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Top Chef All-Stars - Ep. #1 - 12/01/10 (Spoilers)

They're BAAAACCCCKKKKK! And so are we, boys and girls - we've got some Angels, and we've got some Devils coming back to duke it out for another chance to become......TOP CHEF! So is everyone ready for some backstabbing? Only if they're stabbing the backs of...hmmm...what - lobsters? Tee hee!

I am very much looking forward to seeing a lot of favorites come back....I truly think they have a great All-Star group! Okie-dokie - we're OFF and running! w00t!!! Who's gonna go first? 74 minutes and counting....YES, people, it's going to 11:15pm tonight for the first episode!

I'm loving the quick recaps as each of the cheftestants are introduced in the house re: what happened to them in their season. And WHAT a surprise, Marcel is still a jerk. :-/ TRE! My MAN! LOL The latest Fabio line as he's punching the elevator button: "Skyhouse...we're going up but I feel like I going to hell!" :-D And immediately following that line, we get "I not gonna take a bunk bed ever again - I squash my balls in my season and I'm not doing that again!!" LOL Fabio's back - yay!!!

Richard Blais saying the (*his*?) biggest competition is Jennifer Carroll from TC6. Good assessment. And it's BLACK chefs' coats for the All-Stars, and off they go to the TC Kitchen! Padma and Tom greet them, and Padma let's them know the winner will get $200K - the largest prize ever for TC (along with the Food and Wine feature and being featured at the Food & Wine Festival in Aspen).

For the QF Challenge? Don't know yet....they've got to cut to commercial, of course!

Whoa. I just read what I wrote so far. Linda, maybe you went just a *tad* overboard on the exclamation marks? Perchance you're a wee bit excited to have Top Chef back with these great chefs? ;-)

QuickFire Challenge: Each season's chefs work TOGETHER to create ONE dish that must represent the city in which their season was filmed. Winners of the QuickFire will all get immunity.

TC1 is going with a cioppino gazpacho for San Francisco.
TC2 is going with shrimp tacos for L.A.
TC3 is using mangoes, avocados, jalapenos, and pork tenderloin for Miami
TC4 has 4 chefs...could b e a problem! But they're going with deconstructed Chicago Dogs.
TC5 is using apples...a TRIO of apple dishes? Ugh. Trios. Please. STOP with the trios!
TC6 is going with mobster Italian food to represent Vegas. I kinda like that idea, as Vegas doesn't really have a specific food that's related to the city, does it?
TC7 is going with crab cakes for DC.

LOL - "Professor Blais" is breaking out the liquid nitrogen...no surprise there! He made a mustard gelato for the Chicago Dog - I like that!

So - who won? Tom goes over all dishes...sounds like there were several favorites, but TC4 wins for their Chicago Dogs! All 4 get immunity....Richard, Spike, Dale, and Antonia.

Now it's time for the Elimination Challenge...Room Service trays are brought in front of all of the teams and Padma asks them to lift their covers. The ingredients that sent them packing are on the tray - they have to make the dish that sent them home, but make it BETTER. Three hours to prep/plan in the TC kitchen, and then 2 hours at the Russian Tea Room to cook. And Tony Bourdain is back right off the bat! Yay! :::::doing the Snoopy Happy Dance!::::::

They're at the Russian Tea Room - and the kitchen is tight - so Tom comes in to split the group into two groups of 9....and whoever's NOT cooking will get a chance to taste the other group's dishes with the judges! Winner of the EC will get $10K.

Angelo, Dale Talde, Stephen, Fabio, Elia, Richard, both Tiffani's, and Tre are first up. The cheftestants get to watch on a TV in the kitchen what everyone else is saying about their dishes.

Jennifer Carroll was highly complimentary of Richard's dish. And YAY! Dale Talde un-EFFED himself with the butterscotch scallops, per Bourdain! LOL And unfortunately for Fabio, AB *hated* his pasta dish! He called it an "inside out animal." Yowch.

OK, Antonia, Spike, Casey, Marcel, Dale L., Jennifer, Michael, Jaime and Carla are now in the kitchen and the first group is now sitting with the judges. Fabio went right for AB, noting he said he hated it 11 times. :-)

And in the previews for JT, it looks like Fabio's in the Bottom group. Rut-roh. Please don't tell us that he's going home already? We, the viewers, NEED his silly comments! PaLEEZ???????

OK, back to the 2nd group's dishes: AB just called Spike the craftiest MF*cker who's ever been on this show for how he turned around his frozen scallop debacle! LOL But WOW. Jennifer didn't get ANY decent reviews! Could she be the one to go? It will be interesting to see who's in the top and who's in the bottom. And Richard Blais plated after time was up...a problem?

They ask to see Angelo, Richard, Spike and Jaime. Hmmm...this has GOT to be the top group! So Richard is told by Tom that he saw the tapes, and while his dish was excellent, he did go over the allotted time...so he is not eligible to win. Tom says the winner is Angelo - so the dish he got booted for just a few weeks earlier on his season, he wins for this go-round! But Richard Blais seemed to have had the best dish (per Dale T.) and he looks disappointed that he wasn't eligible to win.

Fabio, Stephen, Elia are called in for the bottom group. Not surprised at Stephen being there - he just doesn't seem to be very "cheffy." Fabio and AB go at it, and it could very well be him going home. :-(

The judges say that Elia refused to improve her original dish. Fabio's flavors were too thick and heavy. (I have to agree it didn't *look* all that appetizing!) And Stephen's dish gets compared to a colonoscopy by Anthony Bourdain. Yowza! LOL

Padma tells Elia to pack her knives and go...perhaps that was foretold by the Magical Elves when Elia was shown saying she was going to WIN the All-Stars. Hmmmm....

Oh, the PREVIEWS look great - even TOM gets into one of the competitions...and WHOA - this will definitely be a drama-ridden season, at least in the little bit we saw of the Stew Room and Jennifer taking on Tom Colicchio at JT.

Well, there you go - first Ep is out of the way. How does everyone thing the cheftestants did? Any favorites yet? Nah - too early, I think. Except I still think Blais has a chance. :-)

Toodle-oo - I'm off to try and sleep!

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  1. I'm psyched already! The intro really set the tone, and it looks like it's going to be a great ride. I'm here with you, Linda!

    1. "professor blais"

      haha i like it! wanna try mustard gelato!

      1. Wow, I'm really surprised that so many looked like they gained weight. They were chefs before and they're chefs now. Wonder what changed for so many of them?

        Marcel's point about his season not ever winning cash or prizes is a good one I never thought of!!! First time they saw one of those "high stakes" quick fires in a later season the folks from the first few seasons must have been irate!

        23 Replies
        1. re: charmedgirl

          Well, Marcel was TC1 - they were still trying to figure out if this was going to take off, and I'm sure had a VERY limited budget with which to pay the cheftestants any prizes. As it became more popular amongst the audience, more advertising dollars came into play. Poor Marcel. :-P

          1. re: LindaWhit

            Not saying there wasn't a good explanation. Just saying if I had been on an early season, the first time I saw someone win $10,000 for a quick fire, I'd have had some words to shout at the TV screen. :-P

              1. re: charmedgirl

                True first few seasons you get an autographed book from a guest judge,or something along those lines. Around season 4-5 they started to get a little better. I'd be a little pissed too if I got a book and a few months later someone, perhaps they even learned a few tricks from watching you, gets $25,000 for doing the same thing.

              2. re: LindaWhit

                Marcel was TC2 (just a nit) -- but I don't remember much in the way of prizes before S4? Then the high stakes money came into play in Vegas S6?

                1. re: momjamin

                  Ugh - you're right. I was dog-tired last night (made an offer on a condo, and I was stressing!) and had trouble placing who was on which season. I'll have to print out a spreadsheet with their pictures and Season number! LOL

                  I can't remember when high-stakes came into being - I *think* they might have had a few "extra" prizes in TC3? But don't have time to look for that...at least not yet. I'm sure Wikipedia might have noted it.

              3. re: charmedgirl

                i dont think it is so much they have gained weight (exept fabio has gained quite a bit) as they are "styled" now. They used to all look so ratty.

                1. re: LaLa

                  Ummm.... I'm afraid I have to disagree. I feel fairly certain that several of them have gained a decent amount of weight. It was very striking to me. I don't want to call anyone in particular out though, it doesn't feel very nice, so I'll leave it at that.

                  1. re: charmedgirl

                    uuuummmm...ok. I was just stating my opinion too :) Which I still think but then maybe the weight thing isn't really a "big" issue to me...big...get it...i crack myself up!

                    1. re: charmedgirl

                      With the exception of Angelo and Tiffany, they're all several years older, it happens.

                      1. re: charmedgirl

                        I know who you are thnking of, specifically. At least one big weight gain, and it wasn't that long ago for his season.

                        I thought Fabio (who did not gain weight) looked maybe a little too smooth? Anyway,I was glad he was not eliminated. A 'hint' in another article about Top Chef indicated sadness at someone eliminated early, and I was scared it was Fabio.... Not that I didn't feel bad for Elia, but I never considered her as someone who would make it in the long haul.....

                        1. re: jeanmarieok

                          What the heck happened to Fabio? I barely recognized him!

                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                            i'm with you. others have said he looks good, but i disagree. he needs a haircut, and he just looks haggard. he may have enjoyed a lot of success since his season, but it's taken a toll on him!

                          2. re: jeanmarieok

                            I think Fabio got a show of his own, right after his season...no?

                            1. re: pitu

                              If I heard correctly, he was scheduled to have his own show on Bravo, but plans were cancelled after Chef Academy got poor ratings and Bravo backed off cooking programs.

                          3. re: charmedgirl

                            Several of them struck me as having really gotten in shape since their original seasons, also not to name names because it's not really a beauty contest. I actually thought everybody looked like they were in pretty good fighting trim and ready to kick some ass!

                          4. re: LaLa

                            My observation was that some of them looked notably thinner.

                          5. re: charmedgirl

                            Looks like Tiffany Faison from Season 1 lost weight. She looks good.

                            But what happened to Mike Isabella? He looks like he hasn't stopped eating since he left Las Vegas.

                            1. re: chicgail

                              I think Tiffany Faison looks great - AND her whole demeanor seems to have changed. She is SO much more relaxed - at least so far. I'm rooting for her to be one of the finalists.

                              And yes - both Dales and Mike Isabella all seem to have gained a bit of weight. Didn't Mike get married soon after his season ended? (Not that that would have anything to do with it.) And he and Dale L. both have their own restaurants, so lots of taste-testing? :-)

                              I still wanna smack Marcel. And I'm waiting for Tre to show his stuff. I'm thrilled he's back!

                              1. re: chicgail

                                Totally agree that Tiffani looks great! And I agree she is coming across so much better this time, which makes me very happy. I really liked her in season one and thought she was getting the "villian edit," so I'm glad to see that doesn't seem to be the case this time.

                                1. re: charmedgirl

                                  I met Tiffani about a month ago...she looks great, and she's much nicer than the Elves led us to believe during season one. She does seem to have a no b.s. attitude, but she was very gracious and appreciative of her fans. Her only commentary about this season is that it was a lot of fun...which leads me to believe that she was around for a good amount of it. :)

                                2. re: chicgail

                                  Tiff does look great, also Blais has lost weight as well since his season. And Dale L.'s face is looking a little chunky.

                                  LMAO at the Mike I comment. - more fame and less work perhaps?

                                  1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                    Both Dales and Mike Isabella looked significantly heavier than on their last appearances, I thought.

                                1. re: chris2269

                                  Wow. What happened in this episode to bring that on? Or is it mostly carry over?

                                  1. re: debbiel

                                    Eaten her food in SF. Not bad but nothing I would tell a dear friend to go check out ASAP. Shes taking over/opening a restaurant here in LA and I will check it out but the over bravado (And now thinking of this it was probally coached or encouraged in all of them) is a bit mis placed. The best things at her restaurant in SF where the drinks.

