doubt his ego would have let anyone, in his eyes, tell him what to do. I'm really not sure Ed would have won had he had Michael V or Hung. I really didn't see that Ilan served a different purpose than Michael, they both offered opinions that Ed and Kevin either took or didn't. I agree with those who said they wished we would have seen more of the planning and cooking processes instead of Angelo being sick in bed.

                                                                                                                              The dessert that Ed served may have been produced by Ilan, but Ed should have took responsibility for it. Having the attitude that the dessert was an after thought had to be part of his downfall. I thought it was pretty clear that when Gail said the 4th course had to be a dessert, it really should have been taken seriously.

                                                                                                                              26 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                "Ed may have drawn the worst sous chef out of the three, but I doubt his ego would have let anyone, in his eyes, tell him what to do."
                                                                                                                                ~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                No, he wouldn't let Ilan *tell* him what to do. But he did acquiesce in the entire dessert course, as someone said upthread that that exact dessert is on Ilan's menu at Gorbals. Bad move.

                                                                                                                                Essentially, Ed didn't really make the dessert. Bad move.

                                                                                                                                Not realizing that dessert would *probably* be part of the finale meal? Bad move.

                                                                                                                                Ultimately, Kevin "out-planned" Ed in what he'd do for a finale dinner. Ed's ego probably got in the way in thinking he was a front-runner.

                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                  Didn't aquiescing to the suggestions of a sous chef cost Carla dearly as well? Ilian's words were prophetic: just be true to yourself. I was really surprised when Ed kinda rolled over and played dead on the dessert. He wore himself out on the extreme complexities of his other dishes, forgetting that he needed to maintain excellence throughout the meal. The dessert should have been the final, spectacular flourish; instead it was the coup de grace. And I don't think his lemon curd comments helped either. Just made him come off as pissy and unprofessional.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                    Yes, Carla went with the sous-vide suggestion from Casey, and that sunk her.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                      Plus then Casey revealed herself to be a total bitch by stabbing her in the back all over the internet.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                        This comment is awesome. And totally on point.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                          Exactly. She really showed her true colors. I *had* liked her during her season. But that really took the cake when she did that.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                      Agreed on all counts. I am really confused as to why Ed would give his dessert course to Ilan. Giving up control on 25% of your grade is insane when there is so much at stake. I don't know if it was ego or what, but he has to be kicking himself now.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                        Bet he's not doing the Hooty-hoo dance.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                          Ha! I think that might be equal parts awesome and hilarious!

                                                                                                                                    3. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                      ITA. Kevin went there to win and was ready for everything. He had the advantage of having Mike but it seemed like they were his ideas. Ed, on the other hand, went to Singapore for a Top Chef finale and didn't have a dessert in mind. He couldn't learn to make a lemon curd properly, in all those months? Lemon curd? Not exactly the hardest thing to make. There were so many fresh tropical fruits there that doing a toffee pudding cake was, as (was it) David Chang said, a "F@*# you dessert." I think Kevin deserved to win. I wasn't a huge fan before but he outperformed the other two.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                        You're right. Kevin did the research needed to win and apparently Ed did not. I know there were at least several weeks between the DC based episodes and the finale in Singapore, why in he world did'nt all of them do a lot of research on the food of Singapore and work on it in thier kitchen? That includes coming up with a killer dessert. Dessert is a weakness for most of the Top Chef chefs, why wouldn't you work on it so that it is a strength, like Kevin did?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                          I'm surprised that after all these seasons that all the cheftestants don't come in knowing a handful of desserts. Dessert challenges seem to throw a lot of them. Even if baking isn't their thing, there are so many things they can make.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                            Tom Colicchio said just that in his blog. He said every smart contestant will learn to make at least one fantastic dessert before appearing.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                          I suspect his banana fritters were supposed to be his finale dessert. The lesson: learn 2 desserts in your time off.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                            Yeah, knowing the final is in two parts, double your knowledge for $250,000, of whatever the prize money was. From Eric Ripert's vlog, it sounds like Ed might have won with a better dessert.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                              " From Eric Ripert's vlog, it sounds like Ed might have won with a better dessert."
                                                                                                                                              _______
                                                                                                                                              From Tom's blog however, I get the idea that Kevin was already well ahead before dessert was served.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                There's 4 judges and who knows how it would have shaken out.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: dmckean

                                                                                                                                                  Fair enough. The judges sure seemed to love those banana fritters.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                            ITA. Sticky toffee pudding for a meal in Singapore? That just smacks of someone who didn't give it a minute's thought! There are lots of things that can be done with tropical ingredients. Toast some coconut, puree some mango. Not hard. In fact, I just thought of one: take the classic sticky rice and mango dessert and make them into arancini. Add some ice cream with toasted coconut. and some fruit puree. Yes, you can steal that idea.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                              Sounds good! I was thinking sticky rice, too, for dessert. Since he'd perfected the banana fritters, he could have done something similar to sticky rice cakes and fruit, if he didn't want to be bothered to learn a different dessert technique. Deep fried sticky rice cake is so good, much better than you'd expect.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                Deep fried sticky rice cake? Sounds really, really, really good.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                You seriously would have won with that dessert, Ruth. :-)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                  Thanks, Linda! It wasn't as creative as Singapore Sling, but it certainly beats the hell out of sticky toffee pudding in this particular context!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                    Sticky Toffee Pudding was

                                                                                                                                                    Just.
                                                                                                                                                    Plain.
                                                                                                                                                    STOOPID.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                  He just had to google "Singapore desserts":

                                                                                                                                                  http://www.asiarecipe.com/sindesserts...

