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Top Chef All-Stars - Ep. #9 - 02/09/11 (Spoilers)

LindaWhit Feb 9, 2011 06:24 PM

Hey everyone! It's Jimmy Fallon's birthday! Woo hoo! We get to watch him and his family celebrate! Oh wait - that was 3 months or more ago. Oh well. :-)

In the bar after last week's show, some of them give congrats to Antonia on her win. Dale knew his dish was NOT good and he could have gone home; Fabio and Antonia argue about her mussels and whether they were Italian or not. Mike was a jerk to Antonia, as usual.

They arrive at the TC kitchen, and see FONDUE pots! Richard says "When I think of fondue, I think of bell bottoms, fields, and .... I don't know - being naked?"

Padma says they are to create a unique fondue - and the cheftestants are their own judges - they'll taste everything and then judge each other by choosing a Favorite and Least Favorite. They *cannot* vote for themselves, and there's no immunity. The winner, however, will get a 3-day trip to Napa Valley.

Padma had said this isn't the bananas in chocolate type of fondue - but of course, Richard goes that way - but with a Richard Twist!

Dale does an Asian version - as he puts it, a "Pho-due". :-) His actually sounds very good!

For the tasting, Mike and Padma had a little funny - Padma was having difficulty eating Tiffany's Apple Fritters dipped in chocolate, and Mike said something along the lines of "you'll get dirty!" Padma laughs and said "I think I've done it." (Didn't she do a sexy burger commercial?)

Least Favorite - Fabio, Tiffany, and Mike. And Mike actually calls Dale an "effing monkey" for voting him into the bottom? Holy crap.

Favorites - Antonia, Dale and Angelo - Richard's bummed he didn't get in the top group. The winner is Dale!

Padma sends them off to Rockefeller Center, and they walk into Jimmy Fallon's show for ... CELL PHONE SHOOTOUT! They have to pull out their cell phones and take a picture of a lot of pictures that flash by on a screen when Jimmy says "shoot!". That is what they'll have to cook for his birthday dinner at Colicchio & Sons the next day.

Antonia - Beef Tongue (she went with a sandwich preparation)
Fabio - Burger (Booger!) and Fries
Carla - Chicken Pot Pie (LOVED her silly dance - she was thrilled to get what she wanted!)
Tiffany - Southwestern Chicken & Dumplings
Richard - Ramen Noodles
Dale - Philly Cheesesteak
Angelo - Pulled Pork
Mike - Sausage & Peppers

They are told that Jimmy Fallon doesn't like mayonnaise, eggplant, or mushrooms - AND that Jimmy's family will be there at the party as well. This will be interesting! The next day, they show up to cook at Colicchio & Sons. Richard helps Antonia with pressure cooking her beef tongue. Mike says he wouldn't have helped. Figures. Dale said watching Carla is like watching a chicken with it's head cut off- she's crazy all over the place!

Tom, Gail and Jimmy are the judges.

Fabio's burger gets meh reviews. Tom doesn't like the "cheese stuff" alongside the burger.

Antonia's Beef tongue gets rave reviews. Richard's Ramen is probably in the middle, as is maybe Tiffany's Chicken & Dumplings. Dale's Cheesesteaks seem like they're going to be great, but Fallon said the Salt Monster invaded - and Dale *underseasoned* his dish last week - rut roh!

But Carla - knocked it out of the park with her Chicken Pot Pie - Yay, Carla! Angelo's Pulled Pork seemed to be enjoyed a lot, and Mike's Sausage and Peppers was well received.

And at the end the cheftestants bring out a birthday cake for Jimmy Fallon, and he says the winner of the challenge will get a cooking segment on Late Night! Very cool! Oh, can you IMAGINE if Carla wins? LOL

The in-between had a funny story about Jimmy Fallon being asked by Food & Wine for a recipe from his mother - she gives him a cheesecake recipe, which F&W loves! They ask if she got it from a specific source, and when his mother looks it up.....she got it from Food & Wine. :-)

OK, we're back at Judges Table...Padma comes in to ask for Carla, Antonia and Antonio! Looks like they're in the top group! Angelo's flavors stunned Tom Colicchio, saying the flavors shouldn't work, but they did. Jimmy and Carla go into a whole spiel about a bottom crust - Jimmy said if there's no bottom crust, he's outta there! He also noted that he knew she had made the dish with LOVE! Carla's specialty. :-) They were all impressed with Antonia's beef tongue as well, and Angelo said they had come up with a beef tongue song the night before. Gail asks them to perform it, and OMG, the BEEF TONGUE SONG is hysterical!

The winner is Carla! YAY!!!!!! This is her THIRD win! And she gets a 6 night trip to Tokyo, and $5000 for airfare! Wow. I would fully expect to see her and Jimmy Fallon do the Carla Dance on his show when she appears. :-)

Tiffany, Fabio and Dale are in the bottom group. WHOA. Is this the end of Dale with the Salt Monster?

Tiffany's Chicken & Dumplings didn't have the doughy dumpling Jimmy was looking for, as well as masking the flavors with the Southwestern flavors she put into it and being a soup with flat noodles. Fabio's burger was more like meatloaf, and Tom brought up the cheese sauce again. "Salt lick on top of salt lick" was Gail's comment about Dale's Philly Cheesesteak.

The judges go through their thoughts on all dishes - I can't figure out who it's going to be, but it *seems* to be leaning towards Dale. Are the Elves faking us out, and it's going to be Fabio with his curdled cheese sauce and meatloaf burger?

OK, we're back. Serious judges, serious cheftestants. Tom goes through his brief overview of how they did....and it's Fabio who's gone! Awwwww...I'll miss his silly comments. He says to the camera "Jimmy, I'll go on your show and cook you a Booger and you'll fall on your knees and BEG my forgiveness!"

And when he's packing his knives, he gives a pep talk to anyone coming into this country to just go for it - "You are the only shadow standing in your sunshine."

And NEXT week seems to be the Sesame Street challenge that we've always been wondering about!

  1. Pylon Feb 15, 2011 07:41 AM

    Slashfood just posted their post-exile interview with Fabio. Still talking about mussels. Dude, let it go....


    7 Replies
    1. re: Pylon
      huiray Feb 15, 2011 07:59 AM

      Well, he's much more measured here than on his blog. (Took me a while to find my eyebrows, it did, after reading that blog of his) Wonder when exactly they did this interview. I also seem to experience a mental disconnect between reading what he says about burgers in this interview and what he said on the episode as shown to us...

      I'm curious - has anyone eaten these burgers of his that he has put on his menu, and how do they taste?

      1. re: Pylon
        Ruth Lafler Feb 15, 2011 08:25 AM

        He still thinks his dish was good. Dude, Tom said your cheese sauce was "gross"!

        1. re: Pylon
          chowser Feb 15, 2011 08:42 AM

          Wow, there's some disconnect to reality there. He thought his burger was good? But, then again, he thinks the best burgers in the US are In N Out and Johnny Rockets. Enough said. He keeps slamming the judges and then says he respects them. Right.

          1. re: chowser
            Ruth Lafler Feb 15, 2011 11:35 AM

            I think he's surrounded himself with fans and believing all his hype -- I seem to remember that the reviews of his restaurant say that it's mediocre.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler
              mcf Feb 15, 2011 12:54 PM

              I believe it. I've always thought he was one of the least accomplished competitors. I used to find him amusing at least, but not so any more.

              1. re: mcf
                chowser Feb 15, 2011 01:35 PM

                I thought the same thing in his season. I remember thinking he didn't do that well and that he was picked for TCAS because of his personality, not his cooking. Which...has turned grating.

              2. re: Ruth Lafler
                huiray Feb 15, 2011 01:36 PM

                Like this one? http://la.eater.com/archives/2009/12/16/zero_stars_for_firenze_osteria_italian_food_for_dummies.php
                Mind you, SIV is supposed to have quite a few detractors herself.

                Then, there's Viviani the Salesman:


          2. o
            occula Feb 14, 2011 09:47 AM

            Sunday I picked our restaurant with the idea of getting a burger (which I rarely eat). I ended up ordering something else, but husband did get the burger, and besides saying "hambooorger" about a thousand times and giggling each time because we're nerds, husband surprised me after a couple of bites by saying "this is like meatloaf!"

            22 Replies
            1. re: occula
              Pylon Feb 14, 2011 10:44 AM

              I've been giving this some thought. I wonder how much of the blame lays on the broken cheese sauce instead of the burger itself.

              What's the best part of meatloaf? The glaze, of course. Which the burger didn't have.

              Now imagine a burger that is built like a meatloaf, seared, then coated in a ketchup/cumin glaze. Maybe twice. Once it is coated, then put back on the grill to caramelize a bit, then a second coat on top of that just before service. Maybe a nice relish of bread and butter pickles on the side.

              That doesn't sound so bad to me...

              1. re: Pylon
                occula Feb 14, 2011 11:26 AM

                Oh, gosh, me either. I'd hit that.

                1. re: Pylon
                  roxlet Feb 14, 2011 02:46 PM

                  I remember that Gail said that the bourger itself was disappointing. She wanted to bite into a juicy burger and instead got a dry, overdone meatloaf. I also have to disagree on the glaze being the best part of the meatloaf. I don't like "glazed" meatloaf with ketchup, which, IMO gives the meatloaf a sweet taste. When I make meatloaf, I top it with a bacon lattice, which serves the dual purpose of being bacon, and therefore delicious, and keeping the meatloaf moist as it bakes.

                  1. re: roxlet
                    debbiel Feb 14, 2011 02:58 PM

                    "which serves the dual purpose of being bacon, and therefore delicious, and..."

                    I love this statement, and I'm a vegetarian. :)

                    Yes, Gail did not seem to like the burger at all. And, pulling from my omnivore memories, I recall not caring a lot for the meatloaf glaze either. In particular, it seemed out of place on the meatloaf sandwich, the most important meal to come from a meatloaf.

                    1. re: debbiel
                      roxlet Feb 14, 2011 03:23 PM

                      Aw, come back to the dark side, debbiel! There's bacon here!

                      1. re: roxlet
                        debbiel Feb 14, 2011 07:22 PM

                        Man, everyone's a bacon pusher. :)

                        I've actually been considering going back but sticking to non-CAFO meet maximum of 1x per week. My concern is that I won't have that kind of self-control.

                    2. re: roxlet
                      Pylon Feb 14, 2011 03:24 PM

                      You don't like the glaze? What is wrong with you people?!?!?!

                      Now, bacon would be a welcome addition to any party, no question.

                      1. re: Pylon
                        debbiel Feb 14, 2011 07:22 PM

                        I think the glaze detracts from the Duke's mayo on the cold meatloaf sandwich. Unforgiveable!!

                        1. re: debbiel
                          Pylon Feb 14, 2011 07:27 PM

                          What is this mayo you speak of. I've not had it.

                          The glaze is seriously my favorite part. I can't fathom a mayo good enough to tear it away from me. But I'm open to learning.

                          1. re: Pylon
                            goodhealthgourmet Feb 14, 2011 07:31 PM



                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                              Pylon Feb 15, 2011 05:25 AM

                              Hmmmm....I've never been a huge mayo fan, but it looks like it's available in my area. I'll keep an eye open.

                              Thanks for the tip!

                              1. re: Pylon
                                goodhealthgourmet Feb 15, 2011 09:45 AM

                                you're welcome!

                                1. re: Pylon
                                  debbiel Feb 15, 2011 06:48 PM

                                  Raised on miracle whip (though I still love my parents), I'm a Dukes girl all the way now.

                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                  debbiel Feb 15, 2011 06:47 PM

                                  Thanks ghg, champion of chowhound searches!

                                  1. re: debbiel
                                    goodhealthgourmet Feb 15, 2011 08:26 PM

                                    hey, a girl's gotta protect her hard-earned rep, right? ;)

                                3. re: Pylon
                                  alidrum Feb 15, 2011 09:51 AM

                                  I LOVE the glaze, especially on a sandwich with mayo...My go to recipe for meatloaf is Paul Prudhomme’s Cajun Meatloaf...I add ketchup on top to glaze and love when it gets all sticky....

                          2. re: Pylon
                            John E. Feb 14, 2011 05:21 PM

                            There is a local restaurant near me that gets good reviews for their 'home-style' cooking. I remember the first time I ordered a burger there. It tasted like meatloaf. There is nothing wrong with meatloaf except that when ordering a burger, I want it to taste like a burger. I suppose I don't wish my meatloaf to taste like a burger either. As for why Fabio got sent home...I bet it was both because the burger tasted like meatloaf and the cheese sauce was bad. 

                            A note to Isabella: there is at least one restaurant that serves a cheese sauce with their burgers, Fuddruckers. My MIL liked to eat there because she thought the name was naughty. 

                            1. re: Pylon
                              NellyNel Feb 15, 2011 06:09 AM

                              mmmm i'd hit it too!

                              1. re: NellyNel
                                occula Feb 15, 2011 07:27 AM

                                After all this, I'm trying to remember whether I've EVER had a juicy burger. I had gradually stopped eating boourgers even before becoming a vegetarian for 10 years, and I've probably had them five or six times since converting back to 'flexitarian.' All but two of those were from Steak and Shake, though, and it's not possible for those to be juicy, aside from the huge salad I pile on them. hmmm. That said, I don't think it particularly bothers me if a burger is kind of dry - that's what condiments are for.

                                Apologies - I'm probably starting to drift off topic here.

                                1. re: occula
                                  Joanie Feb 15, 2011 08:16 AM

                                  There's a fine line between juicy and greasy, but if you're around LA, try Stout Burger and you'll definitely know you're getting a very undry burger.

                                  1. re: occula
                                    Indy 67 Feb 16, 2011 03:47 AM

                                    If you're ever in the Washington, DC area, you'll have lots of opportunities to eat juicy, quality burgers. We're experiencing something of a great burger tsunami.

                                    You can eat at Ray's Hellsburger (Arlington, VA), BGR (Arlington & Alexandria VA), Joe's Gourmet Burger's (McLean, VA), and Spike Mendelsohn's Good Stuff Eatery (Washington, DC).

                                    For really high-end burgers, head to Central or Palena's Cafe (both Washington, DC). The chef at Palena's is a former White House chef. Now, imagine such a chef applying that considerable talent to making the best hamburger. Sure the cheese on Palena's burger is truffled, but somehow it tastes less consciously gourmet-driven than the short ribs and foie gras burger I had at DB Bistro Modern (New York City). And at $12, the price of Palena's burger is a lot more palatable than DB Bistro's tab of $32!

                                    1. re: Indy 67
                                      occula Mar 1, 2011 03:03 PM

                                      Thanks both for the suggestions. Sadly, I"m stranded in the rural heartland.

                            2. s
                              samlev Feb 14, 2011 08:56 AM

                              I am still of the mind that Tiffany should have gone home. She didn't even make Chicken and dumplings but some awful rendition of a not very good tortilla soup. Chicken and dumplings should be almost a gravy, not some broth with SW flavors.....UGH! At least Fabio tried to make a booourger that while a meatlish style was still a freaking burger.

                              Rant over....

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: samlev
                                chowser Feb 14, 2011 09:07 AM

                                From the judges' blogs, the tortilla soup was very good and they enjoyed it. It just wasn't chicken and dumplings. Fabio's wasn't, in their eyes, really a hamburger AND it didn't taste good.

                                1. re: chowser
                                  Ruth Lafler Feb 14, 2011 11:00 AM

                                  Right. As I always say, they've never sent someone home who made a good dish simply because it didn't meet the parameters of the challenge.

                                  Remember, they edit the judges' comments to make it seem as if the outcome is more in question than it is. Thus, in this case, they chose to show us the most negative comments about Tiffany's dish (and Dale's dish) and probably downplayed the critique of Fabio's dish (aside from Tom calling it "gross" when it was served, I don't remember much discussion about the cheese sauce).

                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                    chowser Feb 14, 2011 11:30 AM

                                    As I said above (way above), I was pretty sure Tiffany was safe because they said nothing bad about the way her dish tasted. They had to play up the drama. I wonder, in cases like this, why they don't just do a bottom two? Sometimes it seems like dishes are very close but by the number, one gets picked and torn apart at JT; or praised as the top. Just have a "top dishes" and "bottom dishes."

