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

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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!

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  1. I think Blais needs to open a fondue place and use that as a tag line.

    Lots of Blais puffery. Is he going home?

    26 Replies
    1. re: debbiel

      NO! debbie, bite your tongue - Richard cannot go home!

      1. re: LindaWhit

        Every once in a while, I love it when I'm wrong. I got a bit panicked while they were eating Dale's salt monster. I didn't realize how much I had come to like and root for him. Phew. Actually thought it was going to be Tiffany, and certainly wanted it to be her out of the three.

        1. re: debbiel

          I thought Dale wasn't going home since at least the first couple of bites were good before the salt monster invaded.

        2. re: LindaWhit

          I really like Richard, but enough with the damned liquid nitrogen, and the false bravado, it will be his end on this season.

          1. re: ChinoWayne

            +1

            1. re: ChinoWayne

              Yes, is it just me or has Blais been extra pompous and patronizing this season?

              1. re: eviemichael

                It's just you. :)

                1. re: Pylon

                  :) noooo, i saw some postings below that see it my way. :)

                2. re: eviemichael

                  Definitely not just you. Blais was incredibly pompous last night, and has been pretty unlikeable all season. Though him helping Antonia was his saving grace.

                  1. re: JasmineG

                    And he *was* cute with Fabio while shopping after the fishing trip. ;-)

                    1. re: JasmineG

                      he is eyeore! whoa is me....

                      1. re: JasmineG

                        I haven't found him totally unpleasant this season, but he has had moments of pure arrogance. During the quickfire, he basically said he's too good to get any support from his fellow competitors, which I've always found irritating from contestants.

                        1. re: piccola

                          I heard him say that he thought the competitors were intimidated and probably wouldn't vote for him, not that he personally thought he was all that. To me, that's a symptom of Richard's over-thinking and second-guessing, more than of his arrogance.

                          1. re: momjamin

                            Yeah, I don't think he's arrogant, but I do think he's tried for bravado and failed this season. He thinks to much. If he'd just do what he does best and not worry about the final outcome so much, I think he'd be on top.

                      2. re: eviemichael

                        I'm not liking him as much this season...

                        1. re: ChefJune

                          me neither. i love dale. and carla. and antonia is growing on me.

                          1. re: AMFM

                            I didn't like Dale at all in his season, but I'm really enjoying him this time.

                            1. re: JasmineG

                              Yeah. And Dale knows how to roll like a gangsta'.

                              1. re: JasmineG

                                Agreed. I couldn't even fathom why they brought Dale back for AS. I thought he was an arrogant, arrogant irritant. This season, I think he's an absolute teddy bear.

                                OTH, I thought Richard was a teddy bear his season. This season, he's really wearing on my nerves.

                              2. re: AMFM

                                Antonia is growing on me too.

                            2. re: eviemichael

                              his false bravado ( as another poster stated) is wearing thin on me as well. in his season, he seemed humble, likable and talented. this season he seems high on himself, slightly angry and robotic, especially his dishes. he said something to the extent during the QF interviews that he has skills that no other chefs have and therefore is intimidating. well, the thing is that his "techniques" like using liquid nitrogen can be learned by any chef on the show if they took the time out to learn it. i don't think it's really anything to brag about, or is it? what's probably more intimidating is a discernible palette and creativity. i think some chefs rely on liquid nitro or foam pretend to be more creative than they really are.

                              1. re: trolley

                                That's a good way to put it. He comes off as thinking, especially in this episode, that doing HIS special techniques makes the cooking better. Sometimes it's making the basic stuff well w/out the fancy cover-ups that makes the food better.

                                OTOH, Fallon said he was disappointed that Blais went old fashioned on him and didn't pull out all the fancy stuff. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. His eggs looked REALLY good.

                                1. re: trolley

                                  I've always thought he was traumatized and humiliated by his crash and burn in his final due to choking. He said something about it last night that confirmed my feeling about it, can't remember the exact words. I think he's just puffing himself up and setting himself up for another humiliation because these are all great chefs (except maybe Mike) and he can still lose.

                                2. re: eviemichael

                                  I completely agree!!

                                  In fact, while I was watching it, I was thinking "I need to mention this on the CH board!!"

                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                You mean bite Antonia's tongue! Har har!

                              3. re: debbiel

                                I thought the same thing - it seemed like he was getting the PYKAG edit

                              4. Linda - we're in the middle of moving and our TIVO remote is missing, so thank goodness for you and your wonderful postings! You're a godsend! Now if you can only just tell me what happened during the SuperBowl and Glee...
                                :-)

                                15 Replies
                                1. re: Claudette

                                  The Packers won. Oh yeah. Christina Aguilera butchered our national anthem.

                                  And Sue Sylvester wasn't on Glee last night, as the kids sang various love songs - although I suppose she could have sung a song to herself, since she loves herself a lot. :-) (I did see that she "joins" Glee Club next week! LOL And yes, I'm a bonafide Gleek. :::vbg:::)

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    You are hysterical. We need to get together.

                                    I could not wait for your morning spoiling.

                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                      If we live in the same area, let's figure it out!

                                      And you're not watching the show until tomorrow, but you read this all tonight? Those of you that do that crack me up. Please don't tell me you read the end of murder mysteries, too? ;-)

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        I mite of.

                                        I am unexpectedly home tonight.

                                        Watching it the second time now!