                                    1. re: chris2269

                                      she's been the chef at Beechwood in Venice/MDR since mid-October.

                                      1. re: chris2269

                                        "Eaten her food in SF. Not bad but nothing I would tell a dear friend to go check out ASAP."

                                        Agreed. I live fairly close to Absinthe and ate there several times when she was chef. Not bad but not particularly impressive.

                                        Of course I never tried the scallops. :)

                                        The food has improved since she left.

                                      2. re: debbiel

                                        I agree. During her season she kept saying that everyone expected her to win a quickfire or elimination and she still has that same attitude. She forgot to tell the judges that it was her turn to win. Personally, I don't like it when they talk bad about other's work or to highly of their own. I liked the way Brian Voltaggio carried himself.

                                        1. re: debbiel

                                          For me it was the moment during the quickfire when she said she was so much better than the other chefs during her season and that's why she suggested a trio, so she could do her own thing. Then, when Tom agreed her dish had been the best of the three (total bummer, I wanted him to take her down a notch) they cut to an interview with her where she was like "see, I knew my stuff was the best."

                                          I didn't mind her so much when she was on the first time but man she turned me off last night.

                                          1. re: charmedgirl

                                            charmedgirl, I agree. You'd think she'd get the concept that the quickfire was a challenge that required team work to win (The Chicago group certainly got that: sure, they had a very skilled 'professor' to make the mustard, but it was a team 'take' on an iconic Chicago dish). But no, it seemed she was more interested in showing up her teammates than in winning.

                                            1. re: charmedgirl

                                              When Jaimie's cooking something that Colicchio says is great, I don't want her "taken down a notch". The trio seemed a legit way to go to me, and NYC is full of individualists trying to distinguish themselves from the crowd. The Chicago dog had distinct elements clearly executed by each member, or at least the mustard freeze and the sausage were attributable.

                                              I soooo want this to be about the cooking . . . .........

                                              1. re: pitu

                                                Plenty of contestants through the seasons and last night have demonstrated that there's a way to make delicious food, distinguish yourself, and still behave with kindness and integrity. Last night, Jamie was not one of them.

                                                1. re: charmedgirl

                                                  Though I don't think she's in the top for arrogance, I can see how people could see that in her. I really don't, however, see what she did last night that demonstrated a lack of integrity.

                                                  1. re: debbiel

                                                    She's not in the "top" for anything in my opinion -- cooking, arrogance, or lack of integrity. But I stand by my statement. In any event, to echo what chris said to kick of this side bar, I'm already so over Jamie ... and I'm also sorta over talking about her. To be honest, I find her one of the more boring contestants. So I'll just agree to disagree about it. :-)

                                                    1. re: charmedgirl

                                                      Jaime's not going to win this one and she'll say or do whatever she says or does until then.

                                                      I am just so glad that Lisa who was a finalist on Season 4 is not part of this group. If you want to talk about a mediocre chef overloaded with arrogance, lack of integrity and - mostly - attitude. She is just not missed.

                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                        OMG. Can you imagine Marcel, Lisa, and Mike I. in a kitchen together?

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          Oh, great - now I'm going to have nightmares!

                                                        2. re: chicgail

                                                          I had forgotten about Lisa!! Must have blocked her out. Great point chicgail -- I am super glad she's not part of this cast. (Wonder if she wasn't asked or if she was asked and declined?)

                                                          1. re: chicgail

                                                            <shiver>Lisa<shiver> I don't know that I would have been able to watch this if she had been on.

                                              2. re: chris2269

                                                It was a real buzz kill when she walked through the door. On her season I found her overly annoying and tiresome for someone who never really produced.

                                                1. I'm so sad to see Elia go home. I'm rooting for Jen, Richard, Tiffani. I can't wait to see Stephen and Marcel go home.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: lisavf

                                                    What you said on the "rooting for" and the "can't wait to see go home". But WHICH Tiffani? :-)

                                                    Oh wait - it's Tiffani (with an i) Faison and Tiffany (with a y) Derry. Got it. :-)

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      Yep, Faison. I really liked Tiffany Derry but she didn't knock my socks off. I think Tiffani F. showed real talent.

                                                      It's going to get confusing, 18 contestants and two of them are named Dale, two of them Tiffany/i!

                                                      1. re: lisavf

                                                        I'll make sure I write Dale T. and Dale L., and get the right Tiffani/y! :-)

                                                  2. I'm glad Fabio didn't go home, and, as much as I love AB, I have to agree with Fabio when he stated he could accept and work with constructive criticism (as I feel Tom offered him) but not the kind of comments Tony made.

                                                    Now, those previews of upcoming episodes: is this going to be one brutal season or WHAT?!?

                                                    25 Replies
                                                    1. re: phee

                                                      I disagree - brutal[ly honest] criticism is why AB is there in the first place. It makes for better TV, and Fabio certainly knew what he was signing himself up for going into this competition. He looks unprepared and rusty.

                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                        Or maybe I'm wrong entirely, as Bourdain went and apologized for making Fabio feel sad.

                                                        Man, I just don't understand what this world is coming to.
                                                        *Pours self nice tall bloody mary and goes to bed*

                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                          he didn't *really* apologize. sure, he said he felt bad, but then he went and trashed the dish again. i loved the bad puppy metaphor...classic Bourdain :) and if you read the second page, he tore Stephen a new one. he's still the Tony we know and love!

                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                            God I love his writing. :-) And love that both he and Tom are working the gin drinks at JT! LOL

                                                            And AB was right - Fabio's dish looked hideous. Classic AB comment: "...bringing to mind immediately and inevitably, the command oft directed at a bad puppy: "Go on the paper! The paper!!" "

                                                            OK - just read the end of AB's blog - just freakin' BRILLIANT! LOL
                                                            "Still. I feel bad about beating up on Fabio. Maybe I'm losing my edge. Maybe I should leave the bloodletting to my sinister French colleague, Eric Ripert. Or that English guy ... what was his name? Maybe I should confine myself to constructive criticism. To a kinder, gentler, more mentor-like approach. Wear a big fluffy f---ing sweater to Judges' Table, speak in quiet, melifluous Garrison Keilloresque tones. Maybe lay off the gin.

                                                            Or not."

                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                Why, one just recently opened up in a mall near me! ;-) But...but...but...I want TONY there - not just designing the course! LOL Ahh well, just checked - nothing in MA. Tony will have to make a personal visit. :-)

                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                  wait, what? i guess i should have read the details - i didn't realize he was just putting his name on it and not showing up. forget that!

                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                    No way in the world he could be in all those places (at the same time).. Wonder whether they are using their sales staff to teach his classes, or if they are hiring other cooking teachers to teach the course he "designed."

                                                                    I'm a culinary educator, and I can tell you for sure I wouldn't teach a course someone else designed. My own classes (and recipes) are pretty darned good.

                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                              Bourdain's blog post was pure, brilliant Bourdain. I have no idea if I would like Bourdain's food, but he is a Hell of good satirist.

                                                            2. re: cowboyardee

                                                              I agree, cowboy. I think what made it sting so badly was because everyone else heard the comments as well, which doesn't usually happen.

                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                Am I the only person in the world who can't stand AB? I find him immature and unnecessarily snarky, and just a general PITA. I don't see how anything he does or says can be interpreted as anything other than self-indulgent; certainly nothing helpful or constructive. Evidently since he has his late-in-life wife and baby he's not quite such a drunk/druggie, but he still annoys the heck out of me and I hate episodes he's in.

                                                                1. re: Parrotgal

                                                                  "Am I the only person in the world who can't stand AB? "

                                                                  Yep. Everyone else loves him. He's funny and surly and a little bit drunk just like my favorite uncle.

                                                                  1. re: Parrotgal

                                                                    I agree on your AB take; he's a pissant. Had to explain to a friend last night that the attitude has been finely honed on his own program - which is exactly why I don't watch it. But he's a popular guy cause proven by the Travel Channel giving him enough air time!

                                                                    I'm not a huge Fabio fan, but applauded his bravado in his counter to AB. Get 'em Fabio! lol

                                                                    1. re: CocoaNut

                                                                      I have always been abig fan of AB, but last night I felt he was a bully, and went over a line. Most folks seem to think he was funny, and Fabio should take it. I agree that criticism is to be expected, but it should be about the food, not the person. Also, the judges are in a position of power, so it seemed that maked his criticism, to me, in the realm of bullying.

                                                                      1. re: karenfinan

                                                                        I am not a huge fan of AB either but nothing about Fabio's dish looked appetizing. We eat first with our eyes. A poor dish is a poor dish.

                                                                        1. re: karenfinan

                                                                          When did he comment about Fabio as a person? If he did I missed it - I only heard a scathing critique of his dish.

                                                                          For me, the balancing factor is that AB is just as enthusiastic and outspoken in support of that which he loves as he is in derision of that which he dislikes. He's over the top - of course - but he's honest. In a television personality or writer, that kind of candor is refreshing. Doesn't hurt that he's painfully funny as well.

                                                                        2. re: Parrotgal

                                                                          We are a distinct minority, which I fully acknowledge, but you are NOT the only one. I don't find him remotely funny or entertaining. I dread it every time I see he is going to be on. I also thought Fabio did a great job standing up for himself without sinking to AB's level.

                                                                          1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                            And you know what? AB doesn't have a problem about Fabio standing up for himself. I don't think any of the judges have a problem with the cheftestants standing up for their dish, provided it's valid reasoning.

                                                                            Gail's blog at Bravo's website realizes that the judges usually go into the judging situations with little to no previous contact with the cheftestants, and it makes it easier to judge.

                                                                            However, as Gail said, she realizes she *knows* these people. She's been with them socially; she's eaten at their restaurants. So the judge/cheftestant relationship is now different. She also realized because they are so familiar with each other (as well as the cheftestants having gained knowledge in the ensuing years from their season), it will be much more likely that they'll say something back to the judges to defend their dish. In fact, she pretty much says that that *will* happen (giving us a hint for more interesting JTs).

                                                                            So while Fabio's heavy accent and goofballishness can go overboard, I still don't mind him, although he does draw dangerously near becoming a caricature.

                                                                          2. re: Parrotgal

                                                                            I don't hate AB, but I get pretty tired of his shtick. I can usually take him on TC because his time is pretty limited, but I find his show on the Travel Channel unwatchable.

                                                                            1. re: Nettie

                                                                              I agree -
                                                                              Side kick more than star...

                                                                            2. re: Parrotgal

                                                                              No, you're not the only one. And I detest No Reservations.

                                                                              1. re: tdmort

                                                                                Nice to know I'm not the only one, the constant griping about having to travel all over the world to experience culture and food, what a shame!

                                                                        3. I'm so excited about this season!!!! [extra exclamation marks for Linda. :) ]

                                                                          It looked/sounded like the Chicago team won the quickfire easily. It seemed just much more interesting than the others, and I wanted to eat it.

                                                                          On the "inside out animal" comment. Context is important. That COULD have been a compliment from AB.

                                                                          I really, really wanted Stephen to go, and it looked like that would have been a reasonable choice, too.

                                                                          Marcel and Stephen, and Spike to a somewhat lesser extent, still irritate me.

                                                                          Thanks for the recap Linda!

                                                                          43 Replies
                                                                          1. re: debbiel

                                                                            Agreed on Stephen going home - I, too, wish it would have been him. And I'd add Mike to that group of "irritating" cheftestants. Your mileage may vary. ;-)

                                                                            Also thanks from me for the recap, Linda!

                                                                            1. re: phee

                                                                              Oh yes, Mike. He's in my 2nd tier irritating group with very strong odds of moving to first tier if he stays around. The just a sausage and mustard comment about the Chicago team was sooooo whine-y and off.

                                                                              1. re: debbiel

                                                                                So I'm not the only one that finds those four a little annoying. I mentioned the same in another thread.

                                                                                It seems Elia didn't really want to be there. She didn't do anything to improve her dish.