                              2. lisavf Feb 14, 2011 07:37 AM

                                I just found this: http://www.hallowedground.org/content...

                                Carla is going to prepare a meal (of chicken and dumplings!) in honor of Edna Lewis, with the proceeds going to a non-profit organization called The Journey Through Hallowed Ground. This is going to take place in Manassas, VA. Wish I lived closer!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: lisavf
                                  mamachef Feb 15, 2011 05:21 AM

                                  I would go back in time, never to return, if it mean I'd have the chance to meet Miss Edna Lewis and eat her cooking and let the brain drain begin! She is my IDOL and Carla has great great taste in choosing to invoke her name and prepare her recipes.

                                2. huiray Feb 14, 2011 04:21 AM

                                  F. Viviani's blog about his last episode on Top Chef:All Stars.

                                  47 Replies
                                  1. re: huiray
                                    LindaWhit Feb 14, 2011 05:20 AM

                                    So I wonder if anyone will go off on Fabio for making fun of Angelo's tight pants (and bashing a LOT more about Angelo!) in his blog?

                                    At this point, with the fact he continues to harp about the damn mussels, I'm glad he's gone.

                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                      huiray Feb 14, 2011 05:28 AM

                                      I thought that blog post was kind of ugly all around. He isn't funny there even if he might have been trying for some kind of Fabio-humor.

                                      1. re: huiray
                                        LindaWhit Feb 14, 2011 05:35 AM

                                        "Ugly" is a good way to put it, huiray. I felt the same way. It was distasteful to read. It doesn't put Fabio in a good light for me at *all*.

                                        He essentially just bashed everyone - I don't think he was trying for funny, and if he was, he failed miserably.

                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                          mcf Feb 14, 2011 06:18 AM

                                          I'm glad he's gone, too. It's one thing to be outrageously outspoken the way Bourdain is, with wit and on point critiques, and another to use a blog as a way to hurt virtual excrement at others.

                                          Fabio is a whiny crybaby and a sore loser.

                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                            Ruth Lafler Feb 14, 2011 08:54 AM

                                            I think he was being fake-funny: saying what he means but in a plausibly deniable jokey style. But really, it was puerile and disgusting. I'm not a prude, but the sheer number of "pulled pork/avocado/camel toe/banana" jokes made it hard to read (not to mention the total lack of spelling, grammar, punctuation made it incoherent -- yes, I know English isn't his first language, but I don't think he was even trying). He should take to heart Heinlein's maxim: "once you're a wit, twice you're a half-wit"!

                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                              huiray Feb 15, 2011 05:01 PM

                                              @ RL: It WAS hard to read.

                                              Oh, BTW, I just learned that the Italian for fennel - 'finocchio' - as you know and which you kindly searched for w.r.t. that mussels dish (heh, remember this?) is also the slang term in Italy for 'homosexual', somewhat equivalent to 'fag' in English. So, I wonder if Viviani was also being affronted by Lofaso winning with "fag mussels", which must have pis**d him off even more considering how he spouts all that homophobic drivel in his blog about Angelo/Angela and his* camel-toe pants with that vivid video inserted for good measure as his idea of what Angelo's/Angela's song should be... (*I daresay the correct pronoun according to him should be 'her').

                                              1. re: huiray
                                                alidrum Feb 16, 2011 10:50 AM

                                                the slang for gay IS finocchio but it has no sense with the word mussels..you don't say "fennel mussels" or "finocchio cozze" in Italian, you say "cozze con finocchio" so it just doesn't work in Italian. by the way, the finocchio in the recipe someone googled to "prove" that italians use fennel and cream with their mussels was fennel seed, not fresh fennel.

                                                1. re: alidrum
                                                  Pylon Feb 16, 2011 10:58 AM

                                                  Were the fennel seeds toasted in butter, by chance?

                                                  1. re: Pylon
                                                    alidrum Feb 16, 2011 11:18 AM

                                                    absolutely...there was even heavy cream....amazing, i guess after living here for 30 years I understand nothing about this country's food...I printed out that gaggy recipe and showed it to some colleagues at work, their response? "Ma dove cazzo hai trovato sta roba?"---- Where the "hell" did you find this thing?..LOL

                                                    1. re: Pylon
                                                      huiray Feb 16, 2011 11:20 AM

                                                      @Pylon: According to the recipe, nope. ;-)
                                                      [ETA: The fennel seeds were added to the part using olive oil; the butter was added and mixed in in the second/other part]

                                                    2. re: alidrum
                                                      huiray Feb 16, 2011 11:18 AM


                                                      Ah, OK, thanks. It seems to me that "fennel mussels" as a construct in English isn't forbidden in colloquial English but it was just a speculation on my part anyway.

                                                      Yes, I did note that THAT recipe said just "a pinch of fennel seeds" were used [in the google translation], not fresh fennel bulb... Heh. Thanks. ;-) :-)

                                                      1. re: alidrum
                                                        roxlet Feb 16, 2011 12:34 PM

                                                        I've been a little confused by the assertion that fennel is French and not Italian. I had fennel a lot growing up, and fennel cut into pieces was a mainstay of the antipasto tray that also included olives, salami, cheese, etc. Obviously fennel seeds are used in sausage, but bulb fennel was completely a part of my family's meals.

                                                        1. re: roxlet
                                                          LindaWhit Feb 16, 2011 12:57 PM

                                                          I don't think that the issue is that fennel isn't used in Italian cooking - it's just supposedly not used with mussels.

                                                        2. re: alidrum
                                                          mcf Feb 16, 2011 01:00 PM

                                                          There are many such recipes online using actual fennel bulbs. Just sayinzall. :-)

                                                          1. re: mcf
                                                            huiray Feb 16, 2011 01:25 PM

                                                            But the question in the earlier arm-waving here on the thread was such as to lead to the query as to whether those recipes you have in mind are identifiable as [American-Italian/Italian-American] or Italian-Italian. ;-) :-)

                                                            p.s. Avert your eyes, LW!! Heh.

                                                            1. re: huiray
                                                              Pylon Feb 16, 2011 03:15 PM

                                                              So....hmm....so fennel is Italian then? When served in mussels? What about fennel braised in butter and served with clams? Still Italian?

                                                  2. re: huiray
                                                    chowser Feb 14, 2011 09:06 AM

                                                    As he put it in his blog:

                                                    "i undestand excitement but thats playing fool, keep it together, did you ever heard about Brand Equity ?? you just lost half of your Value there"

                                                    His value might have just plummeted to the negatives with that entry. How old is he, about nine???

                                                    1. re: chowser
                                                      LindaWhit Feb 14, 2011 09:10 AM

                                                      And quite frankly, at this point, I'd choose a restaurant helmed by Carla than Fabio any day.

                                                      Just disappointing he chose to go that route on his blog.

                                                2. re: huiray
                                                  roxlet Feb 14, 2011 06:31 AM

                                                  I have to say that as much as I had enjoyed Fabio the first time around, I found him to be arrogant and occasionally nasty in TCAS. This blog post just reinforces my feeling. It appears that he read his press and decided that he would play the crazy Italian who says funny things to the max, only this time his pronouncements felt forced and unfunny. I agree, LW, who cares about the damn mussels at this point? Fabio apparently.

                                                  1. re: roxlet
                                                    mcf Feb 14, 2011 07:32 AM

                                                    It occurs to me that having failed to establish himself at the top with his cooking, he's taking a time worn and tried and true route; slam big name famous folks (MS and IG/BC). At this point, he's settling for some extra attention, having failed both competitions to achieve acclaim as a chef.

                                                  2. re: huiray
                                                    AMFM Feb 14, 2011 12:01 PM

                                                    i couldn't even finish reading that it was so distracting and mean. wow.

                                                    1. re: AMFM
                                                      JuniorBalloon Feb 14, 2011 01:35 PM

                                                      That was a sad display of wierdness on so many levels. Fabio is dead to me now. Boom.


                                                    2. re: huiray
                                                      debbiel Feb 14, 2011 02:15 PM

                                                      Wow. That was terrible. Ugly and terrible. What a contrast with the class with which he took the loss on air.

                                                      1. re: huiray
                                                        Worldwide Diner Feb 14, 2011 02:20 PM

                                                        I guess I have a different sense of humor. I found the blog funny, not laugh out loud but it gave me a chuckle. I've never been a Fabio fan because I know his limitations.

                                                        1. re: Worldwide Diner
                                                          mariacarmen Feb 15, 2011 08:10 PM

                                                          yeah, i thought it was maybe a tad mean spirited at times, but don't really see why the tide has turned against him so virulently. i just thought he was trying to be funny but not always succeeding - his crudeness didn't offend me, but i didn't find it as funny as he thought he was being. tho i did find the blog funny at times.

                                                          1. re: mariacarmen
                                                            LindaWhit Feb 16, 2011 04:21 AM

                                                            I think the tide has turned because before, he was gently funny or silly funny. He wasn't mean-spirited, as you said.

                                                            This entire blog after his ouster is rather snotty, ugly and mean towards almost everyone - cheftestants and judges alike.

                                                            THAT is why my opinion of Fabio has changed. Before - he was goofy. This blog's writings just seem designed to be nasty. And it no longer is funny. He's become a caricature.

                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                              mariacarmen Feb 16, 2011 05:59 AM

                                                              i know, but it's ONE blog entry, as opposed to what we saw/heard all season.

                                                              1. re: mariacarmen
                                                                JuniorBalloon Feb 16, 2011 07:57 AM

                                                                One that shows a side of him I didn't realize he had and one I wouldn't tolerate in a friend. The number of mean spirited, sexist, inuendo comments directed at the women was not ok with me.

                                                                1. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 16, 2011 08:04 AM

                                                                  ^ That.

                                                                  1. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                                    huiray Feb 16, 2011 08:54 AM

                                                                    Ditto his going on and on about Angelo/Angela and his cameltoe pants, which were excessive and crossed the line from 'could-have-been-funny-or-sardonic-jabs' to become malicious mockery.

                                                          2. re: huiray
                                                            goodhealthgourmet Feb 14, 2011 04:10 PM

                                                            wow, that was rough. i definitely wouldn't have expected such nastiness from him - reading that makes me even happier that he's gone.

                                                            but did anyone else notice the love-fest going on in the comments section? he's got a lot of followers drinking the Fabio Kool-Aid who apparently thought that post was hi-larious, and a couple of them commented on how nice it was to see him leave with such class...how anyone can still think he's a class act after reading that ugliness is beyond me. and one of them said they're rooting for him for Fan Favorite...keep dreaming, people! that honor has Tre's name all over it.

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                              LindaWhit Feb 14, 2011 04:39 PM

                                                              Yeah, I was pretty disgusted reading the comments section as well. I do hope Tre or Richard win Fan Favorite.

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                NellyNel Feb 15, 2011 06:24 AM

                                                                Oh wow - I havent read it yet, but I'm already surprised, and disappointed.

                                                                Linda, do you think Richard has any possible chance at that?
                                                                No way, not this time around. There are many of us who used to be huge Richard fans, but have been totally let down by his attitude this time around. He seems like an arrogant grump to me now.

                                                                Even, Carla - who I also loved in her season has let me down with her over-the-top giddiness. I still really like her, but she would drive me crazy if I was around her too long!

                                                                Hmmm - I am surprised to say my pick for fan fave would have to be Antonia!

                                                                I disliked her in her year, and don't remember being impressed with her food, but this time, I like her laid back attitude, and her humor...and she has sent out quite a few successful dishes!

                                                                1. re: NellyNel
                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 15, 2011 06:39 AM

                                                                  No Nelly - I don't think Richard has a chance at Fan Fave this season. I don't think he's a grump, but I do think he's gotten back into his over-analyzation and it's making him "not as fun" as he seemed to be in his own season. Less of a sense of humor this time around.

                                                                  But I *do* think Carla still has a good chance at Fan Fave, as does Tre. I just don't want it to be Fabio.

                                                                  (And this post takes the thread off of the triple 6 number of posts in the thread. I couldn't leave it at that number! LOL)

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                    NellyNel Feb 15, 2011 08:04 AM


                                                                    Did Fabio win FF in his year - or was it Carla?

                                                                    1. re: NellyNel
                                                                      LindaWhit Feb 15, 2011 08:11 AM

                                                                      Fabio did.

                                                                  2. re: NellyNel
                                                                    debbiel Feb 15, 2011 06:46 PM

                                                                    I'd be okay with Antonia winning. Or Dale. Or Tre.

                                                                    1. re: debbiel
                                                                      John E. Feb 15, 2011 08:00 PM

                                                                      I hate to be the one to break it to you, but Tre was eliminated two episodes ago.

                                                                      1. re: John E.
                                                                        mariacarmen Feb 15, 2011 08:07 PM

                                                                        that doesn't mean he can't win Fan Favorite, does he?

                                                                        1. re: mariacarmen
                                                                          John E. Feb 15, 2011 08:20 PM

                                                                          Don't the fan favorites usually last longer? I don't think Tre has any shot at fan favorite. Tre didn't really do anything notable. He won a single quickfire and was pretty boring. Even Carla said the only time she noticed him is when he laughed.

                                                                          1. re: John E.
                                                                            roxlet Feb 16, 2011 02:55 AM

                                                                            When do they put up the voting for Fan Favorite? Is it done on the Bravotv website?

                                                                            1. re: John E.
                                                                              debbiel Feb 16, 2011 04:38 AM

                                                                              I didn't post who I thought was likely, just who I would like to see get it.

                                                                              1. re: debbiel
                                                                                Pylon Feb 16, 2011 05:21 AM

                                                                                I think Marcel still has a shot.


                                                                                1. re: Pylon
                                                                                  debbiel Feb 16, 2011 06:04 AM

                                                                                  No need to duck for thinking he has a shot. Now, if you said he was your actual choice for fan favorite... :)

                                                                                2. re: debbiel
                                                                                  John E. Feb 16, 2011 08:52 PM

                                                                                  I missed the part about you writing about fan favorite. I thought you were talking about winning TC 8.

                                                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                      mamachef Feb 15, 2011 08:02 AM

                                                                      I just read it and it blew my mind. I guess what he thinks and says for TV consumption is heavily self-edited, but in this blog he opened up and spewed vitriol. What I didn't like especially is that he "couched" his words to make it sound as if he was trying to be humorous, but he came off as an ill-tempered, mean-spirited, jealous sore loser.

                                                                    3. re: huiray
                                                                      soypower Feb 15, 2011 12:36 AM

                                                                      Yowsa. That was worse than trying to read the facebook updates or text messages of a 15 year old. Talk about sophomoric. Eesh.

                                                                    4. roxlet Feb 11, 2011 09:55 AM

                                                                      The answer to the mysterious "pea salt" is revealed on the Jimmy Fallon segment - dehydrated peas whirred in a mini food processor with coarse salt. Voila. Who says that Carla isn't a creative chef? In her case, however, the creativity is in service to the taste of the dish, not just to display impressive bells and whistles.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: roxlet
                                                                        Pylon Feb 11, 2011 10:13 AM

                                                                        Credit where due, that's a neat trick. I guess you hang around with Marcel and Richard long enough and you are bound to learn something.


                                                                        1. re: Pylon
                                                                          roxlet Feb 11, 2011 10:47 AM

                                                                          Too late.

                                                                      2. d
                                                                        DGresh Feb 11, 2011 04:57 AM

                                                                        Another comment about the criticism of Dale's salty cheesesteak. As someone who went to college in Philly, I was intrigued by his plan to combine a pretzel with a cheesesteak. I did worry about the salt ahead of time. But Jimmy (I think it was) complained "chef's have to *taste* their food". Well I think we can all agree on that. But within the strict time contraints, it's probably hard to do that. In real life, he would have made it, tried it, said "whoa way too much salt" and probably changed out the sauce or the seasoning on the meat before he cooked it. But how's he going to do that within the space of two hours (or whatever it was). He's already made the steak. I guess he could leave out the siracha, but what to put in its place? Once the thing is ready to go, it's usually too late to change it fundamentally. Do we *ever* see a chef on this show do a trial run of something so they can taste it? I don't think they have the time to do that. They have to anticipate the issues ahead of time (a skill, no doubt, but not quite the way it would be in a restaurant).