                                        1. re: C. Hamster

                                          Enjoy. This was an episode I *enjoyed* watching, although I seemed to write a LOT more notes this time - didn't want to forget any of the details for gaffk! ;-)

                                          So I hope those that were upset to hear that Jimmy Fallon was going to be on the show weren't as disappointed as they thought they might be. I actually *love* it when a super-fan of the show is on as a judge (although I still wish Joe Jonas hadn't been on for a QF challenge earlier on).

                                          Yeah, the food wasn't haute cuisine, but it still looked pretty damn good!

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            Personally, I thought the entire EC was great and great TV. Better than many other epis.

                                            I will totally miss Fabio, though. You knew he wasn't gonna win... But you aren't prepared for his departure.

                                            BOOGER!! Bwah!

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              I liked Jimmy's comments.

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                As one who reads this before I even watch the episode, I'm flattered by your thoughtfulness :)

                                                Can't wait to see the booger with cheese stuff.

                                                1. re: gaffk

                                                  I would say that's boourger

                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                    THERE'S the written pronunciation - thanks roxlet!

                                                    I first heard "Booger" but later heard Fabio slightly change it to "bouurger" but couldn't figure out how to spell it. :-)

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      Yes, I had to think about it for a while. A booger, as we all know, is something quite different :-)

                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                        Yes, and a burger made of those would must certainly *not* pass muster. :-)

                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                          that is hilarious!

                                        3. re: Claudette

                                          Ditto! I'm in Mexico and there is no Bravo even on the satellite or you can be sure i'd have been there. Got to see the SuperBowl - but broadcast from Canada and with none of the American ads. Thank you Linda for saving me.

                                          1. re: chicgail

                                            Can't you watch the full episodes on the Bravo website? I do that if I miss it on the TV.

                                        4. NNNNOOOOO!!!!

                                          1. :( noooooo fabiooooooo!!!!

                                            really wish that woulda been mike or antonia

                                            21 Replies
                                            1. re: mattstolz

                                              I would have loved it if it had been Mike, especially with his dissing of Antonia at the beginning. Antonia got way too many compliments on her dish - didn't think she'd be out of there. Kind of figured Dale would be there, as well as probably Fabio. Wasn't sure who the third would be.

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                Mike seems extraordinarily threatened by Antonia.

                                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                                  I was hoping to see Mike go too. So sorry it was Fabio instead!

                                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                                    Really? Mike reminds me of the guy in 5th grade that glued girls' hair together in art class. He's just a clown, and I just honestly think that he thinks that Antonia coasts. (I'm not a fan...she reminds me of whiny Leah).

                                                    1. re: larkinaitana

                                                      I love the image of Mike gluing someone's hair together. But, I don't get Antonia as whiny Leah. When has Antonia been whiny?

                                                      1. re: larkinaitana

                                                        i could see him gluing girls hair, but because he was threatened by their art being better than his.

                                                        1. re: larkinaitana

                                                          I couldn't stand Leah for that and other reasons, but Antonia is not the least bit whiny, just really standing her ground this year. I like her a lot more than before. Mike is lovable jerk, to me.

                                                    2. re: mattstolz

                                                      Antonia? Noooooooo! She's fine by me. But also Noooooooooooo! to Fabio leaving. Mike, well, that would have been fine. I dislike myself a little when I find myself disappointed that they like someone's dish, but that's where I was when they were eating Mike's sausage.

                                                      1. re: mattstolz

                                                        I would have preferred Mike. Fabio is so funny, and keeps a sense of humor about everything going on around him. Mike's just a self important asshole.

                                                        I'm happy for Carla. Six days in Tokyo should be fun, although a kind of short vacation. Too bad she won't get a chance to go out more into the country or head down to Kyoto or Nara.

                                                        Carla's little happy dance was hilarious! And she didn't gloat or be overly enthusiastic when she went back to announce her win and send the others out. Good!

                                                        1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                          She was something in last night's episode, wasn't she? She reminds me of an Egyptian princess, so regal and refined....but her excitement last night turned her into a character that reminded me of a character Gilda Radner used to do: Judy Miller, the little excited girl who's busy having her own show in her own head, jumping on the bed and chanting, "it's......the Judy........Mil............er........SHOW! Loved seeing her so caught up!

                                                          1. re: mamachef

                                                            Thanks for the memories! I'd forgotten all about Judy Miller - shame on me!

                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                              I love that excitement about her as well. Some might call it lack of control. Whatev...it reminds me of myself. It was interesting to learn she is considered "older" than many others. She is almost as old as me! We do what we WANT!

                                                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                My sentiments EXACTLY, Shrinkrap.

                                                                1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                  Yep, as the years pass, what others think of me matters less and less. I loved Carla in her season and am not disappointed with her this season (although a few more hootie-hoos would be nice ;)

                                                                2. re: mamachef

                                                                  Carla is such a wonderful free spirit. I enjoy so many of the chefs, but she's the one I would really love to meet.

                                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                                    She reminds me of a muppet but I think she is great. I'm rooting for her to win

                                                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                      sure its not a sesame street character? cuz if so maybe she'll get to meet them next week

                                                                      1. re: mattstolz

                                                                        Previous comparisons of Carla have been to "Red" on Fraggle Rock. :-)

                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/595445

                                                                         
                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          OMG, it's as if she posed for it's creation!

                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                            *nodding*

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                              OMG . . . that's Carla!

                                                                  2. Fabio went out with class. will miss him the rest of this season.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: edible complex

                                                                      That he did, most certainly.

