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Curtis Stone to replace Kelly Choi as Top Chef Masters host

Linkage to the full press release and a couple other sources here: http://www.alltopchef.com/2011/01/tc-...

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  1. Ugh. I actually am going to miss my favorite TV bobblehead.

    7 Replies
    1. re: wattacetti

      I'm not sure how I feel about this. He seems a bit smarmy but I'll give it a shot.

      1. re: Joanie

        A "bit"? Take Home Chef was based on the premise of his stalking single women in grocery stores and then offering to make them a meal.

        1. re: wattacetti

          'A "bit"? Take Home Chef was based on the premise of his stalking single women in grocery stores and then offering to make them a meal.'

          LOL! I didn't love Kelly, so this change is probably fine for me....

          1. re: jeanmarieok

            He may be eye--candy and the premise was stalking women (most, but not all married), but when he got into the kitchen he had chops. He never flirted with the women. Ultimately it was about the food preparation. You can't say that much for Kelly Choi. I think it's a really good change.

          2. re: wattacetti

            I saw the show a few times and coming from a man's point of view I didn't see it that way. He was never cooking just for the single woman, it was always for them and their husband or boyfriend. I thought it was always done in good fun and good taste. He was always a perfect gentleman the few times I saw the show.

            1. re: John E.

              And of course it wasn't him 'stalkiing'. It was the producers. CS just had to walk into the store and find the person with the ribbon tied on their cart.

        2. re: wattacetti

          Not to beat a dead goat, but Kelly wasn't very popular with many fans of the show.

        3. I liked him until I saw him on the celebrity apprentice.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Evilbanana11

            Funny. I didn't know who he was before, but I really liked him on the Celebrity Apprentice. I don't care about Kelly one way or the other. Don't like or dislike her. (I will say though that I don't think she's any worse than Padma. But then, I'm also in the minority that thinks Padma is no better than Katie Lee Joel.) Anyway, I'm neither happy nor sad to see Kelly go. But if there IS going to be a new host, then I think Curtis is a fun, different choice.

            1. re: charmedgirl

              I can't stand Padma. I don't think she has ever had an original thought. Anytime there is a group of judges eating, when one says something, she pretty much repeats their comment as if it were her own idea.

              1. re: cigarmedic4

                I've always thought Padma had the job because she's attractive, has a great body that they can dress sparely and/or sexily and keep straight men in the audience. I realize that she has SOME food qualifications, but it's not what got her the job.

                1. re: chicgail

                  Well, I think it's clear that they lean toward the "spokesmodel" role.

                2. re: cigarmedic4

                  Ha ha, well those of us who aren't big Padma fans seem to be the minority on this board. (I have developed this perception as a frequent lurker in the Top Chef threads.)

                  Lots of times I have read comments about how awful Katie Lee was and how much of an improvement Padma is. I just don't see it myself. I did not dislike Katie Lee as host by any means, but I did think she was wooden, unnatural, and did not offer much to the judging discussions. As a result, I was pretty indifferent to her. And now, I feel precisely the same way about Padma.

                  On a tangentially related note... I could not BELIEVE they invited Katie Lee back as a guest judge this season on All Stars. Can we say AWK-waaaard?!?!

            2. The show would be better with a log as host than Kelly Choi. Anything has to be an improvement.

              2 Replies
              1. re: kimfair1

                At least he knows how to boil water. I was never sure she even knew what a kitchen was.

                1. re: ChefJune

                  Awww, you guys are mean! I remember a Saveur (?) photo of her and her mom in a kitchen putting together a festive Korean dish/meal -- well, she was in a kitchen and watching at least!

              2. I have no idea who Curtis Stone is, but I'm glad that the TC producers have realized that people will watch the show without a hostess-model (a formula that I thought was really outdated). Let the food be the eye-candy!

                8 Replies
                1. re: aching

                  Oh, he's definitely eye candy! But he also has a background in food, so that's a plus.