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: DGresh
                                                                          Worldwide Diner Feb 11, 2011 07:21 AM

                                                                          But Jimmy (I think it was) complained "chef's have to *taste* their food".
                                                                          Most chefs try one bite, they don't take multiple bites. In this case, the saltiness isn't apparently until you're 3 bites into it. Frankly, I'm not sure how all those diners ate 3 bites of each course (which are all hearty dishes).

                                                                        2. d
                                                                          DGresh Feb 11, 2011 01:56 AM

                                                                          After what seemed like at least 100 comments last week about Antonia's mussels being (or not being) French because of the butter in them, did anyone notice at the bar scene at the beginning that Fabio said they were French because of the *fennel*? No mention of butter!

                                                                          33 Replies
                                                                          1. re: DGresh
                                                                            Pylon Feb 11, 2011 05:00 AM

                                                                            Well that should be good for 25 comments, at least...

                                                                            1. re: DGresh
                                                                              huiray Feb 11, 2011 05:11 AM

                                                                              Viviani was still quite upset about it too...and if THAT is what is bothering him, it would seem that he is indeed mistaken about Lofaso's dish being non-Italian just because of her use of that ingredient. (Hmm, she used fennel bulb, not fennel seeds, correct? - but both are used in Italian cooking)

                                                                              In the context of the discussion last week the butter still makes it non-ItalianItalian but that is not within the context of Viviani's objection as now understood.

                                                                              1. re: huiray
                                                                                huiray Feb 11, 2011 02:12 PM

                                                                                ...but is the mussel+fennel combination done in Italy (as distinct from fennel being used in Italy) ? Italian cuisine people, comments?

                                                                                1. re: huiray
                                                                                  alidrum Feb 11, 2011 03:11 PM

                                                                                  Ahh...., just found my 10 foot pole and am slowly backing away from this thread ;-))

                                                                                  1. re: alidrum
                                                                                    tofuburrito Feb 11, 2011 04:22 PM

                                                                                    Well this objection/obsession came from a guy whose idea of Chinese food is dunking a lamb chop in a jar of hoisin sauce.

                                                                                    1. re: alidrum
                                                                                      LindaWhit Feb 11, 2011 05:20 PM

                                                                                      ROFLMAO! Oh man, we *can* keep going around in circles, can't we? ;-)

                                                                                  2. re: huiray
                                                                                    Ruth Lafler Feb 11, 2011 05:55 PM

                                                                                    As far as I know, Fabio is not a student of regional Italian cuisine. He cooks *his* Italian food (presumably Tuscan, since according to wikipedia he was born in Florence), but that doesn't mean he's an expert in Sicilian, or Roman, or Venetian or Calabrian, or Ligurian etc. cuisines. There are parts of northern Italy that use butter instead of olive oil, for example, so using butter would not make a dish "non-ItalianItalian."

                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                      huiray Feb 12, 2011 05:48 AM

                                                                                      Yes, OF COURSE butter is used in Northern Italy, no doubt all over Italy as well, and of course the use of "butter instead of olive oil" in various dishes etc etc is not in question - it's the SPECIFIC combination of butter with steamed mussels that is regarded as "non-ItalianItalian" (rather than American-Italian) by some folks, not the use of butter per se, as is explained by those people. Ditto my query about mussels AND fennel. Yes, fennel is used all over Italy too, I imagine more so in some places than others. Looking again at Bourdain's blog he says fennel is used in Sicily, for example, but he doesn't specifically say that fennel WITH steamed mussels is done in Sicily.

                                                                                      You are right, Viviani is a Florentine and I certainly imagine he thinks of Tuscan food when he thinks of Italian food. But again - my question is whether steamed mussels WITH fennel is done (or unremarkable) in Italy?

                                                                                      Sorry to be persistent but I just want to know, not trying to offend anyone or insist he was right (not my intention at all!) or whatever.

                                                                                      p.s.: @ alidrum - darn. :-)

                                                                                      1. re: huiray
                                                                                        Pylon Feb 12, 2011 08:53 AM


                                                                                        We'll get this thread to 1,000 posts by Wednesday...

                                                                                        1. re: huiray
                                                                                          Ruth Lafler Feb 12, 2011 09:16 AM

                                                                                          Well, they have mussels and they have fennel, I'm guessing somewhere in Italy someone has put them together! :-) I don't like mussels and I'm not crazy about fennel, but I understand it's considered a classic combination by people who do like them, so I imagine that once someone put them together it would have become something that is "done" wherever those ingredients are available.

                                                                                          Let's put it this way -- it's not as if she cooked them in black bean sauce! The object of the challenge was not to replicate an existing Italian dish but to make a dish that fits within the realm of Italian cuisine, and there's no reason beyond Fabio's stubborn insistence to believe that this dish wouldn't qualify. Considering that Fabio by his own admission has never cooked a burger, I think it's safe to say that he doesn't often venture outside a fairly narrow culinary sphere, and his ideas of what constitutes Italian may be equally limited.

                                                                                          Or maybe this will answer your question more directly: http://www.ifood.tv/recipe/clams-and-mussels-in-fennel-sauce

                                                                                          Or this: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ma...

                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                            Pylon Feb 12, 2011 09:54 AM

                                                                                            So would mussels cooked in beans be Mexican?

                                                                                            1. re: Pylon
                                                                                              Ruth Lafler Feb 12, 2011 10:24 AM

                                                                                              If you could cook them in a specifically Mexican style of beans, then yes, they would be (just as mussels in black bean sauce are Chinese).

                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                Pylon Feb 12, 2011 10:31 AM

                                                                                                "mussels in black bean sauce are Chinese"

                                                                                                How are black beans Chinese? I buy Cuban style black beans at TJs, but they never have Chinese style black beans.

                                                                                                Do the Chinese kind have butter in them?

                                                                                                1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                  Ruth Lafler Feb 12, 2011 10:33 AM

                                                                                                  LOL.Okay, I'll give up trying to have a serious discussion when you're just messing with me. Love those Chinese beans with butter!

                                                                                                  1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                    mcf Feb 12, 2011 10:34 AM

                                                                                                    Salted, fermented black beans are CHINESE! No butter. :-)

                                                                                              2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                Worldwide Diner Feb 12, 2011 10:08 AM

                                                                                                TV Guide interview:

                                                                                                What were you thinking when you found out your challenge was to make a hamburger?
                                                                                                Fabio: I'm thinking, "Oh, I'll make a good burger. A classic burger? Absolutely not. Am I a classic American?" I'm not American, so I don't do American burgers. I don't think White Castle does classic burgers in New York, but they're delicious. So it's about taste, not tradition.

                                                                                                Were you surprised you went home?
                                                                                                Fabio: I believe my dish should have been in the bottom, but do I think I should have gone home? Absolutely not. Colicchio said one thing to me that, of course, didn't make it on TV. He complimented my burger. One thing they said to Tiffany was her soup was good, but they asked for chicken and dumplings and she made like a tortilla soup. So, that was a completely different dish. But do I accept it? Yes. What other choice do I have? Do you want me to be a sore loser? Of course, everybody's a sore loser, but I'd rather keep bi------ about Antonia winning the Italian challenge with a freakin' bowl of French mussels.

                                                                                                You're really hung up on that dish, huh?
                                                                                                Fabio: Yes, course I'm still hung up on them, are you kidding me?! I think Antonia is a great chef. But she walked into the freakin' stew room with ten other chefs and she says, "Oh, I just won the Italian challenge with a bowl of steamed mussels." Why did everybody have [the expression] like, "Are you kidding me?" A) It's not even an Italian dish. And B) Tell me what you're doing on Top Chef steaming mussels. It's like Jamie — she opened a clam for the [Quickfire]. I'm sorry, Antonia got a freebie there.

                                                                                                1. re: Worldwide Diner
                                                                                                  mcf Feb 12, 2011 10:22 AM

                                                                                                  He was asked to make a hamburger, and he made meatloaf on a roll with icky sauce. And he's wrong about the mussels being French. But he's still cute. :-)

                                                                                                  1. re: mcf
                                                                                                    Ruth Lafler Feb 12, 2011 10:39 AM

                                                                                                    Right. Tom may have (off camera) said he liked the burger, but he said (on camera) that the sauce was "gross."

                                                                                                  2. re: Worldwide Diner
                                                                                                    LindaWhit Feb 12, 2011 10:35 AM

                                                                                                    OK, you KNOW the damn mussels are going to be brought up on the Reunion show. :-)

                                                                                                  3. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                    huiray Feb 12, 2011 07:03 PM

                                                                                                    @RL: Thanks for the response.

                                                                                                    Those recipes sound yummy - but are they Italian-Italian or American-Italian? ;-)

                                                                                                    OK, I guess we really are going around and around... :-) :-)

                                                                                                    1. re: huiray
                                                                                                      Ruth Lafler Feb 12, 2011 09:37 PM

                                                                                                      I don't know about the first one, but the second is Mario Batali, and it's from his Mario eats Italy series, so presumably it's Italian, not Italian-American.

                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                        huiray Feb 13, 2011 11:54 AM

                                                                                                        Mind you, Batali is half French-Canadian/English, born in Seattle, with his formal Italian-Italian food chops acquired in Borgo Capane (3 years training) in Northern Italy... Interesting.
                                                                                                        He doesn't really cook anymore nowadays anyway.
                                                                                                        From an interview he did:
                                                                                                        "Do you still cook?
                                                                                                        When we do menu changes, I do a lot of that stuff, which is every four to six weeks. I'm still at Otto and Babbo every day.
                                                                                                        But are you cooking?
                                                                                                        I'm working in the kitchen. I don't necessarily set up a station. I work with the guys in there. We talk about the food. I touch it, I taste it. But I'm not accountable!"


                                                                                                        I'm sure you and other folks have seen this thread on Italian-American food and "Italian-Italian" food... :-)

                                                                                                        1. re: huiray
                                                                                                          Ruth Lafler Feb 13, 2011 12:10 PM

                                                                                                          I think to find a recipe that's undeniably Italian-Italian I'd have to google the ingredients in Italian. When I googled "cozze con finocchio" I got quite a few hits in Italian, including this one that includes cream and ... butter!: http://cucina.intrage.it/ricette/prim...

                                                                                                          Very few big name chefs actually cook at their restaurants these days.

                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                            debbiel Feb 13, 2011 12:36 PM

                                                                                                            Clearly a French person posing as an Italian in an effort to destroy Italian cuisine. I'm surprised you fell for this! :)

                                                                                                          2. re: huiray
                                                                                                            LindaWhit Feb 13, 2011 12:12 PM

                                                                                                            Again? (pretty please? LOL)

                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                              Ruth Lafler Feb 13, 2011 12:20 PM

                                                                                                              Hey, I found definitive proof that Italians cook mussels and fennel together. Case closed.

                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                LindaWhit Feb 13, 2011 12:23 PM

                                                                                                                Translated page: http://tinyurl.com/4l3mgwm

                                                                                                                I hadn't seen your post before I threw mine up there.

                                                                                                                So Ruth's got final say, everyone! :-D

                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                  huiray Feb 13, 2011 12:37 PM

                                                                                                                  OK, end of story here.
                                                                                                                  Thanks all! :-) :-)

                                                                                                                2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                  huiray Feb 13, 2011 12:36 PM

                                                                                                                  So you did. OK, great!

                                                                                                                3. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                  huiray Feb 13, 2011 12:36 PM

                                                                                                                  :-) =)
                                                                                                                  I knew I could get the thread to cross the 600 mark... ;-)

                                                                                                        2. re: huiray
                                                                                                          alidrum Feb 12, 2011 04:50 PM

                                                                                                          heeheehee---I can't, I just can't do it. If I say I have never seen anything green on mussels other than parsley here in Italy somebody will rip me a new one so i won't say it......................................... ;-))

                                                                                                          1. re: alidrum
                                                                                                            huiray Feb 12, 2011 06:59 PM

                                                                                                            @ alidrum: Oh, OK, I never read what you never said. :-)
                                                                                                            <<Waves at alidrum>>

                                                                                                    2. re: DGresh
                                                                                                      mcf Feb 11, 2011 05:33 AM

                                                                                                      YES, thanks for mentioning it!!

                                                                                                    3. goodhealthgourmet Feb 10, 2011 09:44 PM

                                                                                                      Silvestri's blog is pretty damn funny this week:

                                                                                                      "Antonia says, "I never know where my ideas come from." Barf, Antonia. Does the Greek Muse of television cookery whisper in your ear each night while you sleep? "


                                                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                        Joanie Feb 11, 2011 04:25 AM

                                                                                                        This cracked me up:

                                                                                                        The Elimination Challenge is a very special magical treat. The chefs are headed to Rockefeller Center, in the heart of New York City's historic Fat-or-European-Tourists-Walking-Slowly District. Maybe the treat is they get to go to the Cosi in the basement and eat buffalo chicken wraps until they all get sick and die. Oh, wait, no, it's Jimmy Fallon, host of the popular late night program The Jimmy Show.
                                                                                                        Carla is very excited to see Jimmy Fallon. He really brings out the best in her PHYSICALLY. She screams for nine hours.

                                                                                                        Since Carla is annoying me, I liked that comment. I do have to admit to liking Cosi tho.

                                                                                                        This was funny too: Blais helps her with the pressure cooker because his parents raised him correctly, unlike Mike, who was clearly raised in a barn at a zoo.

                                                                                                        1. re: Joanie
                                                                                                          Pylon Feb 11, 2011 05:01 AM


                                                                                                          Hey, remember a couple of weeks ago at RW, how Mike sandbagged his team captain, and everyone was like "good for you, Mike, we hate him!"

                                                                                                          And now he's acting pretty much the same way and everyone is like "what a turd!"

                                                                                                          Weird, huh?

                                                                                                          1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                            Ruth Lafler Feb 11, 2011 06:43 AM

                                                                                                            Good point. I'm glad someone is recognizing that Mike sandbagged Marcel at RW. Even Angelo said that if Mike acted that way in his kitchen he'd be fired. Yeah, Marcel is hard to get along with, but his team didn't even try. He actually had some good ideas about how to develop the menu and the concept for the restaurant at the beginning, and they totally blew him off. Not that he didn't deserved to be eliminated based on his *cooking* in that challenge, but his the failure of his team wasn't totally his fault.

                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                              John E. Feb 11, 2011 09:32 AM

                                                                                                              Yeah except that apparently Marcel started to plate his "anti-amuse buche' dessert during dinner service and Isabella would have none of it. I think Angelo was referring to Mike's talking back to the chef (Marcel) and possibly not any inaction on his part. I don't think we really know exactly what went on during RW. I'm not willing to blame Isabella for Marcel's demise.

                                                                                                              1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                Pylon Feb 11, 2011 10:12 AM

                                                                                                                Agreed, but I think it is certainly fair to say his behavior (at least what we saw of it) didn't help.

                                                                                                            2. re: Pylon
                                                                                                              Joanie Feb 11, 2011 06:49 AM

                                                                                                              Ha ha, you're somewhat right altho I guess you could say Marcel "started" that exchange. As you know, I'm not a Marcel hater but might see how Mike would go off once Marcel started his comments. Not that they weren't fairly valid. But let's skip that and go back to the Eater blog. Can't believe you haven't seen that before, it's linked quite often and that guy can be wicked funny. Esp. when you agree with him (Carla screams for 9 hrs).

                                                                                                              1. re: Joanie
                                                                                                                Pylon Feb 11, 2011 08:36 AM

                                                                                                                Joanie, you aren't supposed to say his name. Apparently. ;)

                                                                                                                1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 11, 2011 09:01 AM

                                                                                                                  Until we forget next week that we weren't supposed to say his name. gaffk will just have to suffer through it for the rest of the season at that point. ;-)

                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                    gaffk Feb 11, 2011 02:03 PM

                                                                                                                    At least use "the wolverine"! Until you, understandably, forget next week ;)

                                                                                                                    It's not as clever as Linda's mutiwordname, of course, but it's a lot easier to type.

                                                                                                              2. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                chowser Feb 11, 2011 07:26 AM

                                                                                                                Mike was a turd then, too. I was glad Angelo called him on it. When you have two turds fighting (M&M, not Angelo), it's hard to care about who was the bigger turd, imo. As I've been saying, how is Mike still there? Or, why was he even invited back to TCAS?