                                                                      1. re: edible complex

                                                                        Fabio has been tweeting messages to all the judges and to some of the other contestants--it's really cute!

                                                                        1. re: Nettie

                                                                          OH! Thanks for the reminder that I can follow Fabio on twitter again! I was following him, but we often watch the show later on DVR, and after a couple of outcomes were accidentally spoiled for me, I had to unfollow him, Carla, Jamie and Richard for the duration, to be safe.

                                                                          I'd rather he were still on the show, though. DARN it!! I love Fabio.

                                                                      2. BLAIS' "FONDUE" ROCKED!!!!

                                                                        Shoulda won!

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                          well, we couldn't taste it (not that I would, I despise bananas :-)). However, the others did seem to be uncomfortable with the very cold sensation, and Blais made some comment about how food should be uncomfortable (or did he say hurt?; can't remember the exact wording). I don't necessarily disagree with him in theory, but perhaps party food should be more accessible (?). He seemed to think that the others would be voting against him, not against his food, but well, maybe some of the others were just better. And I did think that Dale's dish looked and sounded great!

                                                                          1. re: susancinsf

                                                                            I think Blais said food should sometimes be dangerous. Listening to the chefs talk about the QF was really like a psychology experiment. It was interesting to see who thought they personally would be voted either for or against because of their food vs them as a person.

                                                                        2. Richard seemed to be a little sour grapes over Carla's win. He's really putting her (and her food) down, but the proof is in the wins. And I just loved how Fallon said that Carla's dish tasted like there was LOVE in it! Yes, I really do believe you can taste when a dish is made with love :)

                                                                          Although it sounded like Fabio's burger was a disaster, I really thought it was going to be Dale going home because oversalting is usually a deal-breaker. That burger must have been REALLY bad. Too bad for Fabio.

                                                                          And what about Richard's parting comment to Fabio about how amazing he was or something to that effect, while at the same time (well, not exactly the same time but in the same time parameter) he's dissing Carla, who's been WINNING??? WTF is that all about? Other than gnocchi and Restaurant Wars, what did Fabio do that was so fantastic? Yes, he's been charming and funny, but he didn't win a single challenge, neither QF nor EC.

                                                                          I think Richard is getting a little full of himself. He's won one QF and one EC. He's not the only player on the field, and right now he's not showing himself to be the best. I think he CAN be the best, but it hasn't happened yet. I think it's still anybody's game to win.

                                                                          123 Replies
                                                                          1. re: lisavf

                                                                            Was he referring to Fabio's dishes or to Fabio the person/friend?

                                                                            I missed the Richard diss on Carla but agree that he's either being a tad bit the arrogant ass, or getting a slight arrogant ass edit. He gets lots of points from me, though, for helping others. It seems he gave Antonia a pretty significant assist with the tongue.

                                                                            1. re: debbiel

                                                                              Not sure, didn't write down the exact quote, but when I heard it, I thought he was speaking of Fabio's cooking. Maybe someone else can fill in the exact quote.

                                                                              1. re: debbiel

                                                                                Richard's assist with Antonia's tongue probably kept her out of the bottom. And of course Mike said something to the effect that he'd never help someone else because it is, after all, a competition.

                                                                                1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                  His help didn't just keep her out of the bottom, it put her in the top.

                                                                                  1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                    I would rather lose because someone had better food than win because someone had unbelievably bad food. If I was in Blais's position, I'd be inclined to help out too, especially with something as basic as a pressure-cooking technique. Maybe not with seasonings or meal suggestions, but technique or method? Yes, I sure would. "After all, it is a competition." Well, I'd prefer not to win by complete default. I think Blais' food stands on it's merit -

                                                                                    1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                      And that shows the character of both Richard and Mike.

                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                        Exactly.He may be completely different in his personal and even personal-professional lives, but he's coming off as very small, mean and petty. I understand that fear will change a person's nature, but c'mon.......I wouldn't want to be next to him in a trench, 'cause clearly it would be every person for themselves. Edit. I'm speaking of Mike, not Richard here.

                                                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                                                          Actually, I meant the character in the fact that Richard helped Antonia, whereas Mike said he wouldn't have done it. To me, that's a HUGE positive attribute to Richard's good character, and it shows Mike is and always will be a jerk.

                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            That's exactly what I was referring to, LW. And btw, thank you once again for taking time to post a well-thought-out and well-written wrap-up of this week's fun. : )

                                                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                                                              OK, I misread what you wrote, mamachef. I thought you were saying Richard was petty and mean as well. :-) Well, he was kind of whiny when he didn't get in the winning group, but he still is so much more generous than Mike could ever hope to be.

                                                                                              And you're welcome. I keep thinking I'm going to pare down the original post and tighten it up a bit, but I think I'm physically incapable of doing so. :-)

                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                I saw what you saw when I re-read it. All fixed.

                                                                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                  LOL! We're so good to each other here.

                                                                                                  Except when we're debating Italian-American food. ;-)

                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                    Right-a? Itta getsa so oooogly thenna!
                                                                                                    (Folks, I'm mimicking Fabio here, not Italian-Americans.)
                                                                                                    In the spirit of funna.

                                                                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                      Although he has a really thick accent, that's the only time I've heard him sound like a joke Italian accent! I heard exactly what you heard.

                                                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                              A though occured to me about Antonia and the pressure-cooked tongue. If I were in a competition like this the second time around I would have done a little practice. They all know there are time contraints in some of the ECs. Why didn't Antonia know how to use a pressure cooker?