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                    FWIW, the single best piece of fruit I ever ate in my life was in Singapore (a Thai mango according to the server). It was almost a psychedelic sensory experience. So, a fruit dessert probably would have been a good idea (as evidenced by Kevin's winning dish).

                                                                                                                                              3. Thank you Linda for your terrific detailed write-ups of each episode! I live in the Mountain Time Zone and would come here and check the results at 9:00pm (11:00pm Eastern) to get to scoop. To me, this whole season was meh. I couldn't get involved with any of the contestants and never singled out a favorite. Not even fellow Coloradan Kelly Liken, who will be doing demos at the Colorado Mountain Winefest this weekend.

                                                                                                                                                I did not watch the whole final episode but will check it out in the reruns as Keven's food does sound amazing.

                                                                                                                                                Maybe Season 8 will bring us some amazing chefs and will reenergize the franchise!

                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Squint

                                                                                                                                                  Maybe Season 8 will bring us some amazing chefs and will reenergize the franchise!
                                                                                                                                                  ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                  Top Chef All-Stars from previous seasons. I think that's a GAH-RON-TEE! :-)

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                    Do you think they have tapped into all of the amazing chefs (who are willing to be one the show) and are running out of chef-testants? Or was it just bad casting this season?

                                                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                      I think a combination of the fact that they've had enough seasons with with to draw from for All-Stars, and the fact that TC7 was a bit of a letdown from the TC6 season, which was absolutely stellar in the caliber of chefs.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                      <Top Chef All-Stars from previous seasons. I think that's a GAH-RON-TEE! :-)>

                                                                                                                                                      and I think that's going to be Tom's "big announcement" at the reunion. Remember, we know that because of "Eater." not TC.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                        Oh dear. I just realized, is my All Stars comment going to "spoil" anything for anyone? Should I edit it out?

                                                                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                          that would be AWESOME! :D

                                                                                                                                                  2. I wish I had enough history with this program to understand the love/hate towards the various sous chefs. I thought Hung was heroic--really, a terrific sport.

                                                                                                                                                    Angelo was getting the loser edit for sure. And the way they have been building Ed up the last couple of episodes, he seemed ripe for a fall.

                                                                                                                                                    I confess that, instead of being fully engaged, I was reading the last 100 pages or so of a novel I really wanted to finish. But, Kevin's food sounded good. I agree with the comment, "Kevin came prepared to win," which is ironic since Padma needled him in the last episode for not having practiced with a wok.

                                                                                                                                                    But, Kevin got something Angelo never did and that's that the judges don't care about "authentic"--they want "inspired" dishes that taste great. I do wonder if Angelo's having been sick made it hard for him to taste what was missing in his dishes.

                                                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                      Tom stated in his blog that kevins food was the best of any finale so far.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: SDGourmand

                                                                                                                                                        I really want to try that Singapore Sling dessert. I love Singapore Sling, the beverage. Oh, and David Chang is a riot. I'd like to see more of him.

                                                                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                          I was surprised Chang didn't get more face time. He must have been pretty quiet for most of the meal.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                            you should see him with his charlie rose interview. Inspiring chef.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                        The "authentic" line is one that shifts like a whip, and that whip is wielded by none other than Tom. It is very challenge specific. We didn't hear whether they were looking for authentic anything but it seemed clear at the outset Angelo was betting that authentic Asian would win it for him.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                                                          Oh, I wasn't referring to any specific comment made at the finale (honestly, I probably not paying that much attention) as much as a general impression that I had that built up over the season. Angelo seemed throughout the season to think his knowledge of Asian (and Ethiopian) cooking would be an advantage, and it must have been to a point because he did make it to the finale, but he didn't seem to understand that the judges didn't care about true authenticity. For instance, Tiffany's "Ethiopian" stew... Angelo just never seemed to get that. They wanted to see the chefs draw flavors or ingredients or techniques from the various cuisines, then create something amazing.

                                                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                          Hung, when he was on the show, just came across as arrogant BUT he could usually back it up and when they had the relay challenge (one of my faves) no one could match him on knife skills. Illan was a bit of a bully in his season regardless of whether you liked or disliked Marcel. I hope for All-Stars Richard Blaise gets another shot (unless it is only winners) and Carla too and if it is not solely winners than please please please bring back Fabio. Even if he wasn't the best his soundbites are hilarious!

                                                                                                                                                        3. Would Ed have done better if he plated the banana fritters again as his dessert course?

                                                                                                                                                          I don't know if I really needed to see Angelo get shot up in the arse.

                                                                                                                                                          Top Chef should've had some bluetooth company jump in and provide both Angelo and Hung bluetooth sets. How was Hung suppose to shop and prep while holding a cell phone in one hand. Hard to cook with two hands, much hard to cook with one I suppose.

                                                                                                                                                          Did each person get one duck? If so, then how did Ed have enough "neck" for all of his plates? Did he get the Giraffe-Duck so famous in Singapore's street markets?

                                                                                                                                                          RE: Fois. Why is Hung getting grief for using it all and not sharing? Maybe I missed something, but didn't Hung buy it just for Angelo's dish -- and not for everyone else?

                                                                                                                                                          Would Angelo have won if not for the that cherry shooter to cleanse the palate? Or better yet, if had provided instructions on how to eat his sauteed duck breast dish?

                                                                                                                                                          Best line of the night: "That's the second-best food I've had on 'Top Chef.'" Thank you again, Mike V.