                                                                                                              3. re: Joanie
                                                                                                                LindaWhit Feb 11, 2011 05:03 AM

                                                                                                                This was funny too: Blais helps her with the pressure cooker because his parents raised him correctly, unlike Mike, who was clearly raised in a barn at a zoo.

                                                                                                                :-D Great line.

                                                                                                              4. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                Pylon Feb 11, 2011 05:05 AM

                                                                                                                I've never read this blog before...

                                                                                                                "Man, all that CHEESE for DINNER sure makes me want to peel off my bell bottoms and heels and get naked with all you good people. Wait until you see my cheese and bread-stuffed body. It's like I'm pregnant with two babies and both are trying to birth out my butt smell-first. My tongue is slicked with cheese."

                                                                                                                LOL. Thanks for sharing!

                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                  KailuaGirl Feb 11, 2011 10:54 AM

                                                                                                                  I really laughed out loud. :-)

                                                                                                                2. mariacarmen Feb 10, 2011 08:17 PM

                                                                                                                  wah - i can't find where/when Jimmy Fallon's show airs tonight! i want to see Carla. wah....

                                                                                                                  never mind, found it. sorry about the whine.

                                                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen
                                                                                                                    Shrinkrap Feb 10, 2011 08:31 PM

                                                                                                                    12:30 AM in California

                                                                                                                    1. re: Shrinkrap
                                                                                                                      Shrinkrap Feb 11, 2011 12:28 AM

                                                                                                                      Watching it! There's a rock bond, and the are ALL have a tight pants.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Shrinkrap
                                                                                                                        LindaWhit Feb 11, 2011 05:02 AM

                                                                                                                        So how was the Carla & Jimmy section of the show? Interested to hear. AND I wonder if that section is online anywhere.

                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                          edible complex Feb 11, 2011 06:56 AM


                                                                                                                          1. re: edible complex
                                                                                                                            LindaWhit Feb 11, 2011 07:40 AM

                                                                                                                            Thanks! Will watch during lunch or tonight at home. :-)

                                                                                                                            1. re: edible complex
                                                                                                                              KailuaGirl Feb 11, 2011 10:38 AM

                                                                                                                              Thanks, that was fun to watch. Carla's crack about how the 2 top crusts looked was funny, and very in character. :-)

                                                                                                                              1. re: KailuaGirl
                                                                                                                                LindaWhit Feb 11, 2011 11:10 AM

                                                                                                                                The two of them played off each other very well. You could tell they were mutual fans. :-)

                                                                                                                          2. re: Shrinkrap
                                                                                                                            goodhealthgourmet Feb 11, 2011 04:38 PM

                                                                                                                            There's a rock bond, and the are ALL have a tight pants.
                                                                                                                            there was a musical guest too? i assumed Carla took that slot.

                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                              Shrinkrap Feb 11, 2011 06:32 PM

                                                                                                                              They were on there for some kind of "perm" contest.The Bieber was on there too.

                                                                                                                        2. re: mariacarmen
                                                                                                                          goodhealthgourmet Feb 11, 2011 04:34 PM

                                                                                                                          recipe is on the NBC site if anyone wants it!


                                                                                                                        3. gaffk Feb 10, 2011 04:05 PM

                                                                                                                          I don't think anyone has pointed out two of my laugh out loud moments:

                                                                                                                          -The comments regarding Angelo pulling his own pork
                                                                                                                          -Fallon's sidekick (sorry, don't watch, so don't know his name) enjoying Mike's sausage and experimenting with sausage in college.

                                                                                                                          I know there were more I wanted to mention, but unlike Linda I don't keep notes, so I'll have to rewatch. (After all, there are only 294 replies to date--we have to beef this thread up ;)

                                                                                                                          14 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: gaffk
                                                                                                                            LindaWhit Feb 10, 2011 05:38 PM

                                                                                                                            Seriously, I'm stunned that there are already over 300 posts and we've not yet hit 24 hours since the episode aired. :-o

                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                              Pylon Feb 10, 2011 05:40 PM

                                                                                                                              Oh, I think we can get way past last week's count.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                LindaWhit Feb 10, 2011 05:41 PM

                                                                                                                                That's what I'm afraid of - I'm skeered! LOL

                                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                jcattles Feb 10, 2011 05:54 PM

                                                                                                                                That's what I thought when I logged on tonight. This is the first chance I've had to read this thread all day. So many comments to read, so hard to keep track of the ones I want to reply to:)

                                                                                                                                1. re: jcattles
                                                                                                                                  huiray Feb 10, 2011 06:00 PM

                                                                                                                                  Grab the permalinks of the comments you want to come back to and drag them to your desktop or wherever you want to put it then cross back to those comments later.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                    Shrinkrap Feb 10, 2011 06:04 PM

                                                                                                                                    I am trying that!

                                                                                                                                    Oh no! It's asking me to choose!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Shrinkrap
                                                                                                                                      huiray Feb 10, 2011 06:43 PM

                                                                                                                                      What are you being asked to choose?
                                                                                                                                      On a Mac running OS 10 and using most browsers (don't know about IE) click on the permalink hyperlink while holding down the mouse or trackpad button then drag over to the desktop and let go of the mouse/trackpad button...
                                                                                                                                      On PC and Mac another approach is to do a control-click (Mac) or right-click (PC, two-button mouse) on the Permalink hyperlink, select "Copy Link Location" (or equivalent), open a fresh (blank) page or tab in your browser and then paste the copied hyperlink into the url field and hit <return>.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                        Shrinkrap Feb 10, 2011 08:24 PM

                                                                                                                                        I'm using firefox on a tablet PC, and the first drag and drop left a pemalink short cut on my desktop. I tried one from another post, and it said something like "already here, do you want to replace it?

                                                                                                                                        I just want to make sure I don't miss anything!.

                                                                                                                                        Researched permalinks. Interesting!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Shrinkrap
                                                                                                                                          huiray Feb 11, 2011 05:18 AM

                                                                                                                                          I see.
                                                                                                                                          On a Mac the system creates the "dropped" links as 'Web Internet Locations' and automatically numbers successively "dropped" links without limit. (If the links are pasted into a url field in a window or tab then the link can be saved with the full path name)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Shrinkrap
                                                                                                                                            huiray Feb 12, 2011 05:35 AM

                                                                                                                                            I had a chance to see what you are referring to, although it was just on a PC running Firefox. The solution is to just rename the shortcut or just append a number at the end of the name 'shortcut' to, say, 'shortcut1' and so on. Either right-click, select 'Rename', etc...or just click on the name tag of the shortcut icon, wait a couple of seconds, click on the (now highlighted) name tag again, and the name field is ready for editing. When ready, just drag any of the shortcut icons onto the browser page or a fresh blank page or tag.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                              Shrinkrap Feb 12, 2011 10:20 AM

                                                                                                                                              Thanks! I figured renaming it would work.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                        jcattles Feb 10, 2011 06:18 PM

                                                                                                                                        What a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                          goodhealthgourmet Feb 10, 2011 06:49 PM

                                                                                                                                          such a great idea...albeit one that i'm almost sorry to know about! :)

                                                                                                                                    2. re: gaffk
                                                                                                                                      AMFM Feb 11, 2011 07:31 AM

                                                                                                                                      i thought fallon's sidekick was hilarious.

                                                                                                                                    3. mattstolz Feb 10, 2011 02:22 PM

                                                                                                                                      does anyone else ever wonder if any of the contestants creep on these posts and laugh as we throw out our suspicions and ideas of what was going on behind the scenes, or get angry as we bash them? its not like chowhound is a unknown site, i feel like its totally possible!

                                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: mattstolz
                                                                                                                                        aching Feb 10, 2011 02:31 PM

                                                                                                                                        I wonder about that! But if I were in the public eye, I would make a concerted effort not to read about myself on the internet - it would be too hurtful!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: mattstolz
                                                                                                                                          KailuaGirl Feb 11, 2011 12:08 AM

                                                                                                                                          Strangely enough I saw a post from someone named "Isabella" just a few days ago. I think it was on WFD. Could it be our Mikey?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: KailuaGirl
                                                                                                                                            LindaWhit Feb 11, 2011 05:02 AM

                                                                                                                                            I can't even imagine why Mike Isabella would be posting on the WFD thread. :-)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                              huiray Feb 11, 2011 05:20 AM

                                                                                                                                              WFD = ?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                mamachef Feb 11, 2011 05:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                What's For Dinner

                                                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                KailuaGirl Feb 11, 2011 02:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                As I said, I can't remember which thread it was, just giving it a wild guess. It seems that TCAS and WFD have been getting the majority of my attention lately.
                                                                                                                                                I agree though, can't imagine what he'd be doing on a WFD thread. Maybe it was the risotto thread that came off of last week's TCAS. There was a guy (Joe H.?) who gave a very strict recipe for "the best ever" risotto and the thread went on forever (about a decade!). It also had many offshoots. I got pleasantly lost wandering around there for hours...

                                                                                                                                                1. re: KailuaGirl
                                                                                                                                                  Ruth Lafler Feb 11, 2011 02:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                  LOL. That's a classic chowhound thread. Especially the follow-up post by the woman who got drunk while she was making it.

                                                                                                                                          2. nomadchowwoman Feb 10, 2011 09:54 AM

                                                                                                                                            Loved last night's show (actually am pretty much a fan of Jimmy Fallon--though I find it hard to believe anyone could dislike mushrooms AND mayo!)
                                                                                                                                            LOVE Carla; so glad she won. I find her exuberance--and especially, her lack of nastiness--uplifting. Hated to see Fabio go. But it's getting to the point where it's going to be hard watching *almost* any of them go. (I have done a complete about-face on Dale this season; I'm really liking him.)
                                                                                                                                            I love reading this thread: got up early to watch the recorded TC episode so I could get to this.
                                                                                                                                            Love Linda Whit for writing these recaps. This week's is especially terrific.

                                                                                                                                            Full of love today, Folks. Eat well.

                                                                                                                                            1. c
                                                                                                                                              cmvan Feb 10, 2011 09:38 AM

                                                                                                                                              Something I found interesting - when the chefs entered the TV studio, did we actually see any audience members in the shots with them? I ask because, if there actually was an audience, they would see who was still left in the competition. That would be odd, considering the penalties levied on contestants if they say anything to anyone before the finale airs.

                                                                                                                                              Might it have been edited to make it seem there was an audience, when there wasn't?

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: cmvan
                                                                                                                                                JasmineG Feb 10, 2011 09:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                In Gail's blog on EW, she said that it was filmed during the audience warm up for Fallon's show, and that there was an audience there. http://popwatch.ew.com/2011/02/10/gai...

                                                                                                                                                1. re: cmvan
                                                                                                                                                  momjamin Feb 10, 2011 09:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                  I saw a preview video where they actually walked in and sat in the audience first, rather than walking directly onto the stage, as it ended up edited last night.

                                                                                                                                                2. LindaWhit Feb 10, 2011 09:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                  *************FREE PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT*************

                                                                                                                                                  OK, everyone remember where, after the Beef Tongue Song, Jimmy Fallon looked directly at the camera and said something along the lines of "Make that your ring tone!"

                                                                                                                                                  Well, I'm reading the Bravo Team Top Chef blog, and Monica Reyhani has this paragraph:

                                                                                                                                                  "The dishes presented looked pretty good overall. I think the win could have gone either way. Everyone was impressed with Antonia's beef tongue. (Text beeftongue to 27286 to get a special ringtone FREE!) I was kind of floored by how everyone was treating beef tongue
                                                                                                                                                  like it's some exotic meat."

                                                                                                                                                  So I guess if you want the Beef Tongue Song, it's YOURS! LOL

                                                                                                                                                  *************END FREE PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT*************

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                    huiray Feb 14, 2011 05:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Video of the song on Youtube:

                                                                                                                                                    Video of the song on bravotv:

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                      momjamin Feb 14, 2011 06:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Y'know, since they came up with the song the night before, and they didn't know who was going to be in the top 3 (they presumably were just messing around in the house, and weren't planning to perform as a trio at JT), I wonder what parts the other housemates would have added to the song? ;-)

                                                                                                                                                    2. lisavf Feb 10, 2011 09:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Here's a really funny interview with Fabio from eonline:


                                                                                                                                                      My favorite Q/A:

                                                                                                                                                      Q: "Yeah, she seemed a bit too overexcited that she got to cook chicken pot pie."
                                                                                                                                                      FABIO: "If that was anybody else in Hollywood that would have cost her three months in rehab. I say this in the most gracious way because Carla is great—but she sounds like a crazy turkey."

                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lisavf
                                                                                                                                                        JasmineG Feb 10, 2011 09:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                        I adore Carla, but "crazy turkey" made me laugh out loud.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lisavf
                                                                                                                                                          KailuaGirl Feb 10, 2011 09:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Great interview, and funny as can be. That's why I'm really going to miss Fabio!

                                                                                                                                                        2. a
                                                                                                                                                          alidrum Feb 10, 2011 09:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Well I'm really sorry to see Fabio go, but it did surprise me that he obviously had no idea how to make a decent burger. I mean he lives in LA...

                                                                                                                                                          About Carla..I like her passion and skill but the screeching in the kitchen has to stop. Can you imagine trying to concentrate on your own dish, and someone is shrieking at the top of their lungs? I find it pretty selfish. Since she seemed to control her emotions when she announced her victory I think she's aware of what she's doing and needs to tone it down in the kitchen too.

                                                                                                                                                          Oh I forgot to add..notice the Buitoni ravioli the chefs prepared for dinner back at the house? If you look at the table the pan in the middle is still full...I would love to hear their comments when they were told they would have to do a Buitoni commercial in the middle of episode 9!!

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alidrum
                                                                                                                                                            tofuburrito Feb 10, 2011 09:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                            There are some great places to get a burger in L.A.

                                                                                                                                                          2. eviemichael Feb 10, 2011 08:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                            Does anyone know if they will post Carla's pot pie recipe?

                                                                                                                                                            51 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: eviemichael
                                                                                                                                                              LindaWhit Feb 10, 2011 08:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                              Ask and ye shall receive. :-) http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipe...

                                                                                                                                                              Bravo's Recipe Finder is a bit wonky - I've found the *best* way to search is to put in the chef's name in the search box. You'll get their original season, but also get Season 8 recipes - *if* they've put it up there.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                eviemichael Feb 10, 2011 09:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                thanks sooo much Linda! I appreciate it. I always have the hardest time with their Recipe Finder...and thanks also for the awesome write-ups as always. :)

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: eviemichael
                                                                                                                                                                roxlet Feb 10, 2011 08:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                My neighbor's fire alarm went off at the time they were serving Carla's pot pie, so I never really got a chance to see it. From what I had seen earlier, it looked to me like they were individual, free-standing pot pies, and not in any kind of pie plate. Is that what they were? I guess I should go over to the bravo site to check it out...

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 10, 2011 08:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  Posted the link just above yours, roxlet (I hate it that the CH site closes any posts that are created while you're reading a thread so you sometimes don't see them!)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                    roxlet Feb 10, 2011 09:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I just saw that, but didn't they look like individually molded and free-standing pies when she was making them in the kitchen -- or am I making that up? This looks like she would have baked the bottom crust separately and then put the pot pie "stew" over it and then the crust on top. Is that what it looked like on the table

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                      C. Hamster Feb 10, 2011 09:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      The recipe has you make and bake individual rounded top "cloche" crusts and separately bake bottom flat pie crust scraps.

                                                                                                                                                                      You lay some scraps in a bowl, ladle in filling and top with a crust to resemble a cloche. Though the pic with the recipe has the crust all smashed.

                                                                                                                                                                      It tels you to "but" the butter, so be careful with that.