                                                                                I agree with Fabiola, by the way, but Bravo hired Bourdain to comment exactly as he did in this episode.

                                                                                Did Elia make a threat at the end?

                                                                                1. re: debbiel

                                                                                  He's a 2nd tier talent n this group, too.

                                                                                  1. re: debbiel

                                                                                    I never liked Mike much and he didn't change my opinion of him last night. Although it seemed to turn out OK, he was whining about having a disadvantage by cooking a vegetable dish, when others had meat. It seemed like the problem the first time around when he was eliminated was that he didn't have any respect for a vegetarian dish.

                                                                                    Plus I don't know why he wasn't impressed by the season 4 QF dish--they made and cooked sausage from scratch in 25 minutes? Could anyone tell if it was in casing?

                                                                                    1. re: Nettie

                                                                                      I like Mike I.

                                                                                      I don't think he was wining. They do these little interview setups where each chef sits in front of a camera and is asked questions about their dish. The ones the editors choose are the ones you get to see.

                                                                                      If you were in the challenge and then have to do an interview afterwards you may be asked the question. What was the hardest part of preparing the dish?

                                                                                      The talking head shots aren't real life but more of a collection of sound bites from interview type setups.

                                                                                      1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                        Agreed on the editing--from what I've read about how reality shows work, they also really prompt the contestants to trash talk others. I really doubt that I personally would be able to do a season of one of these without giving the ammunition to make me seem like a monster. This is also why Carla is so awesome: I don't think she said a negative thing about another person during her entire season.

                                                                                        I guess when I say that I don't like Mike, I mean that I don't like the character that they created and are showing me (but it takes a little longer to say all that).

                                                                                        1. re: Nettie

                                                                                          I'm pasting what I wrote from the TC:JD Finale thread here, tweaking it to make sense for this thread:

                                                                                          As someone who is heavily involved with reality television (including several food shows/competition shows), I just want to clear a couple of things up with respect to editing.

                                                                                          1) Producers absolutely DO "coach up" characters/contestants, especially as character "arcs" and story lines are seen developing. Not only this, but some interviewers are VERY skilled in extracting emotions (tears, anger, etc), as well as coaxing individuals to say something they would not normally EVER say.

                                                                                          2) While most people may not be aware, interview bites are HEAVILY edited -- so in essence, yes we CAN make someone say almost anything in interview. We call it "Franken-biting". With a show like TC (and TC Desserts), bites are heavily edited to build drama/tension/conflict, as well as to set up and pay off story arcs (from major to minor).

                                                                                          Some of these Franken-bites are particularly egregious, though if you are not used to working in the industry you most likely won't catch them.

                                                                                          A general rule of thumb for those of you who enjoy reality television -- when it comes to interview bites, if you aren't seeing the person speak on camera, it's at LEAST 50/50 what you are hearing has been edited. Sometimes it's simply for brevity, others it's to completely fabricate a thought/sentiment dramatic point.

                                                                                          *caveat: I do not work on TC:JD, though I know many of the people who do. Just want to throw that out there for full disclosure.

                                                                                          1. re: a213b

                                                                                            Good info. Yes, I'm always aware that when someone is speaking in a voice over, not only is it undoubtedly edited, but it might not even have been said in connection with what's happening on the screen. In particular, when people complains about someone saying something repeatedly, often it's something they said only once or twice that has then been edited in at other times.

                                                                                            1. re: a213b

                                                                                              +100 My husband works in the film industry to his credit he has only done one reality tv show and a music video for a certain group of mtv reality stars but I totally understand the goings on and working of a set be it for television or reality.

                                                                                              The difference is that with reality tv there is no script so they have to pull the story lines together, find the drama and conflicts, film them as they come to climax and eventual resolution. Sometimes they have to dig deep and reach harder to get that, So I know they do those bites to help the story line.

                                                                                              hehehe though never heard them called franken bites but I love it. :)

                                                                                              1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                                You are exactly correct about what we have to do with reality, though some shows are much more produced/"scripted" than others (shout-out to The Hills!).

                                                                                                Not sure in what area your husband works, but if it is Post then he may very well have heard the "Frankenbite" term.

                                                                                                1. re: a213b

                                                                                                  No he is in production Union Gaffer - Grip and Electric but we do know some people who are in post and I see how things go on a film set.

                                                                                              2. re: a213b

                                                                                                **caveat: I also don't work on TC, though again I do know many of the people who do. Though this season they are under "standing orders" not to spoil ANYTHING for me <grin>

                                                                                                1. re: a213b

                                                                                                  hehehe yeah that must be fun trying to get them to talk about it. They are tough though, proven professionals who know the rules and abide by them.

                                                                                              3. re: Nettie

                                                                                                I've got a few buddies I'm fond off who are crass and it's either you love them or you hate them, no middle ground.

                                                                                                These guys while they are crass are actually sweet teddybears underneath. That is kinda how I think of Mike I.

                                                                                              4. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                                I thought I was the only one that didn't hate Mike I. In the interviews I guess it seems like he comes off unlikeable, but from what I've observed from season 6 and the first episode of season 8, it seems like he's gets along well with all of the other chefs. It always looks like he's laughing and joking around with the other cheftestants, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of complaint about him from the others either. Not to mention his food seems pretty solid.

                                                                                                That's just me though...to each his own I guess.

                                                                                                1. re: yummfood

                                                                                                  I think he's totally likable. I love the relationship he has with Jen , they seem like total buddies. He's funny but if you don't have the same sense of humor he does some may find him a bit offensive at time.

                                                                                                  but really to me he just seems like one big lovable ham.

                                                                                                  1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                                    I definitely agree, and there have been a couple of times I've been around him and he is really just a fun guy ... basically exactly as you describe him S_S.

                                                                                                    I don't think he'll win, but I hope he has a strong showing nonetheless.

                                                                                                    1. re: a213b

                                                                                                      yeah I think the poor guy gets discredited for how long he remained on his season. Sure he didn't place exactly near the top but who would when your up against The Brothers V., Kevin and Jen.

                                                                                                      I think he may be cursed with going home in the same place as his season. I think that was 7th.

                                                                                                      I like his food and style as well especially when he does it very well. Interested in finding out about his New Restaurant venture.

                                                                                                    2. re: Sandwich_Sister


                                                                                                      As for his weight gain (also referred to in many posts above, with smart-aleck comments about it) a poster on another board [that LW seems to hate] attributed it to chefs tending to send out lots of free food to him when he went to bars/restaurants to unwind after work.

                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                        I'm assuming you're speaking of TWoP that I "hate"? Can't recall ever saying that. In fact their write-ups are hysterical! I just don't like spoilers.

                                                                                                2. re: Nettie

                                                                                                  I actually think Mike I.'s dish looked really well composed. It also received good reactions from the other TC All Stars.

                                                                                                  It does look like he gained a lot of weight though.

                                                                                              5. re: phee

                                                                                                agreed on both counts. wasnt a fan of mike in his season and still not. and ready for stephen to go home as well already.

                                                                                                1. re: phee

                                                                                                  Where is Stephen's "namesake restaurant?" He said it was named one of Top 10 new restaurants. Anyone know who's list that was? National? Local? In his own mind?

                                                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                    It was in West Palm Beach. I've since herd that he is no longer involved. As far as the "top 10" I belive it was best new restaurant in Palm Beach County, and that was several years ago.

                                                                                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                      If only his Stephen's talent matched his ego he'd be unstoppable.

                                                                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                        EXACTLY. And this is why I seriously doubt he'll go far. From whatever we've seen in the past, he's just not as good as Richard, Jennifer, both Tiffanis, and many others.

                                                                                                        1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                          Aww. Am I the only one who loves Stephen? I think he's pretty funny and it's nice to see a wine guy that can actually cook (agreed, maybe not to the degree of many of the others). I hope he makes it to the end!

                                                                                                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                            "Aww. Am I the only one who loves Stephen?"


                                                                                                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                              You might be. Haha. To each his own I suppose.

                                                                                                              1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                i like Stephen and think he is extremely talented.. He just needs to get back in the groove of being in the kitchen and cooking.. Take off the tie and loosen up a little and the food will come together..

                                                                                                                1. re: SDGourmand

                                                                                                                  Y'know, Stephen was back for a Christmas special or somesuch, and the same observation was made, that he's been off the line and FOH too much to be a real contender. He did a good job of seeing himself on camera and learning from it between the bulk of S1 and the reunion ep (where he apologized to Camille)...you'd think he'd come in better prepared for this whole season of competition (not a one-off special).

                                                                                                                2. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                  I think people will like the new, more mature, gentler, wittier Stephen.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                      Oh, yes, a gentler, wittier, mature, arrogant bad chef is exactly what we are watching TC for.

                                                                                                                      I wish the man no harm, but really ...

                                                                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                    Anyone else remember him saying (at the very beginning) "I'm not nervous. I never get nervous." I was thinking that maybe he should get a bit nervous....(lol)

                                                                                                                3. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                  I think that restaurant is in Florida, tho I can't remember where, and it has an Italian name that ends with ".... Aspirinio." I was surprised to see him back because I felt from the beginning he was more of a FOH man than a chef. I think he is further out of his element than any of the other returning chefs.

                                                                                                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                    They didn't only pick the best chefs from each season, but also the most interesting ones and ones with colorful personalities. He is one of the more colorful personalities.

                                                                                                                    1. re: lenwood

                                                                                                                      Not to mention, the ones who accepted the invitation. Either they want redemption or another self-branding opportunity.

                                                                                                                      1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                        I made a very similar statement last night.

                                                                                                                4. re: phee

                                                                                                                  You're welcome, all, re: the recap! This one just flowed, probably because I was SO DAMNED EXCITED for the show to start again! We'll see how I do 3/4 of the way through the season. ;-)

                                                                                                                  1. re: phee

                                                                                                                    Agreed. The smugger they are, the more they annoy me.

                                                                                                                  2. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                    Bourdain said that Stephen dodged a bullet. It'll be interesting to see how he does in future eps.

                                                                                                                  3. I saw something disturbing in the preview clips they showed at the end...muppets. I first disliked muppets on cooking shows way back when The Frugal Gourmet had one of the furry rags on. I am sorry to see that it appears TC has stooped down there as well.

                                                                                                                    Marcel still thinks the other contestants disliked him because they are threatened by his talent. Apparently he has not matured or changed at all. Why is that not surprising?

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                      Yes, Elmo was touted as one of the "guest stars" in other blogs before the season started.

                                                                                                                    2. first of all, a great big thank you to LW for starting us off with a terrific recap (as always).

                                                                                                                      random thoughts:
                                                                                                                      - i don't dislike Stephen, Marcel or Spike any less than i did during their respective seasons.
                                                                                                                      - *thrilled* to have AB back at JT. only the first episode and he already had some great zingers :)
                                                                                                                      - happy to see that each of top 3 QF teams contained one of my top 3 picks - Tre, Blais & Jennifer.
                                                                                                                      - thought Stephen would go home based on JT, and would have been fine with that, but i was actually somewhat relieved it was Elia, if only so we don't have to listen to her whine or have a breakdown every week. what was up with her?
                                                                                                                      - i miss the old Fabio. i understand why he felt compelled to stand up for himself, and i applaud him for it, but he just seems cranky and sullen these days
                                                                                                                      - think Dale was right that Blais would have won the EC if he hadn't been DQ'd.

                                                                                                                      and based on the previews:
                                                                                                                      - can't wait to see Colicchio compete against the cheftestants!
                                                                                                                      - already dreading the Paula Deen episode.
                                                                                                                      - Muppets? seriously?