                                                                                                                                                          17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                            Since Hung was standing in for Angelo, I thought he made the right decision not to share the fois. It really wasn't his decision to make. I didn't understand why Ed hadn't bought his own. And, yes, the shot shot was completely unnecessary. Were they trying to show us he was really sick?

                                                                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                              There was only one lobe of the fois, there wasn't any to share.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                              'Would Ed have done better if he plated the banana fritters again as his dessert course?'
                                                                                                                                                              ____
                                                                                                                                                              Ed had already included his ubiquitous breaded-and-fried-ball o' whatever earlier in the night - it was his breaded cockle balls (hehehe) in his starter this time. Maybe he was thinking that the banana fritters would have been overkill.

                                                                                                                                                              On the other hand, he never seemed to get called out for inluding a fritter balls on almost every dish for the second half of the season, so who knows how the judges would have reacted.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                "RE: Fois. Why is Hung getting grief for using it all and not sharing? Maybe I missed something, but didn't Hung buy it just for Angelo's dish -- and not for everyone else?"
                                                                                                                                                                ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                aha! my bad. i wasn't paying close attention through most of it, and for some reason i assumed the foie was from the pantry or had been purchased by Colicchio & Ripert...i didn't realize Hung had bought it specifically for Angelo.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, indeed he did and (like always) each contestant was on a budget.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                    I thought it was pantry foie, too. I don't understand how the other constestants can be at all upset if Hung had bought it.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                      I'm pretty sure it was from the pantry. They bought just one lobe on purpose to create a little drama in the kitchen. Hung got to it first. If it was purchased by Hung, the others would have no right to it and would not have lamented that there wasn't any left, since there wouldn't have been any in the pantry in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                        i'm pretty sure they showed Hung buying it at the market..... the other two may have thought it was pantry foie, and maybe Hung told them he bought it but that was edited out, to create that little moment of drama.....

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                          Hung not only bought it at the market, but they also showed Angelo telling Hung to buy it for the duck course.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                            If Hung bought it at the market, why did they show the other chefs askiing for some?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                              If my memory serves correct, Angelo asked Hung if they had foie, which at the time I was thinking referred to the store. I think they must have had a list of what was available in the pantry, we see this on last weeks episode. Angelo must have been referring to the Pantry. There is NO way the other contestants would throw such a fit over something someone else purchased. I'm even more positive they would not base an entire dish around the fact that someone else will give them a piece of an expensive item

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: elliora

                                                                                                                                                                                This was my interpretation, too. Hung and Angelo are on the phone while Hung is at the market, figuring out what they're going to cook and what Hung needs to buy. Angelo says, "They have foie, right?" At the time, I thought he was asking about the store, and remember thinking, that's quite a market, that has fresh foie gras hanging around. But the whole exchange in the kitchen, with the others miffed at Hung for taking it, made it clear that it was a pantry ingredient.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                  I just watched this part again to see what happened. Hung did buy the foie at the market. But, it gets confusing because at the kitchen, the other chefs, especially Ed and Mike V made a big deal about his taking the whole lobe and how he didn't need it all. I wonder if it was a misunderstanding that they thought it was a pantry item. But, that doesn't explain how, if Ed had been planning to use foie to stuff the necks, why he didn't buy it himself. Maybe he hadn't planned on it, saw the foie and thought it was pantry food?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                    Hung did buy the foie.

                                                                                                                                                                                    But if I recall from previous episodes, it did seem like it was common practice that the chefs to share what they bought at the market.

                                                                                                                                                                                    For example, there was the sharing of the peas ... [tongue firmly planted in cheeks]

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                      Ah yes, there's that.:-) This could have turned into foie gras gate, had Alex made the finals.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                        ...or another magical pea puree?

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                      "Would Ed have done better if he plated the banana fritters again as his dessert course?"

                                                                                                                                                                      We'll, he couldn't have done much worse.

                                                                                                                                                                    3. I missed the question the judges always ask...why should you be top chef? I knwo the food should speak for them, but I always enjoy the responses to that question.

                                                                                                                                                                      23 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: attran99

                                                                                                                                                                        That's why I thought it was the MOST anti-climactic finale Judges Table ever. A few comments from the cheftestants, a JT discussion, and then Padma announcing Kevin won. Meh.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                          Tom Colicchio's blog is finally on the Bravo website, and in it he says that by the time the meal was over, everyone had agreed that Kevin had won. And he makes a convincing course-by-course case for it. He even says -- twice -- that Kevin's meal was the best finale meal in Top Chef history, but I'm certainly not convinced of that.

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

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Brian S

                                                                                                                                                                            Colicchio must have the same issue as the guy in the movie Momento, given that the food from last season's finale looked a lot better. His blog spin is usually pretty dishonest, IMHO, and serves to justify all that has gone before. It is very easy to say how we the TV audience did not see everything or taste everything, but then that actually speaks poorly of the show if the only "truth" we receive is Tom's oracular blog report each week. Frankly, the food from last week's penultimate episode looked a lot better than the food from this episode.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Brian S