                                                                                                                                                                      No specific directions for creating the pea salt ;-(

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: C. Hamster
                                                                                                                                                                        LindaWhit Feb 10, 2011 09:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        The recipe for Bravo I *think* is made by someone else - or are the cheftestants required to make one for the camera as well? (I'm going to change my initial statement and say I think they are required to make a camera dish as well.) So if the latter is true, perhaps they don't make it as "carefully" depending on time constraints?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                          JasmineG Feb 10, 2011 09:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          They are required to make a camera dish as well, and they've said in interviews that they definitely don't make the camera dish as carefully, because they want the best looking dishes to go to the judges.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                        debbiel Feb 10, 2011 06:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        I was surprised by the level of excitement over the bottom crust. Almost every pot pie I've had came with a bottom crust. How common is it to not have one?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                                                                          Pylon Feb 10, 2011 06:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          I've seen them, but usually only in the "cover some thickened chicken soup with canned biscuits" knid or recipe. Not ok.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                            susancinsf Feb 10, 2011 07:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            I actually had the opposite impression; namely that 'higher end' chicken pot pies were more likely to not have the bottom crust.

                                                                                                                                                                            Like this one:


                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                                                                            roxlet Feb 11, 2011 03:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            I never have a pot pie with a bottom crust -- but I may have to make one. My DH is the usual pot pie maker in the family, and he makes home made biscuits for his, but I'd like to do one like Carla's -- and may, since I'm the pastry maker in the family.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                              chowser Feb 11, 2011 03:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              I've had both and am always disappointed when there isn't a bottom crust. My problem w/ most bottom crusts is that they can get soggy but the way Carla made it, eliminated the potential but gave you the flakiness of crust w/ goodness of the chicken part on it.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                Ruth Lafler Feb 11, 2011 06:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                Right. The best part of a dish like that is the part of the pastry that has partially absorbed some of the sauce, but not so much that it's dissolved into a soggy mess.

                                                                                                                                                                                See, this is the difference between a professional chef making chicken pot pie and a home chef: most home chefs wouldn't think to cook the bottom crust separately and then assemble them at the last minute so it wouldn't be soggy. That's how a professional chef "elevates" homestyle dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                  Pylon Feb 11, 2011 06:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  That seems like an unfair assumption.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I like that in the posts above, you make the leap that Antonia must have known what to do with tongue, having never had it before, but here you assume that a home cook would never think to cook the bottom crust separate, even though they've probably had pot pie with bottom crust.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Do you really think pro chefs are THAT much smarter than those of us that cook for ourselves?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                    Ruth Lafler Feb 11, 2011 06:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Wait. I didn't say that Antonia "must have known" what to do with the tongue -- I said she conceptualized the dish. You don't have have cooked a specific ingredient to understand the basic principles and flavor profiles (beef tongue pretty much tastes like beef) for using it.

                                                                                                                                                                                    It's not a matter of whether home cooks are not as smart, it's that they don't approach dishes the same way that restaurant cooks do. Making it the way Carla did requires a lot more "prep" both pre- and post- cooking than most home cooks will spend on a homestyle dish -- not that they wouldn't do it,or that they've never done it, but most of them wouldn't bother to put that much extra effort into a dish that is supposed to be a simple, one-pot meal. In other words, if I were going to spend that much time fussing over a dish, I wouldn't choose chicken pot pie!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                      AMFM Feb 11, 2011 07:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      i would just like to point out that ever since this episode i've been craving chicken pot pie. seriously. now, february and the flu may have something to do with that but rarely, even when i think food looks awesome on this show do i have to have it. so there's still something to be said for the fact that carla makes food people want to eat. yum.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AMFM
                                                                                                                                                                                        chowser Feb 11, 2011 08:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, I think Carla is passionate about the food and all it encompasses emotionally and uses the techniques she needs to get what she wants. I think Richard is passionate about the technique and the food that might follow. I thought it was funny when he said food should be a little dangerous because that sounds like his cooking style. Carla would not go that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                        If I've had a bad day, I'd look to Carla's cooking but I also am a science geek and appreciate what Richard has to offer. I love quirky, odd little takes on things and would love to try liquid nitrogened bananas. But, not naked.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                        tofuburrito Feb 11, 2011 08:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree with Ruth's comments. The point was driven home to me when I had dinner at Jar in L.A. I was inspired to go there because the chef/owner is Suzanne Tracht, who competed in Top Chef Masters. Jar has a reputation for making awesome pot roast. I can get into pot roast but going in I was thinking "how good can it be, it's pot roast." Well I found out how good pot roast can be. It was one of the most memorable meals of my life.
                                                                                                                                                                                        I think it's also an example of how "comfort food" can be elevated beyond how we would normally think of it and justifies in my mind how the judges can get teary eyed over a bowl of steamed mussels or a chicken pot pie.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                      chowser Feb 11, 2011 07:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      "Most" home cooks would throw in a can of condensed soup w/ chicken and call it a day. I think most CH cooks would be able to elevate it substantially. I'll bet if you asked on Home Cooking what to do about a soggy crust, you'd get some pretty creative answers. I like to have extra crust on the side to add as I'm eating. Carla's idea was great but probably too time consuming for me to try. Her pie crust looked enticingly flaky and that's not a skill a lot of chefs, non-pastry chefs at least, have.

                                                                                                                                                                                      She made her own chicken stock in the two hours which I find impressive. I need to get a pressure cooker because chicken pot pie takes me all day to make if I start w/ making stock.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I just read her recipe and she adds extra pie crust to the bottom before serving. I love the high crust to chicken filling ratio. Honestly, if it were up to me, I'd use the pie crust to use as a spoon for the filling.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                        goodhealthgourmet Feb 11, 2011 04:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Right. The best part of a dish like that is the part of the pastry that has partially absorbed some of the sauce, but not so much that it's dissolved into a soggy mess.
                                                                                                                                                                                        that's precisely the same phenomenon/condition that makes leftover fruit pie irresistible after a night in the fridge :)

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                          chowser Feb 11, 2011 06:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          And I thought it was because it was easier to eat w/ our fingers that way.:-)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                            goodhealthgourmet Feb 11, 2011 08:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            oh, right. that too :)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                              debbiel Feb 11, 2011 08:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              I thought it was because you were eating pie for breakfast, something you dreamt of as a child but were never allowed to do.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Every once in a while, not often, I make a pie intended solely for breakfasts. Basically, it starts out as leftovers.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                                                                                                DGresh Feb 12, 2011 01:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                apple pie for breakfast is a "given" in our house.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DGresh
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Pylon Feb 12, 2011 08:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Always a good idea. Unless there s leftover pizza, of course...Then you have some of each.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                            NellyNel Feb 14, 2011 10:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            I LOVE when the bottom becomes a soggy mush!!

                                                                                                                                                                                            You have the top bit which stays flaky and crispy - and the bottom which is all mushy and doughy...mmmm - it's my favorite part!
                                                                                                                                                                                            And I would be gutted if I got a CPP without a bottom crust!

                                                                                                                                                                                            I am responding to a post way up above - to Ruth and Chowser - all my responses keep landing way elsewhere on the thread!

                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                            John E. Feb 11, 2011 09:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Did Carla make the filling and bake the crusts separately? That would alleviate the soggy bottom problem. I hate it when my bottom is soggy.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                                              LindaWhit Feb 11, 2011 09:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              I hate it when my bottom is soggy.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Don't want to be a member of the Soggy Bottom Boys, John E? ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                                                roxlet Feb 11, 2011 09:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, she did do that. The top crust was formed into a cloche shape over tin foil balls, and baked that way, and the bottom crust was baked as a separate disk and then assembled on the plate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 11, 2011 09:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I just watched the Hulu video linked earlier, and I like the top crust baked on a parchment-covered bowl idea. Makes sense to keep a crispy bottom crust.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  And NOW we know what pea salt is. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                    edible complex Feb 11, 2011 12:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    could do same w/wasabi peas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: edible complex
                                                                                                                                                                                                      LindaWhit Feb 11, 2011 12:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Now I *like* that idea - a bit of added "oomph" to the salt!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: edible complex
                                                                                                                                                                                                        KailuaGirl Feb 11, 2011 02:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I like that a lot!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: edible complex
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pylon Feb 11, 2011 04:56 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                          I can't do wasabi. My cousin fed me a spoonful of horseradish when I was 5. I've never recovered from the shock. Blech.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                            mcf Feb 11, 2011 05:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, get over it. My sister zipped the underside of my chin into my little toddler parka and I still have the mark, but I still wear clothing with zippers! ;-P

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                              goodhealthgourmet Feb 11, 2011 08:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              now THAT is funny.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              but it does seems that the invisible/emotional trauma from bad food experiences makes us more gun-shy about revisiting the offender than do the things that leave visible scars. fall out of the treehouse in the backyard and split open your chin, and you're climbing right back up there - stitched & bandaged - as soon as you get home from the hospital...but bite into a moldy blueberry muffin, and you become overwhelmingly nauseated at the mere sight of every blueberry muffin you encounter for the next 15 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              or maybe that's just me :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                mcf Feb 12, 2011 06:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                True dat. I have an aversion to dried apricots, just the sight of them can make me retch. I ate an entire package of apricot leather as a kid and got very violently ill from it. Never again!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pylon Feb 12, 2011 08:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh how I wish I could. I love spicy food all day long, but something about the pungent quality of horseradish or wasabi kicks my butt. I've tried repeatedly, but just can't get over the hump.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I am a big girl's blouse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ruth Lafler Feb 12, 2011 09:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hmm... I recently was at a buffet and overindulged in horseradish (both plain and in cocktail sauce). I didn't realize until five trips to the bathroom overnight that it's a diuretic, but that's not going to stop me from indulging again!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pylon Feb 12, 2011 09:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Guh. You are a stronger person than I.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      mcf Feb 12, 2011 10:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So am I, then. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pylon Feb 12, 2011 10:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No argument here. Nor a leg wrestling challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LindaWhit Feb 12, 2011 09:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I dearly love the various left turns and switchbacks these threads take. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pylon Feb 12, 2011 10:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hey look! Dinosaurs!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Feb 12, 2011 10:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Like that. ;-) Although that's a time change, not a switchback, Pylon. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pylon Feb 12, 2011 10:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Not if they are ROBOT DINOSAURS!!!! RAWWRRRRRR!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ruth Lafler Feb 12, 2011 10:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Considering that I didn't know horseradish was a diuretic until I googled it the next day, I considered that comment to be at least in part a public service announcement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LindaWhit Feb 12, 2011 10:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I didn't either - although I can only deal with so much of it, so I doubt I'll ever have the after-effect of eating too much of it, Ruth. But your PSA will hopefully be noted by other horseradish lovers. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          janetofreno Feb 16, 2011 10:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Really? Horseradish is a diuretic? Wow, you learn something new every day. What would we do without chowhound!?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ruth Lafler Feb 11, 2011 09:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes. It turns out there wasn't exactly a bottom crust. What she did was make dome-shaped tops (pastry baked over a bowl to keep the shape -- in the recipe it says a ball of aluminum foil, but in the demo she was clearly using a bowl covered in parchment), and then cut the rest of the dough into pieces and bake them as well. Then she put the baked pieces on the bottom of the serving bowl, spooned the filling on top, and covered it with the pastry dome. I think the pieces probably worked even better than a solid crust, because they have more surface area to get crisp and browned, plus so much easier and less wasteful than cutting out disks!


                                                                                                                                                                                              2. C. Hamster Feb 10, 2011 08:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Enough with the food talk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Who else liked Padma's dress?

                                                                                                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: C. Hamster
                                                                                                                                                                                                  aching Feb 10, 2011 08:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I suspect you're mocking my comment from last week - but I actually really did like her outfit during the QF challenge this week! =)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: aching
                                                                                                                                                                                                    C. Hamster Feb 10, 2011 09:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm really not mocking, I swear. Though I have been known to do that on occassion ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I did like her dress!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: aching
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Nettie Feb 10, 2011 04:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I was actually pleasantly surprised by how much I liked her QF outfit this week. I had forgotten, though, until I read the recap on Eater.com about how after the QF voted she announced "I've tallied all the votes." Sure, Padma.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: C. Hamster
                                                                                                                                                                                                      donovt Feb 10, 2011 08:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      She definitely redeemed herself from that awful outfit last week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: C. Hamster
                                                                                                                                                                                                        huiray Feb 10, 2011 11:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        My eyebrows fell off and I suffered damage to my visual cortex functions when she walked into the stew room to ask for the winning group.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                                                                          mamachef Feb 10, 2011 12:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          huiray, when she walked into the room my husband was reduced to a weird aphasia for like 3 minutes. It consisted of "Gah gah gah. Gah. Gah!!! GAH!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mamachef
                                                                                                                                                                                                            LindaWhit Feb 10, 2011 12:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Did you have the drool bucket at the ready?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mamachef
                                                                                                                                                                                                              huiray Feb 10, 2011 01:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not entirely sure about whether your husband's reaction was positive or not :-) ... but for me my comment above was NOT meant to be a positive one. I thought it was a CRIME, what she was wearing. Heh.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              [OK, last comment about fashion from me]

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                                                                              aching Feb 10, 2011 01:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I didn't even notice what she was wearing in that scene! I'll have to check it out when I watch the rerun.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                                                                                goodhealthgourmet Feb 10, 2011 04:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                @huiray, we agree on this one. i thought the dress was pretty bad. it made me dizzy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. p
                                                                                                                                                                                                              pie22 Feb 10, 2011 08:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I just need to add how much Richard Blais irked me this week.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              His snide comments and how much he feels he is the winner already are really getting to me. I can't really remember exacts in particular at this point but I just remember not liking him at all last night. In the quickfire he felt he would have won if there was an actual judge? Then there was something in the main challenge where he felt like he was the best.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              EXCEPT that he was helpful in other people's dishes and Antonia definitely would not have been in the top last night if it wasn't for him. That is his saving grace.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              109 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pie22
                                                                                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit Feb 10, 2011 08:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                In the quickfire he felt he would have won if there was an actual judge?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, I do remember hearing him say that to the confessional camera. I would *love* to know if there had been another judge alongside Padma, who would have actually won. I still think Dale's Asian take on fondue would have taken it. Based only on what I viewed, of course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  pie22 Feb 10, 2011 10:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  yes exactly! i agree with you - the concept that dale had i am pretty certain will be hitting the melting pot menu very soon!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  it was a great idea by him!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: pie22
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  jcattles Feb 10, 2011 05:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I really do like Richard, but none of his dishes or techniques this season have hit the mark. He seems to be coasting in the middle with Mike I. He hasn't blown my socks off this season at all. Unless he's holding back trying to make it to the finals, I really don't see him taking it home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jcattles
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    goodhealthgourmet Feb 10, 2011 06:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Unless he's holding back trying to make it to the finals, I really don't see him taking it home.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    interestingly, he said something last night to the effect that it doesn't matter if you win challenges throughout the season as long as you win the final one...of course i thought he was saying it to reassure himself and assuage any anxiety he might be feeling about not performing up to expectations thus far.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      lisavf Feb 11, 2011 08:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, but you have to make it to the finals to win, and if he doesn't step it up soon, he may not get there. Eventually average food puts you on the bottom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lisavf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        goodhealthgourmet Feb 11, 2011 04:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        oh i wasn't agreeing with his statement, just reporting it! i'd absolutely like to see him step up his game - i was really looking forward to watching him this season and his performance has definitely been a letdown.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        mcf Feb 11, 2011 08:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That was my take on it, too. He looks more and more tense and grim as each EC goes by.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think he's psyching himself out again, this time taking the other tack.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ruth Lafler Feb 11, 2011 09:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm starting to wonder if Richard isn't a somewhat better, more mature version of Marcel. If you take away his fancy techniques, how good is his food? Obviously he's a very good chef, but is he as good as the hype surrounding him has led us to believe? Or is a lot of that impression based on the fact that people -- including the other chefs -- are impressed/intrigued by his technique? Obviously there's no way to know for sure, but I'm throwing that idea out there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            mcf Feb 11, 2011 09:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, I absolutely think so. He was my favorite in his season, and had he not choked, would have won hands down, I believe. I think that unlike Marcel, his food doesn't *require* gimmickry to be good, he uses the experimentation to enhance and to advance his art.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ruth Lafler Feb 11, 2011 09:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              See, I'm not so sure about that. What non-gimmicky dishes has he's done that the judges swooned over? Serious question, not trying to be argumentative.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit Feb 11, 2011 09:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't recall if the judges "swooned" over these dishes, but Richard *is* capable of making dishes without MG.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipes/bbq-pork-shoulder-with-braised-greens-and-coffee (horribly formatted, but no MG here either)