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                        GHG, i think i'm right there with you. my own thoughts:

                                                                                                                        i dislike spike, mike, and stephen, but stephen less so.
                                                                                                                        Fabio lost weight, i think he looks good. who cares, it's cooking, but hi, it's a visual media, i have eyes.
                                                                                                                        along the same lines, Tiffany, the redhaired, not the African American, lost weight and straightened hair. think the change is good. They all look older because, you know, time has passed and they're older.
                                                                                                                        Jen looks like she's suffering again from some kind of choking under the gun. I really initially though she would be the take all comers gal.
                                                                                                                        Blais is great, think he has a good shot at this.
                                                                                                                        LOVE fabio, love his silly sayings, but i think yes, he's a bit overaggressive right now.
                                                                                                                        LOVE AB. don't care how over the top, that's what you want him for, plus i respect his food taste.
                                                                                                                        Personally, i want to see Tiffany (African American) make a great showing. i really liked her cooking (and yes, i know we can't taste the food.)
                                                                                                                        While not a fan necessarily of Angelo, glad for him to feel he redeemed himself.
                                                                                                                        While I think Stephen should have gone, i'm ok with Elia going home, because she was too whiny. go shave your head.

                                                                                                                        Thank you Linda, again!

                                                                                                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                          Listen, I do not care what anyone looks like - or if they have gained or lost weight - but Fabio was the one chef who i thought had GAINED weight.
                                                                                                                          I like that he stood up to AB. I am a normally big fan of AB, but I did think that he was unnecessarily harsh tonight. I know that he needs to earn his keep and be the acid tongued renegade his fans (including me) love. But tonight it seemed a little forced and deliberate. Overall, the season looks great - the talent of Top Chef Masters with the competitive attitude of Top Chef nobodies. It'll be the best yet. It's hard to imagine that any of these chefs (except Stephen and Marcel) could be gone because of one tiny mistake. (Stephen and Marcel should be gone already. They aren't good chefs, relatively speaking, and we already know their shtick, so they're entertainment value is nil.) I mean Blais overcooks a steak and he's done? When he is so far (IMHO) the favourite? It could easily happen! That's entertainment! And that's why I'm pumped for the season. Oh, and I understand the dislike of Angelo. But, he has only become more likable with every episode in which he has appeared and he is a number two favourite, I think. Can't wait to see what happens...

                                                                                                                          1. re: bigrow

                                                                                                                            "Stephen and Marcel should be gone already. They aren't good chefs"

                                                                                                                            I'm with you that Stephen is outclassed in this competition (he was my pick to be first eliminated), but I'm in the wait-and-see camp about Marcel. I don't think he was all that great of a chef at the time of season 2 (though he competitive among the other season 2 chefs, of whom only Sam really impressed me with his cooking).

                                                                                                                            But I suspect he may have upped his game since then. He's very ambitious. He's put in time with Robuchon and worked for Michael Voltaggio. And his style would play well in competition if he's honed it and improved his judgment. I don't pick him to win either, but I wouldn't be surprised if he wins a few challenges and knocks out some real killer dishes before getting cut.

                                                                                                                      2. I'm glad that Elia left, for both culinary and entertainment reasons. I kind of wanted it to be Fabio just for the shock value, but then they would never eliminate a fan favorite like Fabio first on an all stars season, and I do look forward to more entertainment from Fabio, even though he acted like an idiot tonight. But Elia didn't seem to do much to change her dish from the losing dish that it was in the first place, and she is pretty boring TV.

                                                                                                                        Mike was just as irritating as in his season ("sausage and mustard", really?) but I look forward to more Blais, Jenn and Carla especially, and definitely to Bourdain as a judge. This will be a fun season.

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                                          I agree, the first whiner should always be voted off the island, and she was a whiner.

                                                                                                                        2. Linda, I did flash that Elia's overconfident statement probably foreshadowed her imminent doom; seems as though that show has become the tiniest bit predictable vis-a-vis the Chef's "confessional" moments.
                                                                                                                          I like Richard Blais. I respect his authority and what he does. That being said, I don't think he'll win because he takes such a strong line with the molecular gastronomy thing though he's a bit more balanced than, oh say, Marcel. I may be recalling wrong here, but I don't think anyone who's been slanted in that direction has won yet; the judges seem to be more classically-oriented.
                                                                                                                          I think Tiffany (the beautiful black girl) stands to win this one, folks. She's a dark horse for reals.

                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                            I expect that Tiffany will be the strongest female competitor, too. Jen didn't seem to be on her game yet, but she's probably the next strongest female. And I don't want Angelo to do well. I think he was overrated - but, I never tasted his food, it was just his attitude that put me off. Looking forward to next week.

                                                                                                                            1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                              Jen may not have been on her game yet, however they did have to fast edit her breaking down of raw lobsters as she snapped the tails off the bodies as a little boy does with bugs.

                                                                                                                            2. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                              Mike Voltaggio definitely used molecular gastronomy. By his season, MG wasn't as "out there" as when Marcel was doing his mad scientist thing -- both Volt bros incorporated it in as low-key a manner as any other chef would saute or braise. And the judges had gotten past the novelty and recognized it as a set of valid techniques (at least in mature hands like Blais and the Volts), not just bells and whistles.

                                                                                                                              I like Blais. I like his imagination, off-center sense of humor, and his game play. He plays the game (as he described in a blog a few seasons ago) as a good competitor should -- always trying to think ahead, interpret Padma's turns of phrase, wonder why they're going somewhere or seeing something. Not game play like Spike's -- let me take the protein that will cripple the most people whether I'm going to actually use it well or not. I hope Blais doesn't get caught up in his own head games and putting too much importance on winning this -- when he's in Willy Wonka mode, he's great.

                                                                                                                              1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                when he's in Willy Wonka mode, he's great.


                                                                                                                                1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                  You know, I didn't think about Michael Voltaggio - and I think it was because as you say, he didn't go all Dr. Frankenstein and insist on making nice meaty jello with tobacco and bourbon foam garnished with agar stars tinted with squid ink.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Parrotgal

                                                                                                                                      No, Michael Voltaggio used Molecular Gastronomy as well, but as mamachef said, he didn't go all Dr. Fronkenstein and create oddities with the MG. His was a light touch, but it wasn't the focus, as Marcel often made it.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Parrotgal

                                                                                                                                        I remembered Marcel as being famous for one foam after another, until Tom said Enough, already! I didn't find his use of Molecular Gastronomy particularly sophisticated... (a la Voltaggio and Blais). Molecular Gastronomy wasn't nearly "new" in Season 2. It's been around for many more years than that.

                                                                                                                                2. Am I the only one that didn't like the quick fire? I liked that they had to represent their TC city, but I didn't like the fact that teams of 2 were competing against teams of 3 or 4. A team of 4 won, and it seems obvious to me that they should have been able to easily accomplish more than a team of 2. And having 4 people with immunity just kinda rubbed me the wrong way. Otherwise, I loved it. I thought the elimination challenge was genius! I really didn't know if I'd get into seeing all these folks back - I've been a devoted follower since the very first episode. But my husband and I both couldn't believe how excited we were to watch them compete again. It's gonna be a great season!

                                                                                                                                  15 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: centralpadiner

                                                                                                                                    Team of four could accomplish more but not necessarily better. Too many cooks, you know...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                      agreed. i thought the smaller teams had the advantage because in such a short period of time it's easier for them to focus and get it done instead of tripping over each other or butting heads. besides, as we've all seen on TC and TNIC, less is often more.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                        I think it bothered me more that 4 people got immunity, leaving 14 available for elimination, while if a team of 2 got immunity 16 would be up for possible elimination.... that's actually a pretty significant alteration of the odds.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: centralpadiner

                                                                                                                                          I had exactly the same thought about it being unfair to the others to remove 4 possible eliminations.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                            It would be unfair if the pool was smaller and the choice was random. But it's not random "odds" -- the only way you would be eliminated is if you cook a bad dish. Being the worst dish of 14 instead of the worst dish of 18 is still worthy of elimination, and as it was, none of the contestants with immunity cooked bad dishes anyway (they always bring the bad dishes to judges table even if the person has immunity).

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                              I actually don't recall that, Ruth. Can you give an example of a person with immunity getting called out at judges table? I certainly recall negative comments while the judges are sampling a persons food. But I can't think of a single time that a person not eligible to be eliminated was called to judges table. It wouldn't even make sense to do so, since the point of judges table is to create the drama for the viewers of wondering which was going home. That would certainly be easier to guess if 1 out of the 3 had immunity. I should add that I haven't missed an episode in all 8 seasons, including Just Desserts (although I haven't watched any of Masters). This doesn't mean my memory couldn't be failing, but it would have had to be a rare instance if it happened at all.

                                                                                                                                              As to being unfair. I agree that the worst dish is the worst. But, we have all seen episodes where the chef with immunity doesn't put out his best work. Being the worst out of 14 is certainly harder than being the worst out of 16. That is why it gets harder as the season goes on. Even the judges will say that when them competition gets stiff, it is very small details that get someone sent home, not necessarily a "bad" dish.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: centralpadiner

                                                                                                                                                I can't remember a specific example, but I have a distinct memory of the judges saying that it was a good thing the contestant had immunity or they might have gone home. It certainly happens to people during team competitions, where the team wins and thus no member of the team can be eliminated, no matter how bad their dish is. If you think about it, team elimination challenges are much more unfair, because as many as half the remaining competitors aren't up for elimination. That's why restaurant wars often seems so cruel: if your team loses you have a one-in-three or four chance of going home instead of one-in-six or eight.

                                                                                                                                                ETA: If you look at the charts on the wikipedia sites for each season you can find examples. In season one, episode 5, Andrea won immunity in the quickfire and was in the bottom at judges table. More recently, in season 7, episode 6, Kelly was in the bottom at judges table but was "safe" because she had immunity.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                  I think it has happened several times where someone with immunity has need up on the losers end of JT. I think it was mostly in earlier seasons.

                                                                                                                                                  In season 2 there was an elimination challenge where 5 contestants had to cook Thanksgiving dinner for the other 5 chefs that had immunity. Their chances of being
                                                                                                                                                  eliminated were doubled. This was the episode where Bourdain asked Collichio "what kind of crack-house are you running here"?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                    Being the TC nerd that I am, here are a couple of instances off the top of my head:

                                                                                                                                                    1. Tiffani Faison had immunity in the children monkfish elimination challenge. Her team lost. Colicchio stated that she was lucky to have immunity because her attitude towards the kids challenge was lousy.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Brian Malarky had immunity and was called in for the Elks Club because he made a lobster dish for a low cholesterol challenge.

                                                                                                                                                    3. Casey Thompson had immunity and Colicchio stated that the reason why her team was called in to be on the bottom was because her dish was the weakest out of the three (the other two being Howie and Joey).

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                      I seem to remember some disdain, at least from Tom, for Angelo's celery with peanut butter mousse in the school lunch episode in Season 7. Pretty sure he had immunity then.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bear

                                                                                                                                                        Yes he did have immunity. I remember someone thinking he had planned to do that to try and get Kenny out, but I don't really think that was his intention.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                                                                                          Brian's (which I admit, I don't remember) was the only example that wasn't a team challenge (I didn't look through every challenge on the wiki - just among those mentioned above). Unfortunately, a whole team loses but only one member of the team can go home - and yes, the whole team has to appear at judges table. I agree with you regarding the fairness of this. I am sure it's been brought up before. But, the teams are, IIRC always equal in size. In this case, they weren't - which altered the "fairness" of the challenge, IMO. As others have pointed out, you can see advantages and disadvantages to being in a larger or smaller group. It was an unusual thing for them to do on the show. I didn't particularly like it. It just seemed awkward somehow that groups of 2, 3, or 4 were competing against each other, and then on top of that, all members of the winning group got immunity regardless of size. I realize it's the way the game is played, just like the inherent unfairness of the team challenges . . . some people get carried through on someone else's back, and others end up going thanks to someone else's horrible mistake. When this happens on team challenges, there is usually a cacophony of dissent on the board - yet none, except mine, in this case. Surprised, that's all.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: centralpadiner

                                                                                                                                                            Well I think people might feel differently had 2 of the 4 of the QF winners who had immunity were in the bottom but all did very well.