                                                                                                                                                                              Yeah, I'm sorry - I'm just *not* going with that statement that Kevin's was the best finale meal ever. I can't believe that TC4 or TC6 wasn't better with the quality of the chefs in both finales. But if that's the spin he wants to take, okey-dokey.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                He said Kevin's food was "exciting" -- you can be a highly skilled chef and not have your food be "exciting." Plus, it sounds like Kevin's meal had a cohesive vision and didn't have a single clinker in it: all four dishes were apparently excellent, and I'm not sure you could say that about very many of the other winners, especially since most of them barely pass dessert (since you mentioned TC4, I'll point out that Stephanie's dessert was apparently competent but uninspired), and some of them didn't even make dessert. In other words, maybe it wasn't that each one of the dishes was better than each of the other finale dishes, but that the four dishes together were better than any other set of four dishes. I don't find that hard to believe.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                  Me too. How could Kevin's food be the best finale meal ever? There is absolutely no way that Kevin's food could be better than any of the top 4 from last season. Kevin's food better than Michael V, Brian V, Kevin G or Jen C? No way! I don't have to taste the food to know that last season's food was far more creative and exciting.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Ok, I have to admit the Singapore Sling dessert does sound good and suspiciously like something Michael V would have come up with (it seems too clever to be Kevin's idea but a play on a Singapore Sling sounds exactly like Michael V) but I think I yawned when he described the veggie terrine. I thought, oh please, could you do something less creative? That's the typical vegetarian offering in practically every other French-style restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh well, thank goodness this season is over and let's all pray that next season will be much better.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Also, let me add my voice to the thanks to LindaWhit for the recaps.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chefhound

                                                                                                                                                                                    < How could Kevin's food be the best finale meal ever? There is absolutely no way that Kevin's food could be better than any of the top 4 from last season. Kevin's food better than Michael V, Brian V, Kevin G or Jen C? No way! I don't have to taste the food to know that last season's food was far more creative and exciting. >

                                                                                                                                                                                    We don't KNOW that. I went back and reread Kevins bio. Plus I also read an interview done with him in Philly. He is a far more impressive chef than he EVER came across during most of the season. And I think we owe our bellittling of him to theMagical Elves deceptive editing this season.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                      True, and for the final they did have a ton of time to prepare so it wasn't like most of the other challenges this season.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes. As I wrote below, I looked up Rat's Restaurant. It's an elegant, sophisticated place with a $105 tasting menu. Never having read Wind in the Willows, from the name I imagined a dump.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                          ChefJune, you are right on the money. We viewers tend to think that we are seeing episodes in real time -- we are not. Everything we see took place quite a while ago, and what we are seeing each week is a manufactured presentation, created by the editing elves to ellicit maximum suspense and viewing. By the time the episodea are edited, they (the elves) know who has won. The Kevin we saw during the season was the Kevin they wanted us to see, likewise Angelo and Ed. I guess that why I've become very jaded with respect to these "reality" shows.

                                                                                                                                                                                          BTW, let me add yet another note of gratitude and an "atta girl" to Linda Whit. You deserve the Golden Hound for your recaps and insights.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                            Yeah! Three cheers for Linda. Her recaps really added a welcome additional dimension to my viewing pleasure. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                              three more cheers!

                                                                                                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                              BTW, let me add yet another note of gratitude and an "atta girl" to Linda Whit. You deserve the Golden Hound for your recaps and insights.
                                                                                                                                                                                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                                                                              :::::Gasp!::::: A Golden Hound? For moi? Why....I....I'm speechless! I never would have thought I'd WIN anything for these recaps!

                                                                                                                                                                                              :::::clearing my throat::::: I'd like to thank the Academy of Chowhounddom for bestowing this great honor on me. I'm grateful to my father for introducing me to new foods, and to my Grandma, whose house was the BEST house ever in which to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner!

                                                                                                                                                                                              But most of all, thanks to my mother, for ensuring I knew how to write well AND for letting me to make the apple pie at Thanksgiving when I was 14 years old, which really starting a love of cooking in me that she *still* doesn't get to this day - especially when I watch shows about cooking! Thanks Mom - you're the best!

                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh - and a special shout-out to Al Gore (even though I still think he's a doofus) for inventing the Internet so Chowhound could be created by Jim Leff, and a HUGE atta-boy high-five to Jim Leff and his hardy band of cohorts for keeping Chowhound in existence long enough to be acquired and kept alive so I could write the Top Chef recaps!

                                                                                                                                                                                              I will truly treasure this Golden Hound - it will have a special place on top of my pie safe pantry - where I store my countless jars of mustard and gourmet goodies that I buy during my travels. Oh, and it's also my liquor cabinet. Not that I partook when I was writing up the Top Chef recaps, however!

                                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you, thank you - one and all! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                We love you Linda! I'm the audience member that waits for a lull so everyone can hear me shouting it! :o)

                                                                                                                                                                                                And seriously, I only kept watchng the show this season so I could participate in these discussions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                  ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!!! After that lovely picture, I think we need to change the name to Le Chien d'Or.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Are the rumors correct that your Chien d'Or Award Ceremony apron was styled by none other than Rachel Zoe?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                    No, I had Christian Siriano and Santino Rice design my Award Ceremony apron (ONLY the best for me!), and final approval on the design was given by Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum. Tim said they definitely made it work, and Heidi said it was impossible to auf their design!
                                                                                                                                                                                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                    ETA: I *LOVE* the Le Chien d'Or renaming, PattiCakes, but Golden Hound works just as well, IMO. It's in keeping with houndishness of us all. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Golden Hound it is!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                    BRAVO!!!! (stupid pun intended)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Posts like this emphasize the need for a "like" button on CH. :)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      You did a great job Linda! I'm hoping for a repeat award for you next year!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's not completely true: the finale is filmed only a few weeks before it is broadcast, at which point most of the season (which is 12 episodes or almost 3 months) has already been aired. That's why occasionally you'll see the cheftestants comment in the confessionals about the reactions they and their friends have had to the way they've been portrayed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      What is true is that the editors knew who had gone to the finals and that they -- like all "reality" show editors -- use editing to create characters and narratives.