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  chowser Feb 11, 2011 10:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You're just an amazing resource. I don't know how you come up with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LindaWhit Feb 11, 2011 11:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Recipe Finder is a tricky one, but I've mastered my way around it being difficult to find things. Just put in the name of the chef you want to see recipes from. You'll have to cull through the earlier season if you only want to see A-S recipes, but it works. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  mcf Feb 11, 2011 09:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If I had a better memory, I'd tell you, honest. ;-) It's my overall impression of his cooking skill over two competitive seasons, though last one was better, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                chowser Feb 11, 2011 10:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If you read the blogs on Bravo, they really liked the ramen he made. They just didn't like it was much as they loved the top 3. Plus, he uses his MG in ways that elevate his dishes, not distract as Marcel does. Calling him a better version of Marcel is like saying Carla is just a better version of a home cook because she does comfort food. That might be their specialty but they take it to a far higher level that it's a stretch to make the comparison.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  mariacarmen Feb 11, 2011 05:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  but, RL, the other chefs have actually TASTED his food - so they're not just impressed by his technique - they are impressed by his cooking as a whole. He's one of the ones the others say "Blais is my competition".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ruth Lafler Feb 11, 2011 05:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And yet, they don't seem to be impressed by food that TASTES good -- they tend to look down on food that "only" tastes good -- otherwise they wouldn't be sneering at Carla and Antonia (or, for example, the way the Voltaggio brothers very subtly looked down at Kevin). People on this board often express the opinion that they aren't impressed by food that looks like something they can make themselves, and I would think that would go double for chefs. They think Richard is their competition because they think he can do things that they can't do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm not saying his food doesn't taste good. I'm saying that leaving aside the wow factor of his fancy techniques, his food may not be in a different class than any of the other chefs, as people seem to imply.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      chowser Feb 11, 2011 06:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Michael Voltaggio didn't just subtly look down on Kevin's dishes. He said they were the type of things he'd make on his day off. Even if you don't believe the other chefs are unbiased about Richard, the judges have been, for the most part, been very complimentary towards him. In this challenge, Carla asked (I think it was Dale or maybe Angelo) to taste her dish and he said it was excellent. They are impressed with food that tastes good. Antonia had Richard taste hers and he said it was great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Indy 67 Feb 11, 2011 07:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Of course, we have to take comments like "excellent" and "great" with a grain of salt in a competition. I remember an episode in which one chef asked another to taste his/her food. The verdict was positive, but the editors spliced in confessional remarks in which the taster criticized the flavor. Later, at judge's table, the topic of the second chef validating the excellent flavor came out after the judges were appalled by the terrible taste. Can anyone remember this incident and supply the names of the chefs?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Still, in this season's competition, Carla and Antonia have won enough ECs that words like "excellent" and "great" are probably legitimate descriptions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Indy 67
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Worldwide Diner Feb 12, 2011 05:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It was the Russian and the bimbo that put booze into kiddie food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Worldwide Diner
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Indy 67 Feb 12, 2011 05:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hysterical but cryptic answer! However, this aging brain is still calling for help! Some bake sale challenge is what's knocking on my consciousness but that's as far as it goes. I remember someone buying a bottle of some sort of liquor completely destroying the team budget -- along with logic. I don't think it was the museum sleepover challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Indy 67
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              momjamin Feb 12, 2011 05:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Was that the school lunch challenge with the White House chef in S7? Wikipedia tells me Jacqueline went home for a horrific banana pudding, but not the rest of the details. It was early enough in the season that many of the contestants weren't distinct in my brain yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: momjamin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Indy 67 Feb 12, 2011 06:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Here's a bit more detail about the school lunch challenge: I remember Jacqueline's crimes against taste were using under-ripe bananas and using too much sugar to qualify as healthy. Assuming this is the incident with the teammate giving a false thumbs-up after tasting the pudding, the Russian would be Stephan and Jacqueline would be the bimbo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So now, I'm scratching my head about th episode in which someone blew the team's budget on sherry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Indy 67
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  mcf Feb 12, 2011 07:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 lbs of sugar, to be exact.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Indy 67
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    debbiel Feb 12, 2011 07:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Wasn't it the same challenge? Amanda with sherry in a chicken dish?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Indy 67
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      momjamin Feb 12, 2011 08:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, Amanda blew her team's budget on the dubious choice of sherry for the school cafeteria challenge. See Gail's blog: http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/blogs...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I do remember a contestant tasting a dish in the kitchen, saying it was fine, then saying in confessional that it wasn't...but I don't associate that with the same episode. Can't pin it down, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Indy 67
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Worldwide Diner Feb 12, 2011 08:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Alex is the Russian and Amanda is the one who bought booze for the kiddie food but it wasn't that particular challenge. I can't remember the challenge but I remember Alex tasting Amanda's food and said it was fine but later in the confessional he said something was off. Angelo also helped Amanda with a tuna tartare? That turned grey?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ruth Lafler Feb 11, 2011 10:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for the reminder -- I couldn't remember exactly what it was that Michael Voltaggio had said that made me think he was looking down of Kevin, but that perfectly expresses what I was trying to say: these chefs often to dismiss food that tastes good (presumably Michael Voltaggio doesn't think the food he cooks on his day off is anything less than tasty) but doesn't overtly display a lot of technique.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Again, I'm not saying that Richard is not a good chef, I'm saying that the perception that he's the *best* chef, biggest competition, etc. in the group might not be accurate, and that the reason that the other chefs believe him to be a bigger threat than, say, Carla, is that they are intimidated by the techniques he uses. Which is sort of what he said, except I don't think it's a much to his credit as he seems to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            chefhound Feb 14, 2011 10:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Richard is good because he's smart. He's always thinking of new approaches and interpretations. Even without his techniques, he's amazing because of his ideas. He practically led his team to the win in Restaurant Wars because he came up with so many clever ideas. That's his genius.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mustard ice cream? A reverse (frozen vs. hot) fondue? Raw tuna in a tuna fish can? Brilliant ideas! That's the Blais magic, not liquid nitrogen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chefhound
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              momjamin Feb 15, 2011 03:09 AM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chefhound
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                chowser Feb 15, 2011 03:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Exactly. Creativity and he's an effective leader, as he showed on RW w/out ruffling feathers. It's also what makes his food exciting--that he thinks way outside the box.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chefhound
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  mcf Feb 15, 2011 05:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is my take on him, too. Now if he'd stop thinking too much and let his ideas shine...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    chowser Feb 15, 2011 08:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, he needs to get out of his head or he'll end up like Jen. I feel like he's so anxious to win that he's not loving cooking because of the pressure he's put on himself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: chefhound
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    NellyNel Feb 15, 2011 06:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I agree,he's clever, but I had mustard ice cream 5 years ago in Germany (served with a fish course as I recall) it was indeed amazing!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Miss Needle Feb 15, 2011 06:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I also had mustard ice cream many years ago in France. Not a mustard fan so I didn't care for it too much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: chefhound
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      roxlet Feb 15, 2011 07:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sometimes this molecular gastronomy guys get too caught up in doing things that are cool vs. things that are delicious. Just because you can make ice cream from anything doesn't mean that it's actually going to taste good. Having tried things like olive oil ice cream and other savory tastes, I have personally decided that if I am going to use the calories for something like ice cream, I want it to be delicious, not just "interesting."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ruth Lafler Feb 15, 2011 08:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Exactly. In the end, it has to be eaten or it's just a technical exercise. That was sort of my point: these people are chefs and food professionals. They eat delicious food prepared by professional chefs every day. They're somewhat jaded so novelty catches their attention. Yeah, it's cool to eat tuna out of a tuna can. But if you took it out of the tuna can, would there be anything special about it? We don't know. We can't know. But what has he won recently? Right: a challenge where no one tasted his dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          chowser Feb 15, 2011 08:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Quite a few people hated the tuna can idea but overlooked it because the tuna was good. You might not like him but Richard Blais has done well in both seasons and the blogs about him from the judges have largely been positive, even in the last challenge. Gail Simmons said she really loved the ramen. As you said, we don't know how good Carla's food is, nor Richard's and yet you're willing to go out on a limb and say Carla is genius and Richard is over-rated,despite both doing well. What makes dried pea salt wonderful, yet mustard ice cream just a technical exercise when both were highly praised?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ruth Lafler Feb 15, 2011 11:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I never said Carla was a genius, nor do I dislike Richard (although have to say his attitude this season has not been endearing). I'm saying maybe Richard isn't a genius. Maybe he's just a clever guy and good chef, but not in a different league from the others as people seem to think. I'm just taking all of the "Richard is the best he's going to win, and if he doesn't it's because he messed up not because the other person is good" with a grain of (pea)salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            BTW, the tuna can was a bad example (my bad!) because we don't know (do we?) who actually made the tuna. He certainly didn't make all the dishes, although he participated in conceptualizing them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pylon Feb 15, 2011 02:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You might be right, but what I keep going back to is the tennis challenge. Everyone on the other team was worried that they would have to go up against him. He was the one they didn't want to face. That says something, I think.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ruth Lafler Feb 16, 2011 08:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It does. It says that's their *perception* of him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But IIRC he didn't blow anyone away with his dish at the tennis challenge (his team won so he was eligible for the win, but his dish didn't win -- Carla's won). What I'm saying is that there appears to be a disconnect with people's *perception* of Richard as the one to beat and the reality. My theory is that their perception -- which is then transmitted to the audience, which has no direct basis on which to judge him and has to infer everything from what people say -- is based on the fact that they think that he has an extra "weapon" in his cooking arsenal that they don't have and not on the fact that all -- or even most -- of the actual dishes he produces are better than what they can produce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  mcf Feb 16, 2011 08:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  " My theory is that their perception -- which is then transmitted to the audience, which has no direct basis on which to judge him and has to infer everything from what people say -- is based on the fact that they think that he has an extra "weapon" in his cooking arsenal "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I just don't agree. I think folks have a certain fascination with the alchemy he can practice, but that his favorite status comes from the fact that his food was fabulous and he proved to be a gifted chef in his original season. He was the clear favorite in my mind, til he choked then, and now, I fear.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As I recall it, his food tasted best, and that's why he's always considered a favorite; superior cheffing, with or without tricks up his sleeve. Top Chef is about the flavors on the plate and in the mouth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LindaWhit Feb 16, 2011 08:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ruth, keep in mind their perception *is* based on fact. They're aware of how well he did in his own season, despite not winning overall. Four QF and four Elimination wins each is nothing to sneeze at.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      chowser Feb 16, 2011 10:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Exactly--they're tasting the food and seeing him in action and we're seeing it filtered. But, if the judges seem to give him top reviews for his food, I think he probably does okay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ruth Lafler Feb 16, 2011 01:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A lot of these contestants did well their own seasons -- that's why they were asked back. Carla, for example, had three elimination wins and went to the finale, where she (like Richard) was seen to have "choked." But I don't see them saying "Carla's one of my biggest competitors here" --in fact, I don't remember seeing *any* of them giving her any credit at all for how well she has done on Top Chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        So objectively speaking, what's the difference between Richard and Carla? He's a man, he's a "wizard" and he's a restaurant chef (she's a former restaurant chef who is currently a caterer). Which of those factors do you think makes them perceive him as a bigger threat?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Feb 16, 2011 02:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't know - their style of cooking, perhaps? We all know that becoming a chef has been a "man's field" - it's taken a long time for women to break in and attain a high level of respect. Perhaps amongst this group, they're still thinking in the manner of "men are better than women". I don't know. You're asking a question that none of us can answer; only the cheftestants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          So maybe one of the "surprises" that Tom Colicchio promised viewers early on is that it's Carla who wins the whole shooting match. Will she get respect then? Obviously not from Fabio or Mike, perhaps not from Richard. Why? I don't know. You'll have to ask them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            gaffk Feb 16, 2011 02:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't think the finale has been shot yet. I seem to remember reading somewhere (sorry, I forget where) that the finale was going to be filmed in the Caribbean the first week of March. I know they all go home after the "last cut," spend a few months, and then film the finale when the last few episodes are being aired.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Despite my fuzziness on the article, I do distinctly recall it's a 4-part finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gaffk
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LindaWhit Feb 16, 2011 03:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There are 7 more cheftestants - one leaves tonight. We get down to 4 by March 2nd...so maybe it's those 4 that go on to the finale, and one of them is out on March 9th - then a 2 part finale? (Are you sure it's a 4-part finale? That would bring us to the end of March!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And I just checked TV Guide online - I'm going to have a hard time not gagging during next week's episode. Paula Deen is the QF judge. Gah. Luckily she'll be offset by John Besh as the EC judge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                gaffk Feb 16, 2011 03:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Paula Deen and John Besh on the same episode? Talk about the ridiculous to the sublime.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                OK, this annoying site is not where I originally saw the news: http://realitytvmagazine.sheknows.com... (NO SPOILERS