                                                                                                                                                            You are correct though there have been times when people have skated through with the help of others on their team, and some have gone home to horrible team mistakes before their time.

                                                                                                                                                            I always thought that Robyn got a hand from Michael V in a team challenge where I think Radika fizzled out on FOH in her season and was sent packing probably a little before her time.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                                                                                              Radhika and Robyn were contestants in different seasons.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                Yes I know that. I was just using them both as an example one, Robyn seemed to be helped and carried by her stronger team mate - Micheal V.

                                                                                                                                                                In Radika's season she ended up being FOH because none of her teammates wanted to be FOH and she went home.

                                                                                                                                    2. Liked the episode. Glad that Elia was the first to go. She was irritating on her season always complaining and whining about something.

                                                                                                                                      Chicago did have an advantage on the quick fire as there were four of them.

                                                                                                                                      Liked the way they had Fabio discussing ‘bunk’ and ‘bunky’ beds. Wonder if he’ll be as charming with improved English skills.

                                                                                                                                      What does worry me are the previews. Not overly thrilled to see the Muppets (Not that I dislike them.)

                                                                                                                                      BUT!! Way less than thrilled to see Paula Deen on the show. What I liked about TC was that it was FN free. Real chefs cooking real food. With Deen coming on almost makes me want to turn the TV off. I want to get away from the assorted. FN idiots! Makes me wonder if TC has jumped the shark or at the very least approaching the ramp.

                                                                                                                                      20 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                        Yeah, the Paula Deen preview comment seemed rather "in your face" to whoever she was speaking to. I wonder if someone gives her shite and she's giving them what-for? Ugh - either way - that's an episode I'm not really looking forward to.

                                                                                                                                        And I'll reserve judgment on the Muppets being there....the ONLY reason I can see them being there is because they're introducing something about cooking for kids. That would make sense, yes? We did see a preview where there are kids in the shot, so I'm assuming it's cooking at a school or something like that.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                          The new TV Guide has a whole article, and the muppets is (I believe) a QF where the contestants have to make cookies. Must be a QF because they wouldn't have an elimination where they just make cookies. They said the puppeteers actually did the cookie tasting and I assume weighed in on the winners/losers.

                                                                                                                                          And Paula Deen? Not looking forward to that one, either. But from the setup, it looks like maybe it will just be a QF (she was talking to the chefs in the TC kitchen, which is usually done for the QF, not the elimination).

                                                                                                                                          And yes, FINALLY, they go head-to-head against Collichio! Can't wait for that one!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                            I got the new TV Guide last night, but didn't read it yet. But Padma is looking quite fetching on the cover in her "50's persona". :-)

                                                                                                                                            And if it's a cookie tasting, shouldn't the COOKIE MONSTER be there?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                              I think he was. I know I said I was less that thrilled that they were on. Me like Cookie Monster. So I'll watch for sure.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                Yep, it's Cookie Monster, Elmo and Telly. Not sure who Telly is, but definitely Cookie Monster is there!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                  Telly's like the Eeyore of the Muppets, IIRC. Not sure what he'll bring to the table. Not that I think Elmo will add anything either. As if Spike, Marcel, and the gang weren't annoying enough.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                  Wow, maybe I'm twisted but I can't wait for Anthony Bourdain to cross paths with Paula Deen and the Muppets. G & Ts, Tom, Tony and Elmo? Yes!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                                                    LOL! My understanding prior to the season started was that AB wouldn't be on *every* episode - he'd alternate with Gail Simmons. So they might have cute, cuddly Gail Simmons with the Muppets rather than cute, cuddly AB. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                      Just so you know there is no cute, cuddly AB :) Unless he is talking about his daughter.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chris2269

                                                                                                                                                        Just so you know there is no cute, cuddly AB :)
                                                                                                                                                        Sez you. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                3. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                  I wondered if the groups with 3 or 4 people were actually at a DISadvantage, because they had to make a cohesive dish with so many different styles, strong personalities, etc. It seemed to me that Stephen/Tiffani and Marcel/Elia were much more organized and in control than those other groups. Lots of times it's easier for 2 people to work together than 4, I think.

                                                                                                                                                  ...that being said, both of those pairs were in the bottom, so maybe I am completely wrong!!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                                                                    nope, i agree with you - that's what i said above. i think smaller groups have the advantage in situations like this.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                    I was glad to see Elia go, too. She says she's "come into her own" -- if so, then "her own" is whiny, untalented and totally lacking in self-awareness. She has a real nerve to complain about Marcel being immature!

                                                                                                                                                    Fabio, I'm sad to say, seems to have read too much of his own publicity. Instead of being funny and charming he's now pompous and taking himself much too seriously. I won't be sorry to see him go.

                                                                                                                                                    I was really impressed by the Season 4 gang -- that really was a talented bunch!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                      Actually, if you look back at the video, neither Ilan nor Elia shaved their heads until after they tried to shave Marcel. And Elia, at the start of the season, had Marcel's back as she had worked with him before. But she then got sucked into Sam's and Ilan's teenage clique mentality.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                        Yes, at the time there was a lot of "Zaprudering" of the video that revealed a somewhat different timeline than the one depicted. I've never decided whether it was better or worse that she shaved her head afterwards -- worse, because if they hadn't already shaved their heads it really makes it seem more like a vicious attack aimed specifically at Marcel (whose hair was his most distinctive feature) than "hey, we did it, he should, too," or better because doing it afterwards could be seen as an act of contrition on her part.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                          "Zaprudering"--love that. TC at the level of presidential assassination? I think not. And yet some . . .

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                        Ruth, I agree with you on Fabio. His humor, which was charming the first time around, seems to have developed an intolerant, arrogant edge, which I found extremely unlikable. During Judge's Table, he looked like he was spoiling for a fight with Bordain, and he took the criticism as a personal attack. His dish was fairly unappetizing, and I don't know why serving pasta on paper makes a dish rustic. Houston, we have a machismo problem.

                                                                                                                                                    2. There isn't much to say that hasn't been already, but I will throw in my two cents anyway. I think Blais is tops right now. If Jen can get out of her own way she will be up there. Hopefully Tre brings it. I think the two from last season actually will make solid dark horse candidates (Angelo and Tiffany). Stephen needs to be gone yesterday. Hopefully he is next to go. I have to say, btw, I am really happy to have Carla back in my life. I really hope she sticks around for awhile.

                                                                                                                                                      1. Thanks for the recap.

                                                                                                                                                        That Angelo certainly is a smug racoon, eh?

                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                          There is a lot of smug in that group. Angelo. Marcel. Stephen. Jamie. Spike.

                                                                                                                                                          What bothered me was Angelo's "who, me?" reaction when he won. It's so insincere and inauthentic. And he only won because Richard Blaise was disqualified.

                                                                                                                                                        2. Did anyone else catch the part with Mike Isabella during the Quick Fire when he was asked if he made the bucatini? He said he did make it, which to me meant that he actually made the pasta. But then he shot a look at Jennifer that looked like he was full of %@$*. Did anyone see him making pasta? Can you make bucatini in 25 minutes? Just wondering...

                                                                                                                                                          12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sibeats

                                                                                                                                                            No chance can you make bucatini in 25minutes. I doubt they even have the press for it.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: SDGourmand

                                                                                                                                                              That's what I thought...but I was sure he said he made it...but then looked rather sheepish or guilty...

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: sibeats

                                                                                                                                                              he actually said that then you know Butoni to Tom....meaning I boiled the sponsers product.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: SDGourmand

                                                                                                                                                                  Nope. He definitely said he made the bucatini. I don't see why an experienced pasta maker couldn't make it in 25 minutes. The Top Chef kitchen has all kind of gadgets -- if they have liquid nitrogen they undoubtedly have a pasta extruder.

                                                                                                                                                                  I think the reason he was qualifying what he said was that he made the pasta itself, but his teammates made the sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                    Because bucatini has to be dried first.. and I've also read that this kitchen has less equipment than usual..

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                      He did say he made it, but he had a shite eating grin and Tom gave him a double take and half laughed. I'm fairly sure he was kidding and Tom knew it and just played along.


                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                        i watched it again last night, and they showed him working with what looked like a light yellow dough in a bowl. i honestly think he did make the pasta, because if he didn't, then Jen was really responsible for the entire dish and i think he would/should have been called out for it.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                          Didn't they show the pasta being cut with about 3 minutes left??

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                                            Fabio was making the pasta in that shot.


                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: sibeats

                                                                                                                                                                    I heard sarcasm in his bucatini statement..like "yeah right, I made bucatini in 25 minutes"

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gfweb1

                                                                                                                                                                      That's how I took it. My _Encyclopedia of Pasta_ implies that modern bucatini is exclusively factory-made.

                                                                                                                                                                  3. Having the real Top Chef back made me realize what a poor substitute TC:JD was! The whole season of Desserts combined didn't give me as much of a thrill as last night's episode. I'm actually really looking forward to watching it again!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. What i would like to see is "Top Chef Champions". watching all the winners compete would be fun, but that probably wont come until after season 10 though.

                                                                                                                                                                      50 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gmiof

                                                                                                                                                                        I know I'm in the minority on this but I was hoping Fabio would go, I've had enough of him already.
                                                                                                                                                                        Watch out for Antonia, she rocked it last night and she seems very calm, cool and focused.
                                                                                                                                                                        I think Angelo and Blais will be going toe-to-toe right to the end.
                                                                                                                                                                        Dale T was very impressive, if he can keep his temper under control he may be a force to be reckoned with.
                                                                                                                                                                        Dreading Paula Deen.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                          Count me as one who never thought they'd hear Top Chef and Paula Deen in the same sentence. Or paragraph, for that matter.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                                            LOL! The little preview we saw was nails on a chalkboard for me. The voice just grates. It just seems overly affected to emphasis deep deep deep deep DEEP "homey South".

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                            You and I must be the only two people on earth who find Fabio irritating! I think he's just too full of his own Italian cuteness.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Parrotgal

                                                                                                                                                                                Can't stand him and for a off the boat italian to put out a pasta like that, disgraceful!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Parrotgal

                                                                                                                                                                                    i dislike fabio as well.
                                                                                                                                                                                    and was reminded of how much i couldn't stand elia - was glad to see her go.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                      agree about Elia, I felt she and the others who attacked Marcel on season two should have been criminally prosecuted. I thought it was very rich that she said at the beginning of the show that she hoped Marcel had matured....seems to have no self awareness ( at least as she is portrayed)

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: karenfinan

                                                                                                                                                                                        When did Elia attack Marcel? They took the video camera from them and used the footage. If anyone other than Cliff had 'attacked' Marcel they would have been booted with Cliff. (And there wouldn't have been the final two episodes).

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                          They all -- including Elia -- ganged up to instigate the attack on Marcel, although Cliff was the only one who laid hands on him. That's why Tom wanted to disqualify all of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Karen, I was thinking just the same when I posted above.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                              Cliff was the only one that 'attacked' Marcel. While I think maybe Ilan may have a little overboard with his hatred of Marcel, in my book Marcel deserves most of the verbal abuse he received. He lashes out at others because he is insecure. He hurts others before they hurt him. If he would just be cvil he would have a much easier time at TC.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Really? Then why did Tom consider all of them responsible? Ilan was definitely the instigator -- it was his idea and he was the one who egged Cliff into doing it (IIRC Sam was holding the camera), probably because Ilan isn't big enough to wrestle Marcel down. Then he stood back and smirked while Cliff took the fall.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                  IIRC, Ilan was holding the camera as well as instigating. A brief shot of Sam showed him sitting on a sofa and looking uncomfortable, but not intervening or speaking up to object. Elia wasn't in the footage shown of the head shaving incident, at least not that I can remember, though she did say she there and a part of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Elia was there. She is shown briefly off to the side in some of the footage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Like I said, if they had video footage of someone other than Cliff attacking Marcel they would have shown it. I'm not defending their behavior, just clarifying the facts of what happened. It seems as if everyone refers to this as an act where Marcel's head got shaved. It didn't. The only heads shaved that night were Elia's and Ilan's and they both showed little class. It was a prank that quickly got out of hand. The producers are also partly responsible since they provide so much alcohol and nothing else other than food in their dorms. They got drunk and made bad decisions, but the facts are still the facts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, Tom wanted to send them all packing, but they wouldn't have had the final two episodes if they had done that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      "It seems as if everyone refers to this as an act where Marcel's head got shaved. It didn't. "
                                                                                                                                                                                                      it's just a matter of convenience/efficiency. it's a lot easier to refer to the "head-shaving" incident than to the "Cliff-pinned-Marcel-down-and-threatened-to-shave-his-head-while-Ilan-filmed-it" incident.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                        "it's a lot easier to refer to the "head-shaving" incident than to the "Cliff-pinned-Marcel-down-and-threatened-to-shave-his-head-while-Ilan-filmed-it" incident."