                  1. re: sharonlouk

                    Well, more specifically, I was referring to boobs! =) I think Padma and Kelly also have backgrounds in food, at least nominally, but it really seemed like it was more about T&A than anything else, which again, seemed really unevolved to me. Then again, I'm a straight woman, so perhaps it's just about personal preference.

                    1. re: aching

                      I'll admit to being disappointed about the loss of eye candy for the straight male eye. Sorry - busted (No pun intended).

                      1. re: aching

                        @ aching: So, do you find him to be eye candy or not? :-)

                        1. re: huiray

                          I'll have to see him in action before I can say! =)

                    2. re: aching

                      The hostess-model is definitely outdated, but having said that, I didn't mind Kelly at all. In fact, I prefer her to Padma.

                      I didn't know who Curtis Stone is either, but after looking him up, seems like they just went for a host-model. I guess that's somewhat of an update ...

                      1. re: Debbie M

                        Yes, at least it's equal-opportunity sexism!

                        1. re: Debbie M

                          Well, a bit more than a host-model, I think. Unlike Katie Lee, Padma or Kelly, he's a restaurant chef. I googled to make sure, and his website says he was head chef at one of Marco Pierre White's restaurants in London. I didn't bother googling all three of the ladies, so definitely correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think any of them have gone to culinary school or worked in restaurants. They're all food journalists or cookbook writers, right?

                      2. I, for one, will miss Kelly Choi.

                        2 Replies
                        1. Tough crowd. For those that don't know, Kelly Choi has (had?) a TV show called Eat Out NY where she profiled different restaurants around NYC. She interviewed the chef and "helped"
                          them prepare a signature dish. A very good show. Although she does not have the "pedigree" that Padma does, Kelly is no stranger to food or the restaurant business.

                          She is not just a model/hostess, a bit ditzy perhaps, but the success of her food show is what got her the TC gig.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: AdamD

                            I didn't mind Kelly Choi as much as I REALLY disliked Katie Lee Joel during the first season of TC. But a little eye candy is good for the soul every now and again, so I'm cool with the switch. ;-)

                            I do wonder if this is a Bravo/Elves decision or a Kelly decision?

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              Linda, in this TV Guide item, Bravo's Frances Berwick says they may do something else with Kelly and that they wanted to change up the show next season. Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing some changes to the format as well.


                              1. re: AdamD

                                Kelly also had a show "Secrets of NY", before "Eat Out NY". I thought she had a bit of a "just watch me pose attitude" and didn't seem to be interested in learning NY history. She'll probably wind up on LX-TV on NYC's channel 4 or NY Non-Stop. You know it's all style over substance.

                              2. i'm glad someone else started a thread about this - i was too lazy so i posted the link in the thread about this week's TC episode :)

                                i have a general awareness of Curtis Stone's existence, but i've never actually watched him in anything. still, i'm happy about the change simply because i thought Kelly Choi was a terrible host. in fact, i personally think Bravo is 0 for 3 with their female TC hosts - Padma & Katie Lee Joel are pretty awful as well - so perhaps it's time to switch gears and let a guy have a shot at it. i can't imagine that he'd be any worse than the women have been...

                                ETA: i just read the bit about him being a judge on America's Next Great Restaurant. i tried out for that show, and it was a hellish experience. grrr...

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  Does it really matter what kitchen cred he has, in a world where Ted Allen has a similar job? He's an Aussie (enthusiastic, buffed, friendly, etc.), he's telegenic, and has some previous TV. As long as he's eye-candy and stays out of the way, he's golden.

                                  1. re: bob96

                                    where did i say anything about his kitchen cred?

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      Meant to reply to general comments, not yours, about the TV value of restaurant experience in a show like this. Dats all.

                                      1. re: bob96

                                        got it. no worries, just couldn't figure out what i had said to inspire that comment :)

                                2. I never knew who Kelly Choi was and after reading her Wikipedia entry I still don't. All it says is that she was a model and hosted a TV program in New York City that was a documentary in which she wore a black coat. They never actually described the show instead assuming everyone already knew what it was. The only real thing I know about her is that she was incredibly boring as the hostess of TC Masters (although the entire show was a little boring as well. I thought the outcome of the second season was a little 'forced' if not outright manipulated by the producers to provide the outcome they desired).