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was part right (a 4-part finale) and part wrong (it *airs* in March). So I guess they do send 4 chefs to the finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gaffk
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 16, 2011 03:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wow - that's a bucketload of very high-level guest judges! (And my *other* boyfriend comes back - yay!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    gaffk Feb 16, 2011 03:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I guess once his protege was out, he could come back to judging . . .yay for us :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: gaffk
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    mcf Feb 16, 2011 04:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I can't believe Gail let them use that photo of her. Not a good pose, not a flattering fit of the dress.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    debbiel Feb 16, 2011 05:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Each cheftestant has 5 minutes to make a stick of butter using only a stick of butter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pylon Feb 16, 2011 05:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Can they use more than one?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LindaWhit Feb 16, 2011 05:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pylon, you're disqualified for asking a silly question. Read the instructions: Make "A" stick of butter using only "A" stick of butter.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (Now you and huiray can't fight in the back of the station wagon either. Phew!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          huiray Feb 16, 2011 06:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          HEY! Waaaitt a minute! I was minding my own business!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Besides, I wouldn't be caught dead in the back of a station wagon anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                chowser Feb 16, 2011 02:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I know you keep pointing it out to be sexism but then how do you explain the high regard all the chefs and judges (and general audience) had for Jen while she often didn't do well and was one of the first to leave? In the first episodes, she was one of the ones most picked to look out for. She didn't have any fancy techniques, just a solid cooking background. Why her and not Hosea who won his season?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 16, 2011 02:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  +1. Very good point, chowser. Which also goes back to "style" of cooking. Carla's "comfy food" might not resonate with the other chefs because they think the winners should come from high-end preparations. But it's about the TASTE. If a fancy-schmancy looking dish tastes like crap, it's not going to win challenges.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    chowser Feb 16, 2011 02:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, and that might have been the reason Michael Volt looked down on Kevin Gillespie. I don't know. But, maybe it has to do w/ kitchen skills? Carla doesn't do well in any of the knife or technique challenges, nor does she seem to step up to the plate to be a leader so maybe that's why they don't respect her as much. Who knows?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      mcf Feb 16, 2011 03:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think the high wire kitchen chefs look down on those who aren't as just sort of also rans. Jen has as much of this Kitchen Machismo as any of those men.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        JonDough Feb 16, 2011 03:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I always thought that Michael Volt talking down to Kevin was more due to editing than an actual conflict. He had that one comment that he could have said in a moment of frustration and Bravo just played it over and over.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JonDough
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pylon Feb 16, 2011 03:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Also could have just been out of context...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "That's what I cook on my day off...it's the best kind of food to eat, and he's great at it." Not a stretch to imagine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JonDough
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            chowser Feb 16, 2011 03:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            True. Kevin also did very well in their Bocuse type challenge which required a lot of technical skill. And, they all seemed to have an almost joking competitive, beat your chest type friendship.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              JonDough Feb 17, 2011 08:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              He also killed it on the deconstruction challenge with the Mole.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        mcf Feb 16, 2011 02:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think Jen earned their respect with her skill and cooking, BUT, she's also a Ripert employee, and benefited from their respect and relationship with him, too, I think. An example of their trying to put a good face on a bad situation was praising her for standing up for her food when it was crappy and her behavior was downright creepy and insolent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          chowser Feb 16, 2011 04:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Many of them earned stripes from the top chefs, eg Bryan Volt from Charlie Palmer. Who was it who kept pulling the card of all the chefs he'd worked with? I can't remember which season it was but the first episode, it seemed the contestant spent the intro time with the others name dropping. It's a two edged sword if you've worked w/ a great chef--there are higher expectations. Was anyone not embarassed for Jen for her behavior at JT? I cringed. Even Ripert said he didn't care for the way she acted and, in later interviews, she said she wished she hadn't done it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think, overall, Carla may be a great cook but she hasn't proved herself to be a great chef (at the risk of being called sexist). She hasn't proved herself w/ her knife technique (she completely butchered that fish she was supposed to filet in the QF and didn't seem to have an idea of what to do w/ it), she hasn't stepped up and been a leader in the kitchen. I think this is where Jen shines over her--she ran a mean kitchen, praised by all, she has great technical skills. She's flailed at this competition but I don't doubt she can cook and run a kitchen. You could see it when she did the mise en place (I think that's the one) where she was the first to cook and started w/ the basis of a great sauce that got her team underway for the win. It was things like that that made me route for her initially.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            karenfinan Feb 16, 2011 04:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            you know I love Carla, and frankly hope she wins the whole thing...BUT I think you have a very good point, particularly about the kitchen leadership. I haven't read her whole bio- but she hasn't lead a kitchen as a chef, at least not recently as a caterer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: karenfinan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              mcf Feb 16, 2011 06:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              To use a metaphor; Jen throws like a man and Carla throws like a girl. Jen has tons of technique and machisma, Carla has love in her food. Carla, however, doesn't come unglued in competition as easily as Jen does.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: karenfinan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                chowser Feb 17, 2011 02:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I like Carla and wouldn't be the least bit upset if she won and proved the other chefs wrong. I'm not sure if it would change their minds about her (think Kevin or Hosea who won) but really, she'd have all her trips and half a million dollars. I don't think she'd care.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                All this discussion has made me think about why I don't think she's a contender--it has nothing to do w/ what the others have/haven't said about her, since until it was pointed out in these threads, I didn't remember her being picked last in the tennis challenge, didn't know she was a caterer, never thought the other chefs were biased towards her. I'm going off my initial impressions of her in her season and how she didn't seem to do well and it felt, to me, that she fell into a very weak final three.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pylon Feb 16, 2011 03:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I already explained my thoughts on this whole thing, relating back to complexity and style. Some of the other responses here echo the same thing. To call it sexism is misguided at best, lazy at worst. Too many other factors are at play.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            mcf Feb 16, 2011 04:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            To be fair and perhaps more accurate, I do think that sexism is the baseline way of operating in top kitchens, and I've never heard a professional chef say anything but, man or woman, including Bourdain, IIRC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That said, I also think there's more to consider here, when you see someone like Jen regarded as one of the guys owing to her status as head chef in a prestigious kitchen. I think that's the biggest bias at work here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pylon Feb 16, 2011 04:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "To be fair and perhaps more accurate, I do think that sexism is the baseline way of operating in top kitchens, and I've never heard a professional chef say anything but, man or woman, including Bourdain, IIRC."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, but we aren't talking about pecking order in a working kitchen, we're talking about respect between competitors. I don't think it's quite the same. But I completely agree that in the "real world" it is a fact of life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                mcf Feb 16, 2011 06:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, these chefs bring the lessons of a lifetime in the "real world" to the competition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                chowser Feb 16, 2011 06:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Besides your talking about Jen with her "machisma" (not exactly sure what that means but it sounds like veiled sexism that a woman who performs strongly in the kitchen is somehowmanly), no one has said Jen is regarded as one of the guys. I think that's probably the most sexist comments that the only reason someone likes Jen is that she's "regarded as one of the guys." What about Stephanie? Do you think, as another poster asserted, that she is similarly masculine because she performed well?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, sexism exists in the kitchen. But that doesn't mean every time a woman isn't well regarded is sexist and it doesn't mean that every woman who is well regarded is full of "machisma." Think Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  mcf Feb 16, 2011 07:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wow, you got my meaning all wrong. And you sound like you need a cleansing breath. I don't even know what you're talking about or what you had going on in your head when you read my post, but it's kind of like a word salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I never said ANY of what you've inferred. I can't believe I've been accused of sexism, LOL. I guess if you live long enough, all sorts of weird stuff happens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was comparing their personal styles and their comparative professional positions and how other chefs may have biases wrt those things. I've used feminist machisma as a compliment, not a slur. I'm not the least bit manly, but I've always been proud of my feminist machisma, my made up word for myself during my work life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And I don't ever want to spend my time thinking about Palin or Clinton, thanks.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    chowser Feb 17, 2011 02:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, sorry. I know better than to post after a night time glass of wine. I must have misread your comments and interpreted them to mean, as was argued at some point (can't remember when or where), that Jen had more "masculine" qualities and therefore that was the reason she was well regarded. I don't find that to be the case at all. So, I was letting that previous comment color what I was reading in your posts, so I apologize. I think that it's great that Jen and Stephanie are highly regarded and put Antonia in the same category. And, if that's true, then Carla's case might not be so cut and dry sexist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      mcf Feb 17, 2011 07:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Nuff said, no harm done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              John E. Feb 16, 2011 08:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't think Cala's finale was seen as 'choking'. It was seen as her taking advice and influence from Casey. If anything, Carla getting to the finale in TC 5 was seen as lucky because she was not impressive for the first half of that season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                mcf Feb 17, 2011 07:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I recall thinking that Carla choked and that caused her to allow another chef to tell her how to cook instead of asserting herself with confidence.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  chowser Feb 15, 2011 08:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The judges loved the mustard ice cream and thought it was a perfect compliment to the dish. Given that, I assume it was delicious and not MG for the sake of MG, as Marcel was accused of doing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    roxlet Feb 15, 2011 08:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't remember the mustard ice cream and what dish it was served with, but the idea of cold ice cream with a hot, savory dish doesn't appeal to me at all, though I may be in the minority. Give me a hot fudge sundae with delicious fudge and homemade or premium ice cream any day of the week, but mustard ice cream with fish -- not at all!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LindaWhit Feb 15, 2011 08:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Episode 1 of this season with a pork and black pepper sausage that won the QuickFire challenge - http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipe...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        chowser Feb 15, 2011 08:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not to say that it would be my first choice (I'd much rather have a hot fudge sundae, too) but that's a personal opinion and would be like saying Carla making chicken pot pie was unappealing because someone doesn't like hot pie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          roxlet Feb 15, 2011 09:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Or hot mustard pie ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            chowser Feb 15, 2011 09:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just have Blais throw some liquid nitrogen on it and it's a pie popsicle!:-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              mcf Feb 15, 2011 09:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Or a piecycle? Once you've eaten it, you never forget how?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                mamachef Feb 15, 2011 09:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh bad. bad bad mcf. Verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry punny. : )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  chowser Feb 15, 2011 10:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Too funny. Thanks for the laugh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    mcf Feb 15, 2011 12:53 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                debbiel Feb 15, 2011 06:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ew.Having a hard time being open minded about that. (the hot mustard pie from roxlet)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                debbiel Feb 15, 2011 06:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I would also choose the hot fudge sundae. Over almost anything. That said, in addition to it being personal choice as chowser says, there's a possibility that, forced to try mustard ice cream, I would actually love it. Sometimes the idea of something sounds terrible but the reality is fantastic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  chowser Feb 16, 2011 03:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm not sure about mustard ice cream, either. Also keep in mind it wasn't a whole bowl of it, it was a condiment on a sandwich. I've had a whole bowl of garlic ice cream. It was okay but much better than I thought it would be, which was stomach churning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                huiray Feb 15, 2011 09:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What about fried ice cream?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The coating is often sort-of savory... :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Pylon Feb 15, 2011 09:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mmmm...I'll have some fried ice cream right now, please.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    huiray Feb 15, 2011 09:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Heh. Which variety?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pylon Feb 15, 2011 09:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      One each, please.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  NellyNel Feb 16, 2011 05:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I am surprised that on a food site there are people who dismiss the thought of savory ice cream so readily.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have had it quite a few times...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The mustard ice cream that I had was part of a ten course meal in which every course was a huge "wow"...five years later, the mustard ice cream is what stands out to me, and I can still taste it....and I crave it, still.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It was sweet and tangy and savory, and complimented the fish so beautifully, it cannot be described.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As someone who loves food, I am always eager to try new and unusual flavors, and, for me this is why I would want to eat Richard's and Marcel's food before Carla's = I can make my own super delicious chicken pot pie, but I am not creative enough to come up with new and odd flavor combo's that still taste amazing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pylon Feb 16, 2011 06:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When I think mustard, I tend to think yellow French's mustard. But there are a wide range of flavors and profiles in the mustard world. Sounds like more of a honey mustard flavor? I could see that being tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      huiray Feb 16, 2011 08:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Similarly, ice cream drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar - or other aged vinegars - is a sweet/tangy combination that is well-known.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        roxlet Feb 16, 2011 09:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm not dismissing savory ice cream -- I've had it and it didn't appeal to me. In particular, mustard ice cream with fish is something that doesn't sway me to try it at all. Maybe other combinations would be more appealing, but my experience thus far didn't rock my boat. If you crave mustard ice cream to such a degree, maybe you could learn to make it for yourself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pylon Feb 16, 2011 09:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "If you crave mustard ice cream to such a degree, maybe you could learn to make it for yourself."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Or call Ben and Jerry's. They are always looking for ideas, and I don't ever recall seeing savory ice cream selections in the store.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As I wrote this, I realized I was only half kidding. Talk about an untapped market.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            chowser Feb 16, 2011 10:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, maybe they could market a hot dog/mustard ice cream. <<only said half kidding, too>> I would probably try it if I saw in on the shelf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            NellyNel Feb 16, 2011 01:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            oh - I suppose I could..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As for Ben and Jerry's - well I don't think the idea would go over too well!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ..After all - it's not the kind of thing your going to sit on the couch in your pj's devouring!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's more like a small dainty amazing burst of intense flavor...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Kind of like guzzling down an ice cold Corona compared to a Belgian Trappist beer - something to be sipped and savoured.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pylon Feb 16, 2011 03:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't know...have you ever eaten a pint of mustard ice cream in one sitting? Maybe it's the perfect snack.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              OK, maybe not...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          momjamin Feb 16, 2011 06:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          > the idea of cold ice cream with a hot, savory dish doesn't appeal to me at all