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Well, yes, but that;s the truth. :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        You're being obtuse. No one is disputing the fact that Cliff was the only one who laid hands on Marcel, but it was Ilan's idea -- Cliff wouldn't have done it if Ilan hadn't suggested it and egged him on. The fact that Ilan didn't touch Marcel doesn't mean he wasn't part of the attack -- someone who hires a hit man is just as guilty of murder as the person who actually carries out the murder. Ilan is a typical little weasel who gets someone bigger to do his dirty work while he stands back and watches with enjoyment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        As you pointed out, the reason they weren't all kicked off the show was that the producers would have been left without a finale, not because they weren't culpable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Exactly - Ilan knew *exactly* what he was doing. He was the one calling the shots and convincing others to join in his nasty reindeer games....and then sat back and watched it unfold while he tried to keep his hands clean.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                            OMG! I didn't know they hired a hit man! That must have been the woman that hit Marcel with the bottle in the bar. Why did they invite Elia back after she hired that woman to hit Marcel with the bottle?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Marcel was attacked with a wine bottle by a drunk viewer...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                obviously John E was being facetious about Elia having hired the woman to do it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The producers are also partly responsible since they provide so much alcohol and nothing else other than food in their dorms.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ummm...the cheftestants are big boys and girls. They can make their own decision to drink or not to drink. They knew when they signed up there'd be no Internet, no TV, no newspapers, no radio...just themselves. So putting any blame on the producers in this situation seems rather odd, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Somehow all the other contestants on every other season have managed to refrain from assaulting their fellow contestants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Plus, we all get bored from time to time - but it doesn't make me want to attack people. Maybe try sudoku instead. =)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Funny how that happens when you're a grown-up and realize consequences for actions, huh? ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's my point exactly. They all make their own decisions. Cliff made the decision to attack Marcel. You cannot place the blame on others for that if you're going to make them responsible for their drinking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ??? You said the producers are partly responsible for the attack on Marcel. I disagreed with you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cliff also made his own decision and others cannot be blamed for what he did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And yet in your post at Dec 03, 2010 12:37AM, YOU said:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "The producers are also partly responsible since they provide so much alcohol and nothing else other than food in their dorms."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That's rather contradictory, John, don't you think? Can't have it both ways.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I guess it could seem so what contradictory if you didn't understand my point. The producers provide them with alcohol and nothing else except for food. They get I to trouble that way. Each individual is responsible for heir own actions ultimately even with the help of alcohol or ideas from others. Obviously the producers can't hold someon accountable for something they said ("let's shave Marcel's head") because they want them to say outrageous things that's what gets ratings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No, you don't seem to understand my point, as you continue talking in circles. You original partially *blamed* the producers for what happened in Marcel's season and then you said "others cannot be blamed for what Cliff did" and "you cannot place the blame on others." Circles. Contradictory.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But you know what? I'm done talking about Marcel's season. Yet again, the head-shaving incident has gotten more attention than it ultimately needs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mouthing off and doing something physical are substantially different. That has been the point I have been trying to make that you seemed to miss. But you're right, it's over and done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ilan much like a mean girl in high school instigated the event and Elia for lack of a better word was his b***h . In fact Ilan, whatever his issues were, seemed to be gunning for Marcel right from the start. Ilan and 'classy' are mutually exclusive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The poster said they showed "little class" (meaning they were not classy), not "a little class". I think you're in agreement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ah. Thanks for pointing that out. In agreement but apparently can't read. Will edit post accordingly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    just one other note. i watched it again last night, and they had that little clip from the dinner show last year when Fabio & Marcel locked horns...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Marcel specifically said to Fabio, "Do also want to talk about when they shaved my head? When they held me down?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    so even Marcel talks about it as if they did, in fact, shave his head.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Imho, Marcel was and is the single most annoying contestant ever on Top Chef. He is all about getting as much attention for himself as he can. I remember that episode very well, and his head was not shaved, and he was not hurt, other than his exTREMEly large ego. At thi time, I felt it was unfair that only Cliff got punished for the incident, since although he was the only one to actually touch Marcel, the others were just as in on the prank, if not more so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: karenfinan

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Attacked? For the most part it was a harmless prank. It went downhill because of the way that Marcel acted. If it was someone else (most people) it would have been a funny situation, as it was intended. I certainly would have laughed it off and joined the "If Elia does it..." boat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            On Elia and her confidence, it didn't seem like she changed that much. I remember back when she made the "kiss" chocolate dessert and just broke down when not all of them formed properly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ediblover

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Someone much larger than he was grabbed him while he was sleeping, wrestled him to the floor and put him in a headlock. How is that not an attack? And since Elia and Ilan didn't actually shave their heads until after the ... incident ... I suspect that they didn't originally intend to do so, but were really intent on shaving Marcel's head because his hair was such a distinctive feature. Can't you see them sitting there, drinking, and talking about how annoying Marcel is, and then saying "I even hate his hair, wouldn't it be great to shave his head..." and then things deteriorating from there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm not even sure who to respond to, but here it goes...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Do we really need to rehash the whole "almost" head shaving incident? How many years ago was it? There are way more things to discuss about the current season than going over it again & again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Enough already, let's get back to this season...Ok rant over

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: ediblover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's a harmless (relatively) Jackass-style prank when you do it to someone whom you like and you know will take it in stride, perhaps vow to get even, whatever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                When you physically pin down someone you dislike and are not on friendly terms with, it's battery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Exactly. Very well stated. It was a physical assault, not merely prankish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          4. re: Parrotgal

                                                                                                                                                                                                            He's arrogant, limited in his repertoire, and certainly not the best chef on the show. That being said, I like to look.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Parrotgal

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm in that camp as well. His shtick wares thin after a while. "Look at me I'm Italian and I sometimes say funny things because my language skills are 'no' so good.' Okay we get it you're Italian. Move on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              That being said they seemed to play down that part, so far. Which is good because after a while he just started to sound like Manuel from Fawlty towers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I agree. I actually liked Fabio during his season, but for some reason he seems changed this time around. Just annoying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          5. I gotta ask: Why the Muppet hate here? I love the Muppets! I'm sure that will be a children's challenge, but I hope they do something fun with the Muppets myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I love the Muppets as well. But unless it's a kid's challenge or something involving kids, having the Muppets there just doesn't make sense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              But I'll survive. I survived seeing Pelosi last season. The Muppets will be light-years better than that. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                See, I don't think it even needs to be a kids challenge though. Most of those chefs would have been fans of or at least been aware of Sesame Street and the original Muppet Movie and possibly the show when they were young. The Muppets for them may be nostalgic, so there may not even need to be kids involved. I know I would embrace a Star Wars or Ninja Turtle challenge personally regardless of if kids were involved or not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                But I'm pretty sure it will be a kids challenge anyway. They always have one of those after all. Or it seems like they do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Muppets have their own show. I don't particularly like it when they bring kids into the kitchen either. I guess I don't mind it on TC so much but when Lidia Bastianich brings her three year old grandkids on her show I can't turn it off fast enough. Same for the Muppets. It's mind numbing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Thanks Linda, I missed it and even though I know I'll catch it, I definitely wanted to know what happened. Thanks for the wrap-up