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: John E.

                                    Curtis should be good since he has good camera presence, is articulate, and has a solid food background. I thought Kelly Choi always put on a forced smile for the TV cameras that was off putting. I thought Gail Simmons was compelled to add some dramatic overtones on Top Chef Just Desserts. Padma is pretty much the perfect host so I'll be comparing Curtis to Padma.

                                    1. re: Bunson

                                      I don't know if I would refer to Padma as the perfect host. She flubs her lines all he time and they have to add VoiceOver to fix it later.

                                  2. According to this interview in Eater, gaining Curtis Stone means we lose Jay Rayner as a judge. Boo!


                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: Debbie M

                                      Aww, bummer. So because Curtis Stone is non-American, they couldn't have another person with a non-American accent as a judge. Boo! is right!

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        Why is that, I wonder? Are people really so afraid of non-Americans? Do they really not understand (or not wish to make the effort to understand) ENGLISH speakers who merely happen to not sound JUST like themselves? It's not even like these non-Americans have a different skin color...

                                        Would an AMERICAN but with a non-standard US accent be OK instead?

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          i think you guys may have missed some intended sarcasm in Rayner's comment. this is the quote:

                                          "I've been sacked. All I know is that the new host is non-American and therefore they couldn't have another non-American accent on the panel. And that's fine. I'm reasonably assured that is the reason."

                                          i personally thought he was being cheeky. i'm going to reserve my indignation until we find out who the judges are :)

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            Fair enough on Rayner being cheeky. We've seen him be that before. :-) Would love to know who the judges *are*.

                                            But I'd rather they have gotten rid of the dullard from Saveur, however.

                                        2. re: Debbie M

                                          This makes me very sad. I am excited for Curtis, I have high hopes he'll do great. But Jay was an awesome judge. I can't believe they would sack him instead of that guy from Saveur. I think THAT guy is awful -- seriously, just awful awful AWFUL. I wish we could have both Curtis AND Jay. (And I agree with goodhealth that Jay was kidding about not being able to have 2 non-americans being the reason.)

                                        3. Just saw an ad for some new Bobby Flay restaurant show and Curtis Stone was shown as a judge, for at least one episode.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Joanie

                                            AFAIK, he's a permanent/primary judge on America's Next Great Restaurant. i'm anticipating AND dreading the premiere of that show - i went for it and didn't get cast, and i know it's going to piss me off to see that they chose some people with ideas that are inferior to mine.

                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              Next time you need to wear a really low cut shirt and tell them you like to walk your pet turtle on a leash. : )

                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                ha! thanks for that :) i have my own thoughts on what really went on behind the casting for the show, but that would take us far OT from this thread.

                                          2. Ever since the disaster that was Katie Lee Joel, I have wondered why they didn't hire a restaurant chef who is also atttractive to be the host. Certainly Anthony Bourdain has the skills to be the host; likewise Michelle Bernstein. Shoooot! even Booby Flea!

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                              ha! you never know about Flay - he's on NBC now too, so it's not too much of a stretch to think he could make the leap to Bravo...but i assume he's already got his hands full between his FN shows, NBC, and now his new show on the Cooking Channel.

                                              sadly it appears as though they're much more concerned with hosts being telegenic and perpetually sunny/smiley than anything else.

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                Bravo is owned By NBC's parent company.

                                                1. re: MrsT

                                                  which is why i said it wouldn't be too much of a stretch for him to do a Bravo show.

                                              2. re: ChefJune

                                                I don't know, Curtis Stone has a pretty impressive restaurant CV (more so than Bourdain's), which he left behind for TV, just as did Bourdain. I'm assuming he'll be host only, like Kelly Choi. I guess we'll see what he's like.

                                              3. I'm not in love with Curtis, but he has got to be a big improvement over Kelly, who brought nothing to the show... just a dressed up line reader.