                                                                                              A bigger question is why didn't Ed know how to make a decent dessert or why didn't HE study up on the food of Singapore like Kevin did in TC 7?

                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                Good point about the pressure cooker knowledge, John. But I wonder what the time differential was in between the All-Stars being *asked* to be All-Stars and the beginning of filming of the season? Well, I guess for learning how to use a pressure cooker, it still wouldn't matter. Even a week's practice would have helped her.

                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                I don't think Richard is a jerk. He has just come across (probably with the elves' help) as a bit of a prima donna. That's never attractive.

                                                                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                  He seems to have gotten very twitchy in the face this season. He rarely seems to smile but does this twitchy thing with his face which is odd -- like he's always disappointed or unhappy with something. Does anyone know what I mean? He screws his face up into one side or the other. I don't quite know how to describe this...

                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                    We're talking about his smirk, right? I recently had to get a new driver's license and after 2 hours of waiting in a flourescent-lit, white-walled room filled with bored/angry people, I just couldn't manage to lift the other side of my face. Worst. Picture. Ever.

                                                                                                  2. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                    I never said he was. :-) He *is* the master of what he does in MG (more so than the person-who-cannot-be-named-anymore-because-he-was-kicked-off-a-few-episodes-ago-and-I-promised-not-say-his-name-anymore-and-besides-I-didn't-like-him-anyway). So perhaps that singular knowledge is giving him the prima donna edit.

                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                      (more so than the person-who-cannot-be-named-anymore-because-he-was-kicked-off-a-few-episodes-ago-and-I-promised-not-say-his-name-anymore-and-besides-I-didn't-like-him-anyway).
                                                                                                      -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                      I so wish this site had a "Like" button :)

                                                                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                        Well, I *did* promise you, gaffk. ;-)

                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                          Boy, first you keep me in mind in capturing all the details, and now this? I am truly flattered.

                                                                                                          1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                            Yeah, well, I'm getting on in years. I'll probably forget by next week's episode, so take it while you can get it. ;-P

                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                              :)

                                                                                                        2. re: gaffk

                                                                                                          +1

                                                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                      Mike may or may not be a jerk but not helping your competitor is smart, not a sign of being a jerk. I agree that Richard is a nicer guy for helping though.

                                                                                                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                        the best people like to compete against people at their best. mediocre people like to compete against people not at their best. Richard helping his competitors this late in the game says a lot about him.

                                                                                                        1. re: TheFoodEater

                                                                                                          +1

                                                                                                          1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                            Ditto that +1. I think it speaks volumes about the character of Richard and Mike Isabella - one who helps; one who would refuse to do so.

                                                                                                            Quite frankly, it shows that he's scared of his competition - he knows he can't hold a candle to some of his competitors, and he's just holding out for as long as he can - and if that means not being a bigger person and helping someone out, yeah, that's what Mike will do.

                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                              That's my take, too. I think Richard is really decent and not threatened by the abilities of the other chefs. His competition demon is between his ears.

                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                They haven't shown anyone asking Mike for help, so maybe it's a little bit sour grapes on his part--the other contestants think it would be an advantage to get Richard's help, but not Mike's help.

                                                                                                            2. re: TheFoodEater

                                                                                                              I think the best chefs also want to win and are not satisfied with not being eliminated. I found it interesting that Mike made some comment about being ok with being in the middle just as long as he wasn't sent packing.

                                                                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                        That's what I was talking about. Thanks again for a great write up. Linda!

                                                                                                        1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                          i think richard is a really nice guy and a good chef who has a TON to lose this time around which is kind of a first for top chef. first time around they're all relative nobodies. and he made quite a name for themselves. the masters have SUCH an established name that they can't lose it. frankly i'm surprised he did it. i'm not enjoying him as much this time, but he's still in my top three and i'll still be a fan of him as a chef when it's over.

                                                                                                          1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                            +1

                                                                                                    3. re: debbiel

                                                                                                      He was saying that she had won on comfort food rather than real cuisine, like he makes. I thought it was a tad sour grapes, too. If she's winning with these judges, she must be doing something right (aside from dancing and adding love).

                                                                                                      1. re: Parrotgal

                                                                                                        Exactly. They're not there to create technological marvels, they're supposed to make the best tasting food.

                                                                                                    4. re: lisavf

                                                                                                      Ooh, thanks for that reminder about Jimmy Fallon knowing Carla's dish was made with LOVE. I just added that to the OP - I had meant to write that down and forgot! :-)

                                                                                                      As for Fabio and Richard - they were BFFs this go-round. Fabio was glued to Richard if they were on the same team in previous challenges. He wubs Richard. :-)

                                                                                                      But I agree - Richard's not showing his past stellar form.

                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                        Total adorable man-crush.

                                                                                                        1. re: occula

                                                                                                          and Fabio gave Richard his t-shirt when he was leaving.

                                                                                                          1. re: edible complex

                                                                                                            oh lord, how did I miss that?? I was focusing on their hug-and-kiss. /shameless

                                                                                                            Hey, I'm a fan of cute man-crushes, so sue me.

                                                                                                            1. re: occula

                                                                                                              I loved that kiss - great! Those two were wonderful!!!

                                                                                                      2. re: lisavf

                                                                                                        Yet Richard once again selflessly helped Antonia cook her food.

                                                                                                        She was on top and he was in the middle.