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Padma gained weight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fabio needs to buy one size larger when shopping for shirts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The whole TV-camera in the kitchen thing gave the episode a weird psychology-science experiment feel to the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think Padma's baby weight gain has remained in her boobage. Not that that's a bad thing for those men (or women!) who like ogling that. ;-) I do think she looks better now than a few seasons ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Lest I forget my manners ... thank you for the recap, Linda.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        She does look better -- softer in a good way, and her manner seems to have become softer as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Being a mother will do that to you ... being a father as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Loved loved LOVED it! So excited to see this season because last season seemed so anti-climatic.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's going to be a fun ride!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Did nobody mention Richard Blais going over the allotted time when he was foaming his pork belly dish? He seems like an honest and sincere guy and he looked completely stunned when they disqualified him. He had immunity and didn't have to pay that much attention to detail, but I think that simply shows the high degree to which he always cooks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        32 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jackbauer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I did in my OP. But I agree - I think he was just so focused on plating he didn't hear the beeping timer. He might think it unfair, but if everyone else follows the rules, so must he. (Blais, that is.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jackbauer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think it was handled well by all--they had to disqualify him because he did go over but they did acknowledge his dish being excellent. He accepted that he had to be disqualified, though it bothered him to lose, and I'm assuming the $10,000 was a big part of it. I think they could have edited it to make him a villain and look like he did it on purpose but they showed that he was surprised by that. I can imagine in a hectic kitchen that you tune into what you're doing and tune out the noise. I feel bad for him but I have the feeling he'll win plenty of challenges before this is all over. I still remember him for giving Stephanie half of his challenge winning because he thought she deserved it. He's a class act.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And yet we don't know if hw would have won the 10k since the only person to say he would have won was Dale Talde.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think Blais had the best dish, being that his dish was served same group as Angelo's winner, but both diner comments about Angelo's dish was that it was one of the best/favorite, not straight up naming it the favorite, implying at least 1 stronger dish was out there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: jackbauer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tre definitely said to him (or right next to him), "it's time, it's time" and then Tiffani says, "they have to be ready to go." So either he didn't hear someone call "time" or he didn't hear the others' comments.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jackbauer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Also of note - according to the blogs, a fellow contestant turned him in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Any speculation as to who it was?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There's a video as well - not sure if there are names named, as I haven't watched as I'm at work, but Blais is "plotting revenge" (I think in jest). :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: jackbauer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  so here's an issue no one has bothered to address yet...what would have happened to Blais if he *didn't* have immunity? anyone think it would have gotten him sent home? i get the sense they almost would have HAD to send him home, otherwise what's the point of the rules?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  now THAT would have sucked. big time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe they would have just put him in the bottom 3 and mulled over whether his transgression was more offensive than the food the others put out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I was wondering that, too. But, they have kept contestants who didn't follow the rules before or the challenge, because the food was good enough to overlook the problems.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yup. I can't think of one single instance where someone who produced an otherwise excellent dish was sent home solely because of a rule infraction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm pretty sure that Tom C. mentioned in his blog post that breaking the rules makes you ineligible for the win rather than an automatic elimination.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Of course, that might depend on how you broke the rules . . . Cliff and the incident with Marcel is the obvious example. But that's not related to the cooking, rather to the basic house rules agreement signed by all contestants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: centralpadiner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, here it is:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "One doesn’t lose for working past the time-limit; one simply cannot win that challenge."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i'm having a hard time recalling examples of infractions. forgetting the head-shaving incident because that's a whole different animal, when did someone break the cooking/timing rules in the past?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In TC:JD, there were at least two QuickFire challenges where a contestant didn't finish the challenge (Malika and Yigit) and were disqualified from winning that challenge - but certainly not from the whole competition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                QuickFire challenges aren't elimination challenges, so there's no reason for them to be eliminated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think the person who described it as "cheating" was overstating the issue. It wasn't as if he needed the extra time to finish his dish -- it appeared he was just wrapped up in fussing with the plating that he didn't hear the time warnings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I can think of many times in my years as a lurker on this board where long discussions have erupted over cheftestants not following the parameters of a challenge as closely as we the viewers think they should. Whether it is not being as "low salt/fat/sugar" as it should have been, not being enough of a "dessert like" dessert, 'borrowing' ingredients from a fellow cheftestant (which bypasses budget), etc. I think all of these types of things can fall into this type of "not cheating, but not exactly on the up and up" category. In many cases, I truly believe they are found during editing and played up for TV, but were completely unnoticed before judging -- thus the reasons Tom has had to defend their decisions in his blog so often. This incident was reported by a fellow contestant, so they had to look into it. I will not be surprised to see these more experienced contestants not only watching their backs, but watching their fellow chefs very closely this season, and not being afraid to speak up if they feel they were wronged.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: centralpadiner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Exactly. "We the viewers" have a lot of opinions about the way things should or should not be done, based on edited video and dishes we haven't tasted. I occasionally see people claiming "the rules say" when in fact they have no idea what the rules are. The chefs are given "rules" for each challenge, but the penalty for breaking the rules has never been stated. Actually, this is the first time I remember seeing an official statement of what the penalty is for breaking a rule.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The "rule" about physical contact with a fellow contestant is a totally separate issue from the rule of the competition. As people have noted, it's part of the contract they sign, and it's strictly enforced because of liability issues involved with keeping competitors in enforced close quarters 24/7. Roughing up Marcel was fairly trivial when you consider what could happen when you keep a bunch of men and women locked up in the same house for weeks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I may not be correct, but I seem to remember in an early season (1 or 2?) where there was an issue of someone going over the time limit on a QF, and thereafter we heard the "utensils down, hands up!" from Padma. This was not said prior to that incident. Maybe someone else remembers the specifics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  thanks - i didn't watch JD and don't recall any instances from the regular TC. but as Ruth pointed out, QFs & ECs are different.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There were also instances in Top Chef Masters where the chef didn't finish a dish in a quickfire round.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      well, QF & EC are two different things, as are not completing a dish and continuing to work past the allotted time. but i just finished reading Tom's blog, and he explained that the way they handled the situation is the protocol dictated by the rules. the gist of it:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "One doesn’t lose for working past the time-limit; one simply cannot win that challenge."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If it was a disqualifying act severe enough to be sent home on the basis of the infraction, not the food, I don't believe immunity would have saved him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              so here's an issue no one has bothered to address yet...what would have happened to Blais if he *didn't* have immunity? anyone think it would have gotten him sent home? i get the sense they almost would have HAD to send him home, otherwise what's the point of the rules?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That's a really good question.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Let's take the reverse situation. What if Blais had continued to work beyond the time limit and his food SUCKED, so that he was called before Judges' Table with the group of losers?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              What would have happened then? How would the judges account for the "rules infraction"?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I mean, seriously, what's the thought process behind this situation and how should the issue be framed?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Something like this ... "Is your terrible food more terrible because you cheated"?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Or is the better question, "Should your cheating make your terrible food the most terrible of them all so that Padma gets to say 'please pack up your knives and leave'"?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Or maybe this ... "How are you so incompetent that even cheating couldn't save your crappy food?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                actually ipse, that's a great point. anyone else want to tackle this one? would the judges have addressed the infraction differently if Blais had been in the bottom three?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Well, what about this? You know your dish is going to be terrible - you overcooked your protein, oversalted your sauce...whatever. So, you go over time and you are determined not eligible to win because you went over time. But because you are DQed, you can not be eliminated? You are just not judged? Shouldn't it be if you don't follow the rules you are eliminated? Otherwise, there is a loophole, no? You can mess up your dish, but deliberately break a rule and be safe. In this case, breaking a rule means you DQ yourself from judging and therefore are immune. But shouldn't it be the opposite?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bigrow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't think going over time would make a contestant immune from elimination. It's just not an automatic elimination. In this episode, Richard was safe from elimination because he made a fantastic dish, but not eligible for the win because he wen't over time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In this case, I don't think the immunity had any effect on his outcome. Had he cooked a worse dish, it might have. And if he didn't have immunity, cooked a bad dish, and went over time, he would likely have gone home. I get the impression that going over time results in a contestant being penalized but only to an extent. That seems reasonable to me, as its a relatively minor infraction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Richard had immunity because his team won the quickfire. So he could not have been eliminated. However, someone else in the same situation might be, especially if the dish in question was deemed "the worst.?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm not sure I'm following you. Immunity is just what it sounds like: best dish or worst dish, over time or not - you're not going home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was saying that even if Blais didn't have immunity, he still wouldn't have gone home this episode because his food was good and the judges don't seem to consider going over time by a few seconds a capital offense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: bigrow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I didnt read Tom's blog myself but according to what others have said about it you could not win if you went over the time limit. He didn't say anything about being DQed from the whole judging process or that you couldn't lose. I don't see the loophole.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is from another board, i.e. NOT my posits:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "...(four permutations)...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Someone without immunity goes over, their dish isn't tasted at all: I assume they end up at JT in the bottom. I'd assume they'd go home, since the other options at least got their crappy dishes out in time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Someone with immunity goes over, their dish isn't tasted at all: I assume they end up at JT in the bottom and get a wrist-slap. It would probably color the judges' impression going forward, even though they pretend they don't do cumulative judging.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Someone without immunity goes over, their dish is tasted: If it's good, I assume they end up at JT in the bottom, get a wrist-slap and then sent back. If it's bad, I assume they end up at JT in the bottom and then possibly get sent home.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4. Someone with immunity goes over, their dish is tasted: If it's good, they get the Richard Blais wrist-slap and then sent back. If it's bad, they get the Richard Blais wrist-slap but in the bottom group and then sent back."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think they are good posits. http://forums.televisionwithoutpity.c...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tom mentioned in his blog that going over time doesn't send you home per say but DISQUALIFIES you from winning. In Short form it's DQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If you decide to go over time and land in the bottom 3 your ass may be toast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I know how it is to be a perfectionist. I also can be one in a different field. I learned in college that I was to have my project up up on the server by 5pm or every hour that past was a 10 percent increasing. 3 hours later and I would have a 70 percent!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was not happy with my project and decided to work on it more. I turned it in within the hour so the best I could get was a 90 percent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        When it came to critiques my professor made a point to say that this would have been the only A in the class if I would have turned it in on time as is, but because it was an hour late I received a 90 percent which is a B.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That talk still resonates with me today. I learned from it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. By far my favorite part of the episode was when Dale T was goofing off during the elimination challenge kitchen time since he had immunity. Most of the time we see how a chef, despite (or sometimes because of) having immunity, go all out, but he just cruised to the finish line. Baking and playing around with the nitro? Awesome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ediblover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Angelo asked him "So how did you know when to stop before it blew up?" (or something like that - I think it was about adding the liquid nitro?) and Dale T. looks up and grins and says "I didn't!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Angelo looks at him with an incredulous look on his face and then breaks out laughing - probably thinking "the cojones on this guy!" :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      yeah that was hilarious.. "He's like I just stopped when it started going crazy"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: SDGourmand

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That was it! :-D As I said - cojones. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. This episode was great! After the boring fiasco of TC Season 7 where I seriously thought I was done with this show, I am again looking forward to watching it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    IMO, the strongest contenders are Richard Blais, Jen and Angelo. Also possibly Marcel and Tre. A few that I think were brought on more because of their big personalities rather than their cooking skills are Fabio, Mike Isabella and Spike.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    BTW, here's how bad Season 7 was - I can't recall the name of the guy who won. I can see his face and I know Ed and Angelo were the other finalists but for the life of me, I don't remember the winner's name, that's how much of an non-impact he made on me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      wow. i read your post and then realized that *i* couldn't remember to save my life either! i eventually got a mental picture of him, but i had to do a web search and look up his name! it was Kevin. i NEVER would have gotten that one without help from Google. S7 really did suck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'd have to disagree about Jen -- she may be a skilled chef, but she's not a good competitor. Angelo ... I'm not sure how good he really is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i agree about Jen - she talks a good game in the confessionals/interview clips, but it was clear by the end of her season that she's not the greatest under pressure...and her performance in this latest challenge didn't lead me to believe things have changed. as for Angelo, i didn't like him last season, and i still don't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i'm pulling for a Blais/Tre finale, but i wouldn't be surprised to see Tiffani Faison go very far in this thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            However.....I do think Jen will have learned from her season and might have figured out a way to work through the pressure tank atmosphere. We'll have to see.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I also think Tiffani Faison and Richard Blais will be contendahs - HOWEVER, in interviews prior to the season's start, I do recall Tom C. saying (I think it was an interview with him) that there will be some surprising eliminations that the audience is going to howl about. Rut-roh!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I thought it was odd when she was saying after her season, how she felt like she came across as confident, and capable and whatever else she said..
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Maybe she was when she was actually cooking, but recall her being filled with self doubt, and hesitance in the interveiw clips, and IMO, this was her downfall

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was thinking that, too. I'd love to see her pull it out, would put her in the top of chef's foods I'd like to eat but not sure she's consistent as a competitor. I think it's Richard Blais's to lose.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: SeoulQueen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              @SeoulQueen, i just had to share this comment someone posted on Tom's blog:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "I agree with the person who pointed out that last season Angelo was not eliminated for making a bad dish; he made it to the finals where every dish was excellent but only one could win; and that turned out to be Kenny. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Kenny? apparently we're not the only ones with memory issues regarding last season!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "I agree with the person who pointed out that last season Angelo was not eliminated for making a bad dish; he made it to the finals where every dish was excellent but only one could win; and that turned out to be Kenny. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                HUH? 8-( sorry folks, all Black people don't look alike. The winner was Kevin Sbraga.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i know, sad isn't it? though it does drive home the point SQ & i were making, which is that last season was utterly forgettable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I enjoyed last season, and would not have characterized it as "unforgettable" at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I enjoyed last season, but I didn't think it had the memorable creative firepower of previous years, especially the season just before it. BTW, I think the confusion between Kenny and Kevin has more to do with the similarity in the sounds of the names and how forgettable the season was than it does with race.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I couldn't have named the final two from last year if asked to, but I sure remember the Voltaggios and Kevin from the season before.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i agree, GHG. i really couldn't wait for last season to be over with. except Tiffany, and I'm glad she's back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I loved Tiffany, too. Was glad she got to walk off with so much in cash and prizes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. So my toughts on TC in the "am I the only one" vein:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Am I the only one who can't stand Jen? I never get why everyone wants her to win and thinks she's the best. She's a decent chef but we saw her lose it the season she was on and there's just something about her that rubs me the wrong way. I hate the way she talks, I don't care for her confidence, she pisses me off. And I'm probably the only one who doesn't mind Marcel, Mike, et al. There was actually no one I was wishing would go home but assumed it'd be Elia (who looked beautiful) cuz the dish just seemed lame. And yeah, Mike has packed on the pounds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Seeing Tony Bourdain brought a smile to my face.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree 100% about Jen. Her face looks like its been frozen in time exactly 1 nanosecond after sucking on the world's biggest lemon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jackbauer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    OMG.... Now that can breath after laffing my ass off....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'll say you are so right!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Thanks for the re-cap Linda!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I missed it Wed, nights and all day yesterday I was so tempted to have a peek at your post, but I waited until I saw the episode!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Just some random thoughts -

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Allot of comments about Marcel still being a jerk, but I didn't observe too much jerkiness from him
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I Hated Elia before, and I thought she was even worse last night!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I recently watched the Thanksgiving episode from season 2, and she was so adamant that the judges had picked a "disgusting" dish that won the quickfire. She was furious, and questioned Tom as to why he picked it because she spit it out it was so bad. She was absolutely convinced that Tom and Padma were wrong.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This stubborn attitude is why she lost this time. she actually said "the flavors are fine, they do not need to be changed."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    UGH! i really couldnt stand her - and I THANK GOD she's gone