                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                              Often we get over an hour of air time in the first showing, then the reruns are edited down to an hour (44 minutes, whatever it is). This finale felt like it was on pace to run 75 min, but TC Desserts was premiering at 11, so they didn't run over. Sadly, they cut JT instead of Angelo Fever.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                I too was surprised when it was 10:57 and it seemed like there'd be a lot more to go, expecting them to give more critiques to the chefs and drawing out the suspense by eliminating one of them first so it was down to 2. But then came the anti-climactic declaration of the winner and poof, it was done.

                                                                                                                                                                                            4. re: attran99

                                                                                                                                                                                              <I missed the question the judges always ask...why should you be top chef? >

                                                                                                                                                                                              If they asked it, I missed it, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                              But Kevin did mention in an interview that when Padma first said "Kevin...." the thought that raced through his head was that last year when the final 3 went before the judges, she said "Kevin....... you are NOT Top Chef." and he wanted to be sure she had NOT said that to him. Made sense to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                            5. I'd just like to weigh in on Ed's dessert - for those calling it "crap", I actually just had that very same dessert last weekend at Ilan Hall's restaurant The Gorbals (full review here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7339...) and it IS incredibly delicious. But I was baffled as to why either Ilan or Ed would think that a traditional British dessert would be at all appropriate in that setting and with the rest of the menu - it stuck out like a sore thumb. Both Kevin and Angelo were much smarter about it, using local flavors and ingredients. Also, the plating of Ed's dessert was so unappealing, even compared to Angelo's, which I did not think was particularly beautiful...

                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                                Oddly, Tom appeared to like this dessert while eating it, and decided he disliked it at Judge's Table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cabking

                                                                                                                                                                                                  He liked the salted cream. I'm sure once he had some time to think about it, he realized that the dessert wasn't all that stunning nor did it make represent some of the great produce that was available for the chefs to use.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: attran99

                                                                                                                                                                                                    All of the odd out of phase judges comments about Ed's dessert, including Ed's comment in the stew room he can't just make up a dessert recipe, makes sense when I realized Ed must have confessed to judges he made no dessert, that the desert was 100% Ilan (salty cream included.) It turned the judges off of that desert, tasty as it was, as it was basically plagiarized/cheat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    But I do feel for Ed, as it smelled of a desperation move. If he doesn't trust Ilan, or Ilan really isn't capable of the techniques required to execute Ed's mains or desert perfectly in the time given, so that Ed made the decision to put his entire focus on his proteins, and basically contracted out his entire dessert course to Ilan.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Linda, as proof that it WAS a bit of a boring finale, I fell asleep watching it...woke up in time to see judge's table. Even the judge's table was a bit boring...and it really didn't tell me much about the food. Is it me or does everything feel a bit clipped this season? Anyway, it didn't matter...as soon as I realized I had missed most of the show I thought "Its ok; I'll just read Linda's recap on Chowhound.."

                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks again!

                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                                                                                                                  :::grin::: Agree with you on the boring JT as well. This entire episode seemed clipped; perhaps, as I said upthread, because so much attention was paid to Angelo being sick. It took away from prep, cooking and judging. :::Sigh:::

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh well - there's All-Stars to look forward to after TC:Just Desserts. (And I'm determinedly NOT reading the TC:Just Desserts thread to see what the 11pm show was about!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Best part of the show for me was Michael V's parting comment "second best Top Chef finale meal I've ever tasted!" I don't think Kevin wins without Michael. He certainly wouldn't have won with Ilan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Ho and Hum.... despite Hung.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Thanks Linda for the recaps all season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. wow. people. kevin did NOT win because of Michael. Kevin won. Michaal did not win. Kevin won. I would have preferred angelo overall, but it's a game by game competition, and kevin clearly brought it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                        But just looking at Kevin's plates you see all this Michael influence all over it that just wasn't there the rest of the season. Kevin won and everything but his knife pull gave him the biggest edge anyone got all season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dmckean

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Okay is that....

                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Kevin won and everything, but his knife pull gave him the biggest edge anyone got all season."

                                                                                                                                                                                                          or

                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Kevin won, and everything but his knife pull gave him the biggest edge anyone got all season."

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The first one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: dmckean

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think it has more to do with them having worked together and being friends, than it did with Michael V being such a rock star. Not that Michael's talents were negligible, but it was Kevin who won. And I'm fine with that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            One of the side effects of being such a meh season, is that I went into the finals with no strong opinions, so I don't at all mind Kevin stepping up to the plate. For once I agreed when they said "It's anyone's game." Ed got cocky and phoned in his dessert. Angelo was obviously handicapped, but Kevin came to win.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: dmckean

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Kevin got props from the other contestants throughout the season for being able to plate well. They called him an artist or the Salvador Dali of plating. From what was shown on the episode, it seemed as if Michael played the role of sous chef well...and did not try to use his influence to sway Kevin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dmckean

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Kevin never created rock star flavors all season. The only exceptional flavor combo of his that I remember the judges really liking was his Indian curry dish, which ironically was for an ethnic food (of the many) that he claimed unfamiliarity with. Perhaps he is really more creative when he's forced to do something outside his comfort zone...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                OTOH Michael V master hand and palate is clearly and historically capable of lifting the most humble chef creations to elite heights. Remember what he did for Robin dessert in restaurant wars. Robin almost won RW with her fruit crisp after Michael put his treatment on it. Robin! Michael will not allow a weak chef to drag themselves or his team down. But he doesn't hide the weak chef in FoH -- ala with Alex this season, he transferred some of his superchef abilities and made his weak link strong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: dach