                                                                                                        1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                          He spent a couple of minutes showing her how to use a pressure cooker. But it's not like she just dumped a bunch of beef tongue on a plate: she had a well-conceived dish that was well executed, and Richard had nothing to do with that.

                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                            Very true.

                                                                                                            Unless, of course, you consider that without his help, she would have had no dish at all and would have been a good candidate for being eliminated due to tough tongue.

                                                                                                            I didn't get the impression it was "here's how to use a pressure cooker" as much as "here's how to get your tongue fully cooked in a couple of hours."

                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                              Not to take anything away from Antonia because she did a great job, especially given she's never seen her major ingredient (and I was routing for her to win, as a result) before but we have no idea how much time Richard spent with her. Did he give her ideas and tell her what to do the night before? Did he help her set it up? We don't know. But, as Mike said, Richard is always helping others but he wouldn't do it. I thought Richard came off as arrogant in the QF (unique and innovative doesn't equal good) but he somewhat redeemed himself in my eyes doing that. Without the pressure cooker help, what would Antonia have had?

                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                Who knows what she might have had -- as other people have mentioned, it was somewhat unfair to give her an ingredient that normally takes more time to cook than they were allotted (while some people got burgers and sausage and peppers). But there's no reason to believe that Richard did anything more than tell her how to use a pressure cooker. What she did with the pressure-cooked tongue was really quite interesting (and obviously delicious!).

                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                  The whole slot machine of ingredients lists was crazy. How did beef tongue end up on it all? Hamburger, philly cheesesteak, chicken pot pie, chicken dumplings...beef tongue. The challenge was unfair but I think it also gave Antonia the opportunity to prove herself and she did. I was happy she was in the top and would have thought it was unfair if she had to PYKAG because of what she drew. I still give Richard credit for helping her, no matter how long it took. She had the pot way too high--he could have let it go, as Mike said he would have. As I said, not to take away from what she did because she did put together what looked like an amazing dish. But, I always have a soft spot for contestants who help each other, big or small.

                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                    How did beef tongue end up on it all?
                                                                                                                    ~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                    Per a blog I read (Tom's?) it seems Jimmy's father-in-law threw in a curveball with that ingredient, as did a few other people with ingredients that didn't get photographed. Otherwise, the majority of the items in the pictures were Jimmy Fallon's favorite food items.

                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                      Poor Antonia(or lucky Antonia...). At least it wasn't chicken feet.:-)

                                                                                                                    2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                      Yes, it was nice of Richard to help her. I'm just quibbling with implication some people are making that he was (1) responsible for putting her in the top, and (2) somehow sacrificing himself by helping her.

                                                                                                                      To go back to something we've been hashing out for a couple of weeks now, it's another example of the subtle ways in which people give the female chefs less credit for their success (the only reason she was successful was that a better male chef helped her) and the male chefs more credit. *Example for me.* No need to argue the point anymore!

                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                        +1

                                                                                                                        1. re: karenfinan

                                                                                                                          +2

                                                                                                                        2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                          "I'm just quibbling with implication some people are making that he was (1) responsible for putting her in the top, and (2) somehow sacrificing himself by helping her."

                                                                                                                          (1) If she didn't know how to cook it in the allotted time, and he taught her, then yes, I'd say he was responsible, at least in part. But not totally, I'd agree to that.

                                                                                                                          (2) Of course it was a sacrifice. He couldn't focus on his dish while helping her. Did he need the whole time to make ramen? Maybe not. But who knows?

                                                                                                                          "No need to argue the point anymore!"

                                                                                                                          Yeah, like that's going to stop anyone... : )

                                                                                                                          1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                            Not "of course" it was a sacrifice. As someone else pointed out, he could have explained it to her the night before and it wouldn't taken away from any of his cooking time. We didn't actually see him talking to her at all in the kitchen. Also, even with the pressure cooker she had less then two hours of cooking time, since she had to prep the tongue first (and tongue is not that easy to prep).

                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                              Richard did give her help during the cooking time. She asked him a question and he told her to turn down the heat because the pressure was too high. The video showed the PC with a lot if steam coming out the top.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                He did help her w/ setting up the pressure cooker and then with helping her work with the temperature with it being too high. I don't think it was a sacrifice and his dish wouldn't have been any better had he ignored her. But, I also believe in giving credit when people do help.

                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                  Absolutely. Although you know, Carla also used a pressure cooker to make the stock for her chicken pot pie, and I'm guessing Richard was using one to make the stock for his ramen as well, which means that helping Antonia with hers at the same time wouldn't have taken any significant time away from his own work. I wonder if Carla had been the one to instruct Antonia on its use if she would have gotten nearly as much credit for the success of Antonia's dish as Richard seems to be getting.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                    No, she'd probably get a lot more. "Look, she's winning, dancing like a chicken AND making Antonia's dish!"

                                                                                                                                    ; )

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                      I would have given Carla the credit. As I said, I wish I remembered who it was but there was that female chef who helped the male chef plate and he finished. I give her credit for helping him finish. I can't speak for others but personally, yes, I've given Carla and Tiffany full credit for their performance, even Tiffany who was in the bottom--she made a great soup, just not a chicken and dumpling.