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The mustard ice cream with sausage intrigues me -- it makes me think of adding a dollop of sour cream to cool down a bowl of chili.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        debbiel Feb 15, 2011 06:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've had olive oil ice cream and actually loved it. And now I'm wondering if I'm a freak.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          mariacarmen Feb 15, 2011 08:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          debbiel - i'm weird with you! i loved the olive oil ice cream i had. and mustard ice cream with pork and black pepper sausage sounds like a wonderful dish - full of contrasts in texture and temp - I still think Richard is great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            NellyNel Feb 16, 2011 05:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, I also love olive oil ice cream!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              AMFM Feb 17, 2011 02:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i think mustard ice cream on some of these dishes - or other savory types - sounds fabulous. i'll back you up. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. b
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bellachefa Feb 10, 2011 07:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fabio had to go home. There was no other choice. Any chef that can't make a juicy burger isn't worth their salt. He was funny and pulled out that gracious charm for his exit walk. He'll be back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bellachefa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              C. Hamster Feb 10, 2011 07:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It wasn't juicy even though it was extremely pink. Tough to do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: C. Hamster
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                mcf Feb 11, 2011 05:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Especially with brisket, chuck and short rib as meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. l
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ladybugthepug Feb 10, 2011 06:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              * Oh no he didn't - Is it me or did I hear Angelo say "chi-poltay"? It ought to be a law, you can't be Top Chef if you don't pronounce basic stuff right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              * If these guys want to rip on Carla - go right ahead. She's eating their LUNCHES and the best they can do is comment on her demeanor in the kitchen. Props to her for humbly walking in and saying, "I won. The judges want to see......", instead of celebrating in front of them like a few weeks ago. I think it shows that she's considerate of her fellow competitors and didn't mean to offend anyone when she got called out for it last time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              *Sorry Fabio, it's too bad we can't watch Antonia sit at the bar and explain to you the proper elements of American "booger". (Although you were very gracious in defeat.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              *I find it funny the Richard was getting lit up for not doing what Tiffany actually DID. Smart move Richard. I would have played that hand the same way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              *Can someone PLEASE eradicate Mike? While it is amusing to watch the Chunky Monkey flounder without the protection of the Voltaggio's, I desperately wish he and Jen could trade places.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ladybugthepug
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                C. Hamster Feb 10, 2011 06:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sorry but the thought of dill and "chi-poltay" made me throw up a little in my mouth ....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ladybugthepug
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  tofuburrito Feb 10, 2011 06:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Won't miss Fabio.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Don't think Richard's assist diminishes Antonia's fine showing. They all seem to help each other and offer suggestions. Every other time they've shown an assist it's had a negative result.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. d
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Dee S Feb 10, 2011 05:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have to admit I have a new favorite TC line. When Tom C. said this, I knew Carla was going to win.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When Gail asked Tom how he liked the pot pie, he responded "Busy eating here!" and continued scarfing down the dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That sums up a winning dish best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Dee S
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    aching Feb 10, 2011 07:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I loved that too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Dee S
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      dcdavis Feb 10, 2011 10:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Totally agree! That's what a great dish should make you say!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Dee S
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        occula Feb 10, 2011 10:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I did kind of a Carla-fan fist-pump there too. A nice moment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Pylon Feb 10, 2011 04:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for the recap, Linda.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        OK, full disclosure, I can't stand Fallon. Never found him funny, certainly not as funny as he finds himself. So I didn't particularly enjoy this week's episode.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But I think I've finally figured out what bothers me so much about Carla (aside from the shrieking, dancing and other unprofessional nonsense). And I think maybe it answers some of the questions around her being "unappreciated" or "underrated" by her peers. Let's look at her winning EC dishes...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        - Crayfish and Andouille Gumbo over Stone-Ground Grits
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        - Shrimp and Andouille Beignet; Oyster Stew
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        - African Groundnut Soup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        - Smoked Blue Fish Lettuce Wrap
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        - Chicken Pot Pie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Gumbo, sandwich and stew, soup, lettuce wrap, pot pie. There is nothing special here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Now I know some of you are going to respond that it's about execution, and you are correct. Simple! Rustic! Yes, indeed. Clearly the food has been well executed for her to win with these dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But let's not jump to the conclusion that any of these are impressive dishes. There's not one thing in the list that I doubt anyone here could make. No, difficulty is not the only measuring stick by which a dish is measured. But it may be one of the measures of the chef. And we've seen her try to go outside of her comfort-food zone with less than spectacular results. (Sous-Vide steak, anyone?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        She clearly knows what works for her and executes it well. It reminds me of the criticism leveled at Dave way back in the S1 semi-final where he made mac & cheese with truffles. The response was "well, it's only mac & cheese, but he knows chefs like that kind of comfort food, so that's why it did well, not because it was the best dish."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I suspect her peers have been underwhelmed, right or wrong, by her dish selection. Credit where due for execution, but it would be interesting so see how she does if asked to prepare something with a high level of difficulty. (Not saying she couldn't do it, just saying I'd like to see it.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        48 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Indy 67 Feb 10, 2011 06:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          " There's not one thing in the list that I doubt anyone here could make." This comment resonated with me because of something I posted on the Southeast board. The locals were dissing Hominy Grill, especially the chef's James Beard award, since the food was essentially home cooking. I posted about my experience visiting Charleston several years ago during which I ate shrimp and grits three times during a four-day visit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hominy Grill trounced the competition. The other restaurants were also specialists in low country cooking and had the bona fides to put out an equally successful product. For example, one of the restaurants was the Middleton Plantation Restaurant where Edna Lewis, the grande dame of Southern cooking was once the chef. (She had left Middleton Plantation by the time of our visit, but her earlier hire tells you something about that restaurant's commitment to quality.) The grits were good enough but the shrimp were small and overcooked. Magnolia had masked the flavor of the grits in a deluge of cream and cheese. They had further adulterated the flavor with pool of runny tomato chutney that tasted like Chinese duck sauce. (I had to have the dish prepared again without the chutney.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My point is that there's a profound difference between being able to make a dish and actually making it. Last week, Mike and Dale didn't make good pasta although they probably can. In the "On any Sunday..." spirit of competition, Carla did make superb versions of dishes you call nothing special.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Indy 67
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pylon Feb 10, 2011 06:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fair enough. Agreed, it's all about execution. But I think this might be a glimpse into the questions about whether or not her peers respect her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ChefJune Feb 10, 2011 06:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            <Gumbo, sandwich and stew, soup, lettuce wrap, pot pie. There is nothing special here.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but I heartily disagree. Any dish can be special based upon how it's executed, presented and most of all, on how it tastes. And I don't know any chef who would disagree with me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChefJune
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pylon Feb 10, 2011 07:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You aren't disagreeing with me. I said the same thing above. Repeatedly, I believe. But no, I don't think it is an especially impressive list of dishes on the surface.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, simple food can be great. Yes, it's all about execution. That doesn't make the degree of difficulty any higher on her plates.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But I can see how this would impact her peers' perceptions. Especially when you look at the level of complexity they often present. Again, not saying complex is better, just more complex.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Perfect example is Fabio's chicken vs. the French Mussels last week. How many people were up in arms over that? "All she did was steam some mussels! His dish was more complex! Unfair!" Same dynamic here, I think.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not saying they are right or wrong. Just an observation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                nomadchowwoman Feb 10, 2011 09:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Just curious--what dishes would you consider "impressive"?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As a diner, I always want the best tasting food. Deliciousness is what impresses me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Pylon Feb 10, 2011 09:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  From a TECHNIQUE standpoint, which is what I've been talking about, none of her dishes impress me. Intricate, complex, advanced methods are more interesting. Not a sandwich, not soup, not even gumbo. The most complex from that group is the pot pie, which was clearly well executed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But to understand my point, you have to set aside EXECUTION for a second. "Deliciousness is what impresses me." That's execution of the dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So what would I consider impressive from a technique standpoint? I think the work Richard does is really cutting edge at times. (And yes, he struggles with execution on occasion. That's why it's about more than just how complex the dishes are.) I remember being really impressed with Angelo in last season's finale, though the dish escapes me right now. Someone (Casey maybe?) had a dish where they created a bacon blanket, for lack of a better term, that really impressed the judges as something they hadn't seen before.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We've all seen Tom & Co. gush over someone's unique spin or innovative work on a dish. They don't always win. I don't recall them ever saying those things about any of Carla's dishes, and she's doing fine. So clearly the execution is imperative for success.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My point is if we are looking for a reason she isn't seen as "worthy" by her peers, this might be it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    lisavf Feb 10, 2011 10:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I get what you're saying, and to some extent I do agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Great taste plus suceessful execution will give you a really great dish. Great taste plus successful exection plus advanced techniques can elevate that dish so much more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Carla wisely plays to her strengths, which are taste and execution. When Blais adds technique to the mix, *all other things being equal,* his dish will likely be the better one. He just sometimes seems to think that technique alone should count for more. And it seems that's where he's failing this season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      AMFM Feb 10, 2011 11:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i actually thought carla's bluefish lettuce wrap bagel's and lox dish where she smoked the bluefish and added pumpernickel bagel croutons (admittedly i'm not looking it up now) and such was considered really innovative by the judges.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LiveRock Feb 10, 2011 12:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "My point is if we are looking for a reason she isn't seen as "worthy" by her peers, this might be it."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I honestly feel that what is lost on her peers is the fact that Carla won those challenges by giving the judges exactly what they asked for. No, she is not an executive chef at a 3 star restaurant but she is exhibiting a trait that they should all have; an instinctual knack for giving the diner what he or she wants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This is why Antonia won last week; not because she built the Eiffel Tower but because she produced a dish that met the challenge perfectly and touched the diners soul. Sorry, but at this point I'm not even sure Mike has the aptitude to even comprehend what that means!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LiveRock
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pylon Feb 10, 2011 12:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "an instinctual knack for giving the diner what he or she wants"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Good way to put it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Worldwide Diner Feb 10, 2011 02:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "an instinctual knack for giving the diner what he or she wants"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I doubt it. I doubt any Chinese dim sum eater wanted a Vietnamese summer roll. I see her winning challenges as balls thrown in the middle of her strike zone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Does anyone watch Man vs. Food? After many episodes, one realizes there are good burgers, pizzas, burritos, steaks, bbq, etc. all over the country. I know some people will claim they prefer good downhome cooking to fancy restaurants but I'm not one of those people. Top Chef to me isn't about making simple foods although one might be asked to some some along the way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Worldwide Diner
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LaLa Feb 11, 2011 04:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              but then one of those chefs couldnt even make a decent burger :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              jcattles Feb 10, 2011 05:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I seem to remember another cheftestant in Season 6 who had the same knack and same simplistic approach. Kevin Gillespie made simple comfort food & executed it well. Many times I would prefer to eat his food as opposed to the others, just the same as Carla. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a simple well executed dish. Aren't the judges always saying let the ingredients speak for themselves?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jcattles
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pylon Feb 10, 2011 05:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Did I say something to the contrary? I feel like you are arguing with me, but I'm not sure why...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  jcattles Feb 10, 2011 05:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My apologies, it's been a long day & I responded further down the thread than I meant to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: jcattles
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  cowboyardee Feb 10, 2011 06:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Kevin Gillespie made simple comfort food & executed it well."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Kevin Gillespie really only made 'simple' food in comparison to the Voltaggio bros (though he called his food simple often, no doubt because it seemed humble and winning). His style, while at times simple in its appeal, drew from many influences beyond Southern and was often quite technical and innovative.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Take a look.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jcattles
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    mattstolz Feb 10, 2011 06:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i think just about EVERY time i woulda preferred to eat kevins food! he was one of my favorite cheftestants ever!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mattstolz
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      goodhealthgourmet Feb 10, 2011 06:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      @mattstolz, aren't you in S. Fla? road trip to Kevin's restaurant in ATL!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        mattstolz Feb 11, 2011 03:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        oh it will definitely happen at some point very soon. i just have to get enough time to breath from school and then ill be on my way!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: LiveRock
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  KailuaGirl Feb 10, 2011 03:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Is the "Eiffel Tower" a reference to her winning "French" mussels? :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KailuaGirl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LiveRock Feb 11, 2011 05:50 AM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: nomadchowwoman
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                huiray Feb 10, 2011 11:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A side point: Other than the discussion about complexity of technique(s) - yes, taste is paramount but for me visual appeal** is also a not insignificant component of a dish, particularly a dish one dines on in a restaurant. Note I'm not necessarily saying Hall's dishes per se are unattractive, although most of them have been simple in presentation as well as "simple food".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                **Overwrought/overembellished dishes are as unappealing to me as "stuff just thrown together on a plate".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 10, 2011 11:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Note I'm not necessarily saying Hall's dishes per se are unattractive, although most of them have been simple in presentation as well as "simple food"."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And yet Carla's QuickFire dish from last week's challenge was beautifully plated, IMO, and probably the one I'd most want to eat upon seeing it. Tre's "dish of dots", on the other hand, did nothing for me. (no pictures, unfortunately, at Bravo's Recipe Finder.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    huiray Feb 10, 2011 11:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I said "most", not "all".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LindaWhit Feb 10, 2011 11:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      After I posted, I figured you would say that, huiray.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ::::shrug:::: I think they look wonderful and appetizing. It's all a matter of taste and the eye of the beholder. There are times when I just think some of the plating gets overly precious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pylon Feb 10, 2011 11:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Agreed, her plate looked great. But that's was an outlier, I think, for the specific challenge. I don't know that I would say her plates are messy, but I would say her plating is unremarkable. Which I would also say for a lot of the chefs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Nettie Feb 10, 2011 04:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There are pictures of the QF entries from last week here: http://eater.com/archives/2011/02/03/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Nettie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Feb 10, 2011 05:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That's right - I had forgotten about those screencaps - thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: ChefJune
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  roxlet Feb 10, 2011 08:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ChefJune, I agree with you 100%. It's about flavor vs. fancy. Fancy doesn't mean good, and what the judges react to time and time again is flavor, something Carla brings in spades, hence her 3 wins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pylon Feb 10, 2011 08:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I feel like neither of you actually read the post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My point isn't that her food isn't good. My point is that it isn't complex, and therefore might be looked at as "lesser" by her peers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think it's obvious that her execution has to be good for her to win. I would say the same for any of the dishes, complex or not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Miss Needle Feb 10, 2011 08:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  While Carla's zone is comfort food, I believe she has the chops to bang out more sophisticated food if necessary. She did score in the top tier in the Le Bernardin challenge in Season 5 only to lose to Stephan (who had an advantage as he picked which dish he wanted to duplicate).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Obviously, comfort food is Carla's strong suit. And it has served her well so far. But I do think doing simpler food can be a detriment if other contestants doing complex food nail it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ladybugthepug Feb 10, 2011 08:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You see it on this show over and over - people trying to do a dish that takes more time to properly prepare and plate than they have. It leads to shortcuts and mistakes. Often times, it leads to a dish that is 90% great and 10% not so great. The cheftestants (regardless of dish choice) that consistently put forth a 100% great dish typically win. If both dishes are done perfectly, I'm guessing degree of difficulty comes into play and wins the tie breaker. But I think it's very hard to give the nod to a flawed dish over a perfectly executed one simply because of the degree of difficulty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I would suggest executing dishes that represent 100% of your vision in the time allowed. I think Richard realized he didn't have time to "Blaise" out his dish, so he went with what he knew he could do. That's the smart thing to do. Realize you're not going to win them all and make a solid dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      cowboyardee Feb 10, 2011 11:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      To some extent, I think you're off about the difficulty of Carla's dishes. Most (not all) of Carla's winning dishes are dishes that are easy to make in a basic sense, but actually quite hard to make well (compare to Antonia's mussels last week, which is an easy dish to make well).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chicken pot pie, gumbo over grits - either of these dishes actually require a good deal more finesse to make them amazing than, say, sous vide steak does, which though a newer technique is actually pretty straightforward.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Carla's food is often more like the American/Southern equivalent of sushi. You or me or anyone could make it - but there are a million minutiae to worry about that separate greatness from hackery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I could see faulting Carla for lack of innovation (though a lot of the more 'innovative' chefs are still only drawing from less familiar sources). But calling her out on difficulty is tricky. You and I could surely make most of her dishes, but that doesn't mean we could make them as well as she did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        debbiel Feb 10, 2011 06:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        +1, though I would add not only might we make them not as well but also not as interesting. There's basic African groundnut soup and then there's interesting African groundnut soup with layers of flavors, perfectly balanced, with or without an interesting little twist. Both soups have the same name, but one is what I might make as a home cook, the other what a chef would make.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pylon Feb 11, 2011 04:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          There seems to be an incredible lack of respect for the home cook in this thread. I do not assume that because someone is on TV they are naturally superior to those who have been raising their families and cooking "with love" in their own kitchens for 40 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You can think they are better than you. I know there are some who can do things I've never learned. But I don't assume they can execute simple dishes better than other people just because they went to culinary school or work in restaurants. The best meals I've eaten in my life have been cooked in someone's home, not a place of business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            debbiel Feb 11, 2011 08:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I thought I was differentiating, not disrespecting. My Mom is a great cook. Wonderful cook. She makes incredible comfort food with love. And with many more hours, she could make them much better, more complex, more interesting. But she doesn't have several more hours, cuz she's not a chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I find it odd that there's so much disrespect for professional chefs. They've learned a craft that is both art and science. While home cooks may have been cooking for 40 years, chefs have been studying. There is a difference. I love my Mom, I thank her for instilling in me an appreciation of good food, I thank her for her amazing ham and beans, I thank her for a childhood full of amazing pies, I love that when the Yankee moved south she wowed the southerners with her fantastic fried chicken. But she's not a chef. She's a home cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              roxlet Feb 12, 2011 04:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              At first I read "when the YankeeS moved south," and I thought: "The Yankees moved south!!???? When did that happen?" lol.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I love your post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                debbiel Feb 12, 2011 06:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ha! Yes, they are now the Greensboro (NC) Yankees. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LaLa Feb 11, 2011 04:16 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pylon Feb 11, 2011 04:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Chicken pot pie, gumbo over grits - either of these dishes actually require a good deal more finesse to make them amazing than, say, sous vide steak does, which though a newer technique is actually pretty straightforward. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And yet, she couldn't pull it off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "But calling her out on difficulty is tricky. You and I could surely make most of her dishes, but that doesn't mean we could make them as well as she did."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I didn't say that. I said her dishes are not complex. I also said that her execution must have been flawless for her to win with them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Could I have made them as well? Dunno, didn't taste them. What we do know is that her simple dishes were judged as being better than the ones that feature more innovative or "cutting edge" techniques. But just as being a complex dish doesn't make it great, being great doesn't make it a complex dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              mcf Feb 11, 2011 05:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But complexity and layering of flavors in what would otherwise be simple, unsophisticated dishes is exactly what the judges have often said she does so well. They're homey, not literally simple preparations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pylon Feb 12, 2011 08:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "They're homey, not literally simple preparations."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I see that the same as a simple dish (which is what hers have mostly been) that has been executed flawlessly (which is what hers have mostly been).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm not taking anything away from her here. I'm giving her credit for taking dishes that look very basic compared to her competitors and beating them with them based on execution.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  mcf Feb 12, 2011 09:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The reason it's not the same is that the judges have routinely used the word "complex" to describe them. So they're not simple dishes executed flawlessly; they're formerly simple dishes rendered complex.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pylon Feb 12, 2011 09:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I haven't caught those comments, but I'll listen for them going forward.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In the context of my original post, though (about the view her competitors may have of her food), I wonder if they've heard those comments...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      mcf Feb 12, 2011 10:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If not, they've probably tasted her food at some point, and are skilled/discerning enough to know it's true.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pylon Feb 12, 2011 10:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Fair enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Do you think they get to hear any of the judge's discussion as feedback from week to week?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pylon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Feb 12, 2011 10:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "They" meaning the cheftestants? They only hear the feedback they hear while at JT. Otherwise, judges and cheftestants don't fraternize during the show's filming.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pylon Feb 12, 2011 10:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, that's what I meant by "they."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It would be interesting if they were able to hear the total feedback and react from week to week. I guess they want to keep them as true to their own style as possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. mattstolz Feb 10, 2011 04:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i do have to agree with colicchios statement that so many of these dishes you have to be careful making because of peoples pre-conceived notions about them. i think that tiffany's dish is a PERFECT example of this. the judges all wanted a thick gravy-like thing with big honkin puffy dumplings in it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          however that is nowhere near MY moms chicken and dumpling soup, which has thick but flat dumplings and a much more soupy, chicken stocky broth, and which i happen to love way more than a gravy-like one. i thought it was frustrating that he would make that comment and then automatically assume that her dish was a failure instead of asking what her idea of chicken and dumpling soup is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mattstolz
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            momjamin Feb 10, 2011 04:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have the impression they would have been much happier with your mom's more than Tiffany's -- they said both the chicken and the dumplings got lost with the other stuff. No matter whether the dumplings were rolled or dropped, they should have been a star.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mattstolz
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Indy 67 Feb 10, 2011 06:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think this is an outstanding observation about expectations. The idiotic dust up between Casey and Tom years ago over the Coq au Vin still irritates me. Nothing Casey could explain about her grandmother's approach put a dent in Tom's point of view.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In this episode, we've got another version of that same situation. Tiffany called her dish "Not My Mother's Chicken and Dumplings," deliberately sending out the message that she intended to be different. The first problem she encounters is that Tom decides improvisation is not a legitimate approach. The second problem is the one you raised: that Tom decides his version is the definitive version.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Indy 67
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                huiray Feb 10, 2011 11:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "The second problem is the one you raised: that Tom decides his version is the definitive version."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ain't that the truth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: mattstolz
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ChefJune Feb 10, 2011 06:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                <i do have to agree with colicchios statement that so many of these dishes you have to be careful making because of peoples pre-conceived notions about them. i think that tiffany's dish is a PERFECT example of this. the judges all wanted a thick gravy-like thing with big honkin puffy dumplings in it. >

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Not sure they wanted thick gravy, just didn't want Southwestern flavors. If that had been my assignment, I'd have given them a