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Super-chef"? Really? I think you've drunk a bit too much of the Michael V kool-aid. After all, we have only his claim that he somehow fixed Robin's dessert. We didn't actually see him do anything except bitch at her and get in the way of her trying to plate it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    While I think some people are giving Michael V too much credit for Kevin's win, I don't have a hard time believing that he had a large hand in Robin's dessert in restaurant wars. What we saw was not him bitching at her and getting in her way, but being exacting and demanding about how the dish was executed and sent out - in other words, acting like a head chef in a kitchen that cares about its food (it was Robin who lost it and started swearing). I really doubt it was a coincidence that was the only week Robin's food was up to Voltaggio's standards.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I didn't see him exerting editorial control over Kevin that way. I think his advantage for Kevin was largely psychological, and maybe since Kevin knew him well, as a sounding board for Kevin's ideas. Definitely an advantage, but not the main reason Kevin won.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                thank you thew. it is so absurd to insist that Michael's appearance in the final episode "transformed" Kevin from a loser into a winner. Kevin got to the top 3 without Michael. I'm sure he learned from Michael when the worked together but nothing at all in the last episode suggested he handed over the kitchen to Michael. Of course he was lucky to have Michael as his sous-chef, but it was Kevin's food and Kevin's win. Eric Ripert's video pretty much says it all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ditto. I'm with Thew and teeseetoo on this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree--give credit where it's due. We don't see Michael overstepping and giving advice to Kevin, telling what to make, etc. as we did with Ilan trying to do with Ed. We do know Michael can cook and he was definitely a great help but it looked like Kevin came in prepared to win. He didn't sit back, like Ed did, with the "I can't make a decent lemon curd so I let my souschef make the dessert." I think Kevin won it and by the end, I was routing for him, though I can barely remember him the rest of the season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Actually, we will never really know if this is true, not because Michael V. "made" Kevin's dishes or won for him, but because we do not know if Kevin would have still won had he had Ilan as his sous chef. I think that might have been a BIG game changer, with Ilan messing up some of Kevin's food and Michael V. or Hung helping Ed out with some hints.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think TC needs to stop recycling old winners/losers/etc... and level the playing field somehow during the finale. In this instance, the playing field was not even close. Perhaps Ripert, Chang and Feninger (or three of Colicchio's sous or???) could have done the sous cheffing--then, perhaps, we would have had a better indication of the true winner. The disparity of Michael V. and Ilan will taint this finale for me, unfortunately.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cabking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's too bad not all the contestants on TC have jobs or they could give them sous from their own kitchen like on TCM.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dmckean

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Or no sous chef. More time for each course, and give them capable prep monkeys... similar to the chef assistants on original Japanese Iron Chef. That would be fairer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dach

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Great idea!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I am curious why a lot of people think that this season was boring? I thought that this season had the most collective talent than any other. Granted, there was not a lot of fighting, back biting or romances, but I watch for the cooking and to me the caliber and talent of the chefs this season was the best. Interested to hear everyone's thoughts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    p.s. I am happy for Kevin. Unlike others, I have been watching him all season and while he was fortunate to not only have MV as a sous, but also as a FRIEND in the kitchen, I still believe he won with HIS food. Do you really think MV's ego would allow him to win somone else's competition w/o the credit?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gingerleen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I thought that this season had the most collective talent than any other.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As compared to TC7? Not even close, in many people's opinions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Have to agree - I also don't like the drama, so Im glad there isn't that much of it, but this flock was very dull cooking-wise. The only one I really liked all season was Tiffany. I felt she was very talented and an intuitive sort of chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And yes, thanks Linda!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i think Gingerleen is going to have a hard time finding anyone who shares that opinion. most of this season's chefs weren't even in the same league as TC6.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Seriously true. TC6 chefs are light years ahead of ANY of the other seasons' chefs. Except I think Richard Blais could also hold his own against many of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Even Tom Colicchio admits in his blog that the overall talent wasn't as high as last season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                How about a season where we get the talent from the bottom -- a lineup of all line-cooks? Professionally trained chefs need not apply?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Coming next month on Bravo ... "Top Chef: Short Order Cook"!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Isn't Gordon Ramsey already doing that show? :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LOL! That's what I thought: "See: Hell's Kitchen." :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Other than the four hoursemen (Volt^2, KevinG, and Jen), was the rest of the talent of TC6 so amazing? No one won anything except those four. (I know I exaggerate, but not much.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In their own minds, they were.;-) Mike and Eli both thought very highly of themselves. But, I think the four were so far above the rest, in this and other seasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hector Santiago, booted quite early from that season, is reputed to be a pretty decent chef down in Atlanta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In TC6, Eli won a couple quickfires, and Mike I. and Robin each got one. But otherwise the top 4 won everything, including every elimination challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I thought it was interesting all throughout the TC6 competition, Mike Isabella put himself in the same league as the Volts, Kevin and Jen. He might be in real life, but he sure didn't show it in that competition. I thought Eli felt the same way and he had substantially lesser skills than the top four. I found both of them to be annoying. I see Kevin seems to have trimmed his beard. That was something he should have done before they started recording the competition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I felt the same way--Mike and Eli didn't seem to be near the same league as the top 4 but seemed to put themselves up there. I didn't like either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't think Mike Isabella put himself at the same level as the Volts. His first comment of the season once he saw the Volts was that this was the wrong season for him to be on Top Chef.. That's not something someone who believes they are at the same level would ever say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      From the show, I personally consider s6 Isabella and Eli are about the same talent level of this season Kevin/Ed's. Very capable, very mature talent. Top 10 chef in a medium size city. Whereas folks like Volts, Kevin are good enough to be top 10 chefs in a major city, or #1 in a medium size city. Just consider their elim results... Isabella and Eli could never beat out 4 horsemen of their season.. but they were rarely at the bottom group. Actually Eli snuck quite a few top mentions in. Ed had as many bottom results as Isabella, s7 Kevin earned many more bottom results.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I put Jen Carrol and Angelo somewhere between those 2 groups.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dach