                                                                                                                                      I said below (though I can't find the post) that it was great that Carla made her chicken pot pie with home made stock in that amount of time. I think it might have been a bigger accomplishment to extract that flavor in that short of a time than her creative pie crust. And, I don't take away any of her win, based on any help from a guy.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                        A good chicken stock could have been made by Carla without a pressure cooker. It was likely improved and speeded up with a PC.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                          I don't think it's possible to make *good* stock in an hour, which is what she would have had taking into account she had two hours total from the time she walked into the kitchen to the time the finished dish was on the plate. For some challenges they get time the day before to prep. (including making stock or sauces) but they didn't for this challenge.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                            Beef sock has to simmer for many hours to extract all the flavor and gelatin from the bones. I don't believe the same is true for chicken stock. At some point I think chicken stock 'sours' if simmered too long.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                              Oh, maybe she used some of that Swanson Broth, or whatever it is they have hanging around the set, lol!

                                                                                                                                            2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                              It takes hours to make a good chicken stock. You can make a decent broth in an hour but not a good stock.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                Ok, I use those terms interchangeably.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                  Stock and broth or different based on collagen content. At least, that's how I separate them.

                                                                                                                                                  As far as the time, I think it would be different if she made soup (when the stock/broth has to stand on its own) vs pot pie (when it is a key component, but is not quite as featured). I think you could certainly do a stock in a pressure cooker and augment with a high quality bullion paste in an hour.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                    In today's WSJ, a way to make chicken stock in 1 hours that tastes like it was cooked for 8
                                                                                                                                                    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001...

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                      Wow. That dude looks wicked smart.

                                                                                                                                                      The theory of getting the "flavor molecules" is interesting, but part of a great stock is getting the gelatin out of the bones, which generally takes more time or pressure. I wonder if his method would release the collagen faster? I'll have to give it a try sometime.

                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for posting that link!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                        You're welcome. Now, if I only had a spare $650 I could buy those books!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                          x2 on the thanks! some good ideas on there!

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                        "No need to argue the point anymore!"

                                                                                                                                        Yeah, like that's going to stop anyone... : )

                                                                                                                                        ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                        See previous threads re Marcel, minestrone for a first course, etc ;)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                          Aahhh, sometimes it's like eating chocolate cake (or chicken pot pie in this case) and you can't resist another bite. At some point, you realize you're overstuffed. But, what fun is it if you can't overdo w/out someone nagging at you.;-)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                            Yeah, didn't work there either....

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                          For the record, I would have felt the same way if Carla or Tiffany had helped her on the pressure cooker. It has nothing to do w/ his being male. I don't think he was sacrificing himself. I think he was helping the way most chefs on the show, Mike aside, seem to be helping others. I gave Antonia full credit last week when she won the mussels and she didn't get help from any chef, male or female. Counterexample for me.

                                                                                                                                          "No need to argue the point anymore!"

                                                                                                                                          It sits wrong with me that you can accuse me of sexism and then say that's the end of discussion. I'm not being sexist that I think it's nice that Richard helped her w/ the pressure cooker. We see it all the time, both male and female chefs helping each other out and I don't see it as a sexist thing, just because it happens, this time, to be a male chef who helps out a female one. It's been a while but there was a female chef who had finished early and helped her male competitor plate and he only finished because of the help. He wouldn't have finished if not for her help and it didn't take away from his dish that help was acknowledged.

                                                                                                                                      3. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                        Actually, ramen is perhaps the one thing that is really unfair. There's no way to make great ramen stock in a short period of time. While most people have cooked noodles, I'm not sure that many people have cooked real ramen. Heck, you can't even get real ramen in most major u.s. cities.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                          Exactly. Beef tongue is actually quite forgiving and versatile and tasty, as long as you can get it to break down. Proper, fully flavored ramen in 2 hours just isn't gonna happen (though the pressure cooker may come in handy there too for the stock component of the broth).

                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                            It may not be exactly "fair", but isn't the variety of dishes what makes these challenges interesting? I think most of us would agree that it's a lot easier to make a hamburger than a chicken pot pie in two hours - but look how it turned out! Even with their different styles, it would be pretty boring if they were all assigned the same dish!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                              I agree. I'm not trying to criticize, and didn't even mention 'fairness' - this was a fun elimination challenge, and seldom is a challenge completely 100% fair. I'm not upset with the show - just noting matter-of-factly that Richard got a tough draw.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                          "Unfair"? It appeared to be random to me, and the fact that she cooked it and cooked it well seems to negate your point that there might not have been enough time to cook the tongue.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                            Unfair that it was included at all, not that she was the one who got it. Even the judges were pleasantly surprised that she managed to cook it well in the time allotted.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                              Clearly there was time to cook it, if you know how, so it's not unfair. If it was a dish that requires being braised for 3 days, then yes, that would be unfair.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                If Casey would have cooked her chicken feet in a pressure cooker she might not have received the PPYKAG.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                  Hmm. Hadn't thought of that. Probably because I haven't the slightest idea of how to cook any feet, let alone those of chickens. I thought they were supposed to be fried longer.

                                                                                                                                                  Anyone here ever used a pressure cooker to make them before?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                    Here's a recipe for the standard "dim sum" version of chicken feet: http://www.ehow.com/how_2221703_make-...

                                                                                                                                                    As you can see, they are fried, but then braised for 90 minutes and then steamed in the sauce for another 15 minutes. Cooking them in a pressure cooker would definitely speed up the braising process. According to this article, pressure cooking typically reduces the time needed by two-thirds: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pressure...

                                                                                                                                                    Chicken feet are mostly bones and cartilage -- they need to be cooked in such a way that the cartilage softens -- frying alone won't do it. Looking at the way Casey's chicken feet were plated, I assumed that she wanted them stir-fried in the sauce rather than steamed. I'm stumped as to what Antonia was doing with them in the deep fryer!