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I also can't stand Antonia, and I dont remember her being anything special.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I found it funny how she was criticizing someones food, and when someones else food was being citicized she was "shocked" and said "Thats harsh!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Last time, Jamie didnt bother me until Le Bernardin, when she was acting like a bored, spoiled brat. Last night she came across as obnoxiously arrogant. "I feel I am a better chef than my team-mates...." I think her ego has been swelled by the TC experience. This may help or hurt her chances, but if she stays for the duration, I personally will be put off.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The tone in her voice drive me nuts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mike I, too didnt bother me so much his season, but he was really putting other people down left and right, and came across as arrogant and whiny. I hope he goes soon too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I thought Richard (who I loved) came across as tired, weary and much more serious, as did Fabio. :(
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I hope Richard snaps out of it, and starts enjoying himself more...I think I'm rooting for him to take it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I like Dale (dark haired Dale) and I hope he does well, and Tiffany (not season 1 T)..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I am so excited for this. It's going to be great - I loved the elimination challenge, I thought it was a great idea. I'm also looking forward to them cooking against Tom!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    can't wait!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I just read an interesting interview with Elia and Tom so I thought I would post. Warning: possible spoilers.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      27 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Really interesting read ... makes Elia seem truly whiny and bratty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And for those who care, I really didn't see anything spoiler'ish in the link, FYI ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: a213b

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It really made me laugh because she said she had matured, but she apparently found someone else to blame besides herself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I thought her comments about Jen C. could potentially be spoilerish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            lizzy, i think you & i drew the saw conclusion from her comment about Jen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            as for what she said about Tom C, she MUST be kidding. who the hell does she think she is to bash him like that? grow up, and get over yourself. ugh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            you can be sure that *if* she does open "Avec Moi" here in LA, she won't be getting my business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              What? WHAT??
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              What does she say about Jen and Tom???

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I can't read it because that site is blocked from my computer (I'm at work)!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              She always seemed to have this "I know all attitude"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well she still has the attitude. The gist of the post elimination interview with Elia is her elimination is Tom's fault. Also, Tom is a sellout and hypocrite for doing a Diet Coke commercial. He also has changed since her season, and not for the better according to her, he used to be all about organic and now he's not and his chefs don't enjoy working for him like they used to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As for the comment about Jen, I'm going to leave that alone because I think there are future spoiler implications and I don't want to ruin it for anyone who isn't into spoilers. Having said that, the article is really worth it so you might want to give it a read when you are at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wow. She's really more stupid than I thought she might have been re: her comments about Tom (haven't read the interview yet).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ETA: I read the interview...dayam....dumb, dumb, dumb. And you can see by Tom's reply interview he's also not impressed with her comments. Granted, they were about him, but he's right - she really should get her facts straight before she spouts off in the national media about which something she doesn't really know (his business practice).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "And you can see by Tom's reply interview he's also not impressed with her comments. "
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    two of my favorite comments in Colicchio's response:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "So, anytime she wants to stand by the back door when the truck comes in from the farmers market and help unload it, she's more than welcome to do it. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "I buy more produce from farmers markets than Elia has seen in her life in the course of a month."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    [though his sentence structure there could use some work!]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You noted the very same things I picked up in Tom's brief interview. :-) I'm thinking Elia might regret some of what she said down the road.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But the fact that TC-AS was filmed SIX months ago and she's STILL upset about being voted off first? Lordy, girl - get OVER it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I also picked up on those two statements, and for the record I would love to see it happen. I can see it now, she helps to unload the truck, which is much bigger than she expected. Just as she finishes,Tom shows up with a Diet Coke in his hand and says "I told you so."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Just as she finishes,Tom shows up with a Diet Coke in his hand and says "I told you so.""

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I cannot believe she would talk about Tom like that in the press. I really have a hard time figuring out what goes on in someone's head while they bash a highly respected person in their chosen field to the national media. I completely agree that she needs to grow up and get over herself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ITA. Immature and stupid to boot. The one single thing you can do to make yourself a "winner" on a career-related reality show like Top Chef is to make a good impression on all the important people you meet who can have a positive influence on your career. Only one person can win the competition, but as people like Leeanne Wong and Fabio have demonstrated, you can do almost as well -- or maybe even better -- by being likable and easy to work with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This was exactly what I was thinking. It is possible to make a name for yourself even if you weren't the winner. In one of Gail's blogs, she now has one at Entertainment Weekly in addition to her blog at Bravo for anyone who is interested, she mentions how the chef world really is a small community. I can't help but think Elia really shot herself in the foot. Since Elia has matured so much since her season, her words definitely not mine, I wonder what she is going to think of her statements 5 years down the road.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      She probably did TC All Stars to get free publicity for the opening of her new restaurant. After her performance on the show and this interview I would say that she failed to get positive publicity. Her interview turned me from having a neutral view of her to negative.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, especially since she talked about, on this episode, how she wanted to show everyone how much she has grown and matured. She's shown how ignorant and immature she is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ahhh ... it literally took me reading it 3 or 4 times before I picked up on what I believe you two might be thinking. I guess it could be spoiler'ish, but I don't put too much stock into it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Regardless, I was QUITE happy to see Elia go. Any of the three deserved it, but regardless of what Tom says, having worked in this industry (television) for years I can assure you producers always want the most compelling personalities to sick around as long as they can legitimately be kept.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Essentially tie goes to the "character" who is more compelling and/or has the better story arc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: a213b

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I wouldn't have thought of that comment as being spoilerish until someone had suggested it. But yeah.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: a213b

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Do you think there are unseen producers reminding Tom of this (contestants to keep when all things are close) at judge's table?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not during filming, but when there are breaks I know the producers and judges talk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              To be clear, I am not AT ALL trying to suggest producers tell the judges who to save and whom to eliminate ... at least certainly not explicitly. Being a game-show there are specific legalities to which the producers must adhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: a213b

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's funny, I picked it up the first time I read it, it's amazing how people can react differently to the same thing. You're also right, Elia doesn't come out and say anything, and only time will tell if what I inferred was correct, but I wanted to put a warning on it just in case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh of course that makes perfect sense. And I'd always err on the side of cautioning others lest they feel something's been spoiled.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for finding it -- 'twas an interesting read to say the least!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: a213b

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i went back & re-read it, and i realized there's quite a bit of spoiler potential in there so yes, i'm trying not to put too much stock in it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Good job picking up that spoiler!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yup, you were right, lizzy. Still kind of amazed that you *are* right, however!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Tony was the most disappointing part of the show. He went overboard on Fabio and Stephen. He belittled them so he could be the center of attention and get a cheap laugh. I am a Tony fan, but that was cheap. If he'd said what was in his blog post about having eaten a lot of great, simple pasta and that this pasta was bad and made him cranky and that he exxpected a lot more from Fabio, that I could respect. But apparently he needed to up his quota of bleeps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            He was obviously caught off gaurd by Fabio's come back at judges table and realized that he was mocking another hard working chef, one of his own people, amazingly even Tony has feelings. I hope he doesn't snark his way through this season. Only the clueless should be mocked. They need it. I didn't see any clueless chefs in this episode.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            22 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              AB was plastered. LOL Look at his TC blog.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gfweb1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I read the blog. I don't think it's an excuse for boordain behavior.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  He was a dick. Drinking is no excuse. Drunk people tend to be brutally honest. He knew he needed to address his pompous dickheadness and gin had nothing to do with it. I do like him alot, he just went too far. He seems to be going thru a midlife crisis that he needs to steal the spotlight. Hence the often times shctick about his friend Eric and acting like he's the most important person on a panel. I think he should be put into timeout. Be clubbed at the legs and left to lie about and see what made him a sensation. What he is doing on his show is fine, but these guest appearances make my fantasies dim to a vow of celibacy and a chastity belt. Get him off!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bourdain's going through a midlife crisis in which he needs to steal the spotlight? Really? ::::snort::::: I'm thinking that's one LONG midlife crisis then, as he's been in the spotlight for 10+ years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And if you "like him alot" and said what needs to happen to Bourdain due to his pompous dickheadedness, I'd be afraid of what you'd do to people you DON'T like!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Again, Bourdain criticized the dish. He had valid criticisms. The plate looked like crap and was very unappetizing. If Fabio took it personally, that's his problem. Hell, Bourdain LIKES Fabio! He said "To the extent that you can like anyone you know only from TV, I like Fabio. And I liked how he stood up for himself and gave some back at Judges' Table. If I were an employer looking to hire a chef from the among the All Stars, I'd think very seriously about Fabio. He's smart, likable, steady, level-headed in a crisis, and hence not easily flustered." High praise indeed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But his dish sucked. And AB said so. Even Tom C. acknowledged that while AB can get hyperbolic, he was mostly right about the dish - poor presentation and it didn't taste great. Of all people, Fabio *should* be able to come up with a presentable pasta dish, and that is part of what so disappointed Bourdain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: gfweb1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Were they really drinking G&T that nite or was that a general comment? And even then, I'm not sure I believe they do that, at least all the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Judges Table can run for hours - there have been previous comments about the judges drinking alcohol while they deliberate (while those in the Stew Room are also getting stewed).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As to whether he was plastered - perhaps not, as he was coherent. But the judges drinking alcohol has come up before.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What we don't know is what TB said that didn't make the final cut. I'm not a big fan of his (don't watch his show much) but TC basically brought him on board to make outrageous comments like he has done in the past.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    man there has been a lot of Tony hating lately. What is with that. The man has made a living on being snarky, he's not going to dial it back now to spare some contestants feelings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Everyone thought Wolfgang puck was funny when he insulted some of the contestants food, throwing a doughnut off the table calling it a hockey puck. Making fun of purees calling it baby food, and poking fun at an ill fated saitan chile relleno that Jen Z had created. Saying that if she made that at home no one would have want to come over as a dinner guest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    While Tony is harsh he did let Fabio know what he thought was wrong with the dish and did offer a few ideas to help improve upon it. Get rid of the paper, and the fried basil, serve it as comfort food, make it a little more dainty and not so heavy. etc. Which IS constructive criticism.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Fabio wears his heart on his sleeve but also has a bit of a temper. I think what he meant to say is don't piss me off by saying you hate the dish, just tell me what you think I can do to improve it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I thought the paper was very odd myself. It reminded me of the time I was in college and didn't have plates but had made spaghetti. I had those wafer thin cheapo paper places so I said, ehh I'll use that. Before I got done I had eaten the paper too. there was a whole in the middle of my plate. Moral of the story sauce and paper just don't work well together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "I thought the paper was very odd myself."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Although not exactly what Fabio appears to have done, pasta on parchment paper is a well-known technique in Italian cuisine. Usually the pasta and sauce/components are cooked wrapped in parchment and then served as a 'package' that is opened at table. Just google 'pasta on parchment'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Except.....that's NOT how Fabio presented it. The piece of parchment paper was laid on a plate, and the pasta spooned on top of the parchment with fried basil leaves on top of that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think it if looked like any of these, presented as a "package" as you suggested, they actually might have been OK with the presentation.




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fabio's dish was terrible. I just didn't like the relish Tony took in bashing him. Was it neccesary to say it tasted like shit 11 times? (this is according to Fabio as I think we only heard 3 of them)


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          when they were all sitting in the stew room, Fabio said something about how when you put a dish of food in the oven and it gets hot, the sauce splatters all over the sides & makes a mess...and for some reason he thinks putting the paper there makes it look more presentable. i found the whole explanation to be rather bizarre.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I like Fabio, but I think he overreacted. Constructive criticism is great, if you're addressing the person. But, Tony made those comments at the table and they were made mainly for the cameras and the company (make some jokes). In addition, Top Chef has never been about nurturing the chef; it's about the game and the only way you get any sort of feedback is to be on the top or the bottom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "It's not personal, it's TV."