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mike said he might have come during the wrong season when he saw the Volts there, but after that he constantly put himself into the top echelon of chefs when I don't think he deserved it. He seemed to accept accolades in the airbase and French cooking competitions when he was actally basking in the limelight of each of the Voltaggio's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Gingerleen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm with you gingerleen. I certainly enjoyed last season's group and recipes, but recall how the V brothers constantly were stunned that Kevin's "simple" cooking was so competitive when compared to their high-tech talents. I found, reading recipes this season, quite a lot to like in kevin, angelo's, ed's and tiffany's cooking, in particular, and have made kenny's winning sweet and sour eggplant more than once and thoroughly enjoyed it. Since none of us can actually taste the food, I'm wondering how any of us decide which is better. Do we mean more entertaining? Or that the food looks more interesting? It certainly can't be the actual food since none of us has any experience tasting what's cooked on the show at the moment it's presented to the judges.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. I was rooting for Ed until his ego suddenly grew in the last 2 episodes. I thought it was hilarious how Ed and Angelo were so busy trying to outdo each other that they forgot about the 3rd competitor Kevin! I think Ed letting Ilan do the dessert course was a stupid mistake and he lost the title with that toffee pudding. You could tell both Ed and Angelo were both glad it was Kevin instead of the other person. Not the best TC season... but I just watched the TC Just Desserts and it looks like there will be plenty of catfights and drama on that one!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Eric Ripert has just posted an 8 minute video giving exhaustive critique of each dish, with photos. Worth watching.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/seaso...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Thanks for the recaps all season Linda! I finally watched the finale last night - it was spoiled for me by Philly.com who announced the winner yesterday on their main page, since he's fairly local. I was really annoyed! that singapore sling desert looked divine! I was shaking my head at Ed, when he said he was "letting Ilan do desert" I knew he was doomed! ok. I knew he was doomed anyway, but figured that's where he really shot himself in the foot. Is the reunion show next week? I'll have to make sure my dvr is set for it, i'll be away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Reunion show *is* next week - and it's at 9pm, juju. :-) And you're welcome for the recaps - I did have fun, although I know I probably missed some stuff due to the computer set-up in my living room. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        thanks linda! hopefully i'll remember to check the dvr amid all the (frantic, last moment) packing. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I'm trying to find the recipe for Kevin's Singapore Sling dessert on the Top Chef website. I'm having no luck at all. Can anyone please post a link to the recipe? I cannot imagine it's not on there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipe...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Or video:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipe...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've never looked at a Top Chef recipe before, but based on this one I can see what all the complaining is about! The recipe is in metric units and it doesn't say how many servings it makes, but judging by the number of dragon fruit, it seems to be either 16 or 32 - and either seems like too many for most people? It also says it's a beverage. And it doesn't say how to prepare the fruit, except that the dragon fruit are "hallowed out". =)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Your reaction to the recipe was pretty much the same as mine. If I made the recipe, I would not wish to consecrate the dragon fruit, I would wish to eat them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Agreed. Michael Voltaggio's videos have been quite good though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                16 Dragonfruit = 16 servings. Except for locating Dragon Fruit, I think the recipe looks pretty easy, and it is clear it is NOT a beverage. The liquid is frozen into a granita.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree it looks easy, I was just saying it was poorly written! And doesn't it look like the dragon fruit are cut in half to make bowls - so there would be 32 servings? Or do you think the tops are to be discarded?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    16 Dragonfruit - 32 servings. Doesn't the video show Michael Voltaggio cutting them in half and using both halves?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Exactly, that's what I thought. And if the recipe a) said how many servings it made and b) actually told you how to prep the fruit, we wouldn't even be having this debate!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I won't get to see the video until tomorrow. Can't do that here at the sdj, and soon it will be Yom Kippur.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Muchas gracias, Cowboy! This sounds like a fun dessert for a summer bbq.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. One thing I'm surprised no one has brought up is Ed's using the pre-packed corn in a dish that was suppose to feature the freshness and sweetness of corn. I would never buy corn that's been mostly shucked and packaged in plastic--you have no idea what the quality would be. It would be one thing if the corn had been a minor element but it was the course. Maybe that's one reason why Tom thought Ed's first course was good, not great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I thought that was risky as well - but my experience in SE Asia was that it is much more common for produce to be packaged like that in grocery stores than it is in the US.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That also is common in Asian grocery stores in California.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But most of the produce seemed to be loose, except the corn. That, too me, would have been a warning, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          No, I was wrong. I just saw it again. The dragon fruit was individually packed which is what I noticed. A lot of the produce was individual but some were packed, too, especially the vegetables. Loose fruit, packed vegetables. But packed in loose bags, not in two packs, in tight plastic. It reminded me of the microwave in packaging corn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I thought the same thing. Can one purchase really fresh sweet corn (picked the morning of purchase) in NYC or Boston where Ed is from? Maybe he hasn't had real fresh corn before.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, there's plenty of good corn available in the Boston area. I had my fill this summer. If he hasn't had it, it's his own fault.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes. When I lived in NYC, I bought picked-that-morning corn at the farmers' market all the time (in season, of course).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I grew up in NE and only had corn on the cob for the most part. We never had canned or frozen corn. In season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes,believe it or not, there are farms in the immediate Boston area, and yes, we can get freshly picked corn here at farmer's markets. So I'd imagine if Ed cooked at a restaurant up here, his vendors could be local and bring in freshly picked produce that day. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ed's restaurant is in NYC and yes, those of us in the area can get very fresh and good corn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  On the other hand, if he'd only had "real fresh" corn, he might have forgotten how much of a difference it could make.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Apologies if I missed it but I didn't see anyone here complain about Angelo's first "vegetable" course. I was glad one of the judges commented on it. Pasta and pork belly with a side of mushroom as a "vegetable" course seems like a big stretch!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think Tom Collichio complained about it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/seaso...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Lost him points with the judges, as it should have.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Thanks to my computer, I looked up Rat's Restaurant, Kevin's old restaurant. It has a sophisticated menu and it's very expensive. There's a $105 tasting menu. If a restaurant not that far from New York and Philadelphia offered a $105 menu prepared by a mediocre chef who needed Michael Voltaggio to win, that restaurant would be laughed out of existence. By the way, in elegant decor and setting, Rat's is a jewel. Never having read Wind in the Willows, I assumed a restaurant named Rat's would be a dive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Brian S