                                                                                                                                  2. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                    Carla has taken so much grief for saying that she cooks with love--I was glad to see her get credit for the love she puts in things.

                                                                                                                                    I didn't think it was fair to Antonia to ask her to cook something that generally takes 2 times as long to cook as the time that they were allotted. I did think she would have said something at the judges table about the help that Richard gave her (although they could have edited out part of her comments).

                                                                                                                                    1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                      Did Richard dis Carla and her food or did he just say he couldn't get excited about her winning? I know that he's jealous but I don't recall him dissing her.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                        There was another instance of disrespect for Carla last night. Dale (??) commented on Carla's behavior in the kitchen saying that she was "running around like a chicken with her head cut off."
                                                                                                                                        Since I've seen lots of the contestants behave that way as time runs out on a challenge, I specifically watched the show for such behavior from anyone else. I wanted to see whether disdainful comments would be made about any other frantic chefs.

                                                                                                                                        No surprise: the episode included another frantic chef. If you re-watch the episode, you'll see Angelo zooming by near the end of his prep time for one of the two challenges last night. (I can't remember which one.) He's behaving exactly like Carla, but don't hold your breath waiting for a confessional put-down about Anglo. Anglo gets a pass for behavior that earns Carla a diss.

                                                                                                                                        I'd love to be able to figure out how much of the disrespect many of us are seeing towards Carla is genuine and how much is a function of editing. They've certainly created clear personnas for each contestant. Richard is the driven, self-doubting pro. Dale is the quick-to-anger, technically talented chef. Carla is the exuberant, unappreciated talent. And the list goes one. Maybe there's plenty of disrespect being slung about but most of it is staying on the editing floor becase that doesn't serve the story line the editors have created for each contestant.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                          You are right, Indy 67, and those are really good summaries of each chef's personna.
                                                                                                                                          Also, that is a very good point about other frantic chefs. Editing is really useful to clarify character arcs, but you do have to have the material with which to work! Although Angelo is often quite frantic (the opening of the show has him running between two prep tables at warp speed), that is not his character arc. It is interesting to me that the editors (and elves) decided to heavily emphasize what I will refer to a Carla's "negative" attributes (freneticism, wacky celebratory behavior, etc.) this week. Is that portending something happening in a future episode? I still love Carla, and I think she is clearly unappreciated by the rest of the chefs (guys -- it's not how fancy you get but how delicious your food tastes), but this week she was edited to seem overly exuberant.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                            My take is more in line with DebbieL's interpretation: the editors want us to be suprised by Carla's success in spite of her discombobulated behavior. Looking ahead, we can expect more of the same. The preview showed Carla lamenting that the others were already cooking while she's still shopping. Editing typically includes clips like that when the chef ends up doing just fine, but we shall see.

                                                                                                                                            I happen to like Carla's character; I find her enthusiasm and ability to live in the moment quite refreshing, especially since we live in the same area. Trust me, there are more folks in the DC metropolitan area who are cynical than open and embracing.

                                                                                                                                            Incidentally, I'm glad you're back in the US with the current unrest in Egypt. I relied on your posts on the Egypt board when my husband and I were planning our trip to Egypt -- a trip we will not be taking since we were scheduled to be leaving within weeks.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                              i also really like carla's character. it seems to me like she really loves food more than any other chef on the show (not that the others dont love food!) you can just see it when she talks and cooks. for example, during judges table when she was talking about how awesome the crust on the bottom is.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                                I'm so sad that you will not be going to Egypt. Everyone seems quite happy that I am home, but a part of me wishes I could witness this historic moment. We will likely be returning this summer -- that is if things are back to normal, comparatively speaking. My son's coach says that, apart from the doings in Tahrir Square, things are relatively back to normal at this moment. Of course, the fat lady hasn't sung yet, and we will see what happens when/if the VP follows up on his threats.

                                                                                                                                                I hope you didn't think from my post that I don't like Carla! I absolutely adore her and I think that I had posted during her first season that I wished she was my BFF. I think that she would be really fun to be around, and she also makes a lot of delicious food without all the bells and whistles -- like some chefs.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                  Not to worry. I understood your use of quotation marks around the word "negative" and your use of the phrase "...editors emphasize... what I will refer to as negative attributes." I knew you were responding to the way the editors were portraying Carla rather than sharing that point of view.

                                                                                                                                                  If I can infer anything about taste from a list of ingredients and appearance, I'd be happier to eat Carla's food on a regular basis than the dishes of many of her competitors. That said, I'd also enjoy the successful ultra-gourmet, ultra-virtuoso efforts of the chefs on an occasional basis. What can I say? I'm an equal opportunity food enthusiast!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                    I NEVER understood why the judges kind of sneered when she said you could really tell a dish cooked with love. She's so right. I love her philosophy of not cooking when angry or upset; I do think that kind of thing comes through in the final product.

                                                                                                                                                    Which is why my husband likes my moderately adequate cooking!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: occula

                                                                                                                                                      Woman On Top!

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                                Again, I didn't watch closely, but isn't Angelo kind of just running around silently, not causing a bit of a scene the way Carla tends to do?

                                                                                                                                                It did seem like the edit was to think Dale would lose after his dissing Carla and her ending up on top. That's what I thought at least.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                                  I thought the edit was more about emphasizing how frantic she seemed so that we could be oh so surprised when her food was such a success.