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It seems like a bad name for a restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Almost as bad as naming a restaurant 'The Cockroach' and we have one of those in St. Paul.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wow, someone named their place The Cockroach? That's just stupid. On a St. Paul note, I have fond memories of my Jucy Lucy at The Nook, we should bring those to Boston.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, La Cucaracha. Also, one called the Strip Club. I advise against Googling that one...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There are a lot of Twin Cities things that would be hits here. Nye's Polonaise comes to mind ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          choosing restaurant names clearly isn't a strong suit for TC contestants. Rat's, Restaurant Kelly Liken, Searsucker, The Gorbals, Forte di Asprinio, Stefans' at LA Farm...and let's not forget all the stupid & uninspired choices for Restaurant Wars!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is Top Chef, not Top Marketing!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In this case, Kevin works for the restaurant, and is not responsible for its name. Rat's is in a sculpture/garden park called Grounds for Sculpture. From its website:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "Why the name Rat's? In Kenneth Grahame's classic, The Wind in the Willows, one of Seward Johnson's favorite books, the character Ratty represented everything a host should be. As founder of Rat's and Grounds For Sculpture, Johnson likens himself to Ratty who threw the best parties with the best wine. Likewise, the two share delightful imaginations and far-reaching dreams."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So, yes, bad name, but this one's not on the contestant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                re: Rat's, my bad. the way everyone kept referring to it as "Kevin's restaurant" i assumed it was his place and he was responsible for the name.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. I would like to commend the producers this season for canning the product placement quickfire challenges. No gimmicky challenges where they had to incorporate Uncle Ben's rice mixes, junky snacks, Dr. Pepper, etc., into their dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          While I love the relay and prep speed challenges, I did miss having a palate challenge this season. OTOH, the mystery box + additions challenge was probably my favorite ever QF, and possibly the toughest one they've ever had. That was truly suspenseful to watch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ETA: Looking at the statistics, it is interesting to note that Both Harold and Hung each won only one EC during their seasons. Dave Martin, who despite his third-place finish in S1 people generally regard as weaker than some S1 eliminated chefs, won more ECs than anyone else in his season. Looks like Kevin Gillespie holds the record, with five EC wins, followed by Bryan V, Stefan, and Stephanie, with 4 each. Of all of these, the only person with the most EC wins in his or her season who won is Stephanie. All of which goes to show that it really is only the quality of that four-course finale meal that determines the title.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think Top Chef needs the product sponsors for the Quick Fire challenges in order to make enough money to produce the show, and make money.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            They could certainly do a Mystery Box challenge that incorporates sponsored products.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm sort of ambivalent about the mystery box type challenges, reminds me too much of Chopped.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But they didn't have any sponsored-product quickfires this season, so apparently it's not a necessity. TC is rich with product placement (and this season added constant mentions of Hilton to the others), and I'm okay with that. I just prefer that it not involve having to build a dish around a junky product.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It was the progressive nature of the mystery box quickfire that I thought made it so good, and more fun to watch than S2's first-episode mystery box quickfire. But I've never seen Chopped, so I can't compare.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wasn't Schwann's a QF sponsor this season?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, but in the sense that the prize was having the winning dish marketed by Scwann's, not in the sense that they had to incorporate a Schwann's product into the dish. Big difference, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, I see. That might actually be a good challenge though - to take a frozen meal and make it edible!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Except I don't think Schwann's would want to sponsor that challenge. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Prolly not. =)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ok, fair enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But for the QF challenges, instead of making a simple dish in a short amount of time, I'd like it to be more of a test of skills or chef acumen. If I recall correctly, I think this season started off with a QF challenge that required, at least in part, dicing onions and peeling potatoes, etc. More stuff like that would be cool. Quickest to debone and filet a fish. Etc. More focus on technique, and less on taste, for the QF would be a nice change of pace.