                                                                                                                                                  And I agree with Joanie below, it seems that Angelo's running around is much quieter, so different behavior. And even with that, we don't know that he got a pass for his behavior. We know we didn't see any comments about it. And we have to keep in mind that those confessionals are prompted. If Dale was prompted to talk about Carla's behavior in the kitchen but not about Angelo's, his commenting on Carla is not necessarily a sign of relative disrespect.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                    I do remember other confessionals (other episodes) commenting on Angelo (or others) racing around, and either this week or last week, Richard commented how Fabio always seemed like he wasn't going to finish... I don't have the impression the other contestants are zooming in on Carla -- they do dis just about anyone given the right leading questions in the confessionals.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                      I agree. Hall just seems so much more...frantic/excitable, yes, running around like a chicken with her head cut off, than any of the others - from what we see on the show as broadcast. Her, uh, shrieking and dancing at her wins make me wince - doesn't the woman have any dignity or self-control?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                        As much as I love Carla, that extended dance did make me wince a bit. She looked like a large, flapping crane. One of the things I like so much about her is that she seems to cook with genuine joy. Her happiness at winning is more about being thrilled that she was able to create something that brought joy to the diner than it is about beating another cheftestant. I'm torn about wanting her to act a little more mature fashion versus keeping that joi de cuisine.

                                                                                                                                                        Sorry to see Fabio go, but he certainly was a sore loser last week. Crow is tough to cook.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                          And that joie de vivre is what I've grown to love about Carla. Yeah, she over-emotes at times - but that is HER.

                                                                                                                                                          As you said - she cooks with genuine joy and her happiness was that she got the Chicken Pot Pie to make - something she REALLY wanted to do, AND that she did it so well to Jimmy Fallon's utter enjoyment. It's the fact that the judges ENJOYED her dish is what "sets her off" into her Carla Big Bird dances.

                                                                                                                                                          I enjoy it now. :-)

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                            I'm totally with you on Carla.

                                                                                                                                                            I find her flapping and talking to herself very endearing.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                              +1. I LOVE her - I hope she goes all the way!

                                                                                                                                                              I didn't get in on the sexism debate that was raging here last week, but here's my two cents - I think that it's not so much about gender and is more about confidence. The chefs who are confident (some to the point of arrogance) seem to be taken at their own valuations by the other chefs, as do the chefs who are more self-deprecating. Carla often doubts herself (not in the African stew challenge, but in many other cases) and so I think the other chefs tend to doubt her too. I see this all the time in real life as well!

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                            he may have been a sore loser last week but he was the best sport ever about losing this week.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: TheFoodEater

                                                                                                                                                              After Tre last week and Fabio this week, I'm hoping it's a trend of good losers from here on out.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                I wish you were right, but I'm betting that Mike won't be such a good loser!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Nettie

                                                                                                                                                                  No, but maybe Carla will be. *fingers crossed*

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                    and double fingers crossed we never see her told to PPYKAG;-)!!

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                                      Sorry, I do think C. Hall's behavior is much more noticeable in the "frantic" and "shrieking" departments than the others, as presented. No doubt she is talented but I wish she would tone down her behavior.

                                                                                                                                                      I don't agree fully with the characterization of Blais as the "driven, self-doubting pro". The impression I get is that there is a fair bit of self-puffery, in this season, noticeable to me over that of even Isabella (or even Sosa) because he (Blais) seems to pair it with a sense of entitlement to the top honors. YMMV.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                        Self-puffery and self-doubting are not mutually exclusive. Plenty of folks who are self-doubting deal with their confidence issues by promoting themselves.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                                          Agree, as I stated in a post up above, Richard is exhibiting a lot of false bravado. He seems somewhat to be trying to live up to a reputation as a master of the school of molecular gastronomy (or frozen food science) instead of just putting his head down and concentrating on cooking an appealing dish that might create a sensation of well being in the diner.

                                                                                                                                                          As a human being, Richard is a gentleman and is generous in sharing his knowledge with his peers.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                                        <There was another instance of disrespect for Carla last night. Dale (??) commented on Carla's behavior in the kitchen saying that she was "running around like a chicken with her head cut off." >

                                                                                                                                                        There's been quite a bit written about the comparative treatment of the female chefs by the men as to how they treat each other. Particularly in the case of Carla, she is "only" a caterer, besides being a woman, and she is beating their pants off. (How many of them have won 3 ECs?)

                                                                                                                                                        I am in no way excusing their dissing of any of the women, but I have a hunch that explains at least part of it.

                                                                                                                                                        I was sorry to see Fabio go, too. His persona has helped keep this season lighter than it might otherwise have been. I'm also tired of Mike Isabella's put-downs.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                                          But she WAS running around the kitchen like a chicken with its head cut off. She was frantic, she even said so herself. I think you wish to see the things you wish to see whether it's really there or not. I don't think the other chefs have a problem with Carla. I know Antonia cannot stand Mike but I haven't figured out any other rifts in the remaining contestants.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                            Have to agree with John E - Carla was a bit frantic in her running around. I don't see it as a diss. I mean, it's not like Dale hasn't done the same thing! Why did he say it? Probably prompting by the producers asking the question in the confessional. Yet again, probably just something pulled out of the editing process to add some "drahmah!" and supposed friction amongst chefs. :-)

                                                                                                                                                            I'd be REALLY surprised if anyone didn't really *like* Carla. Perhaps they think as a caterer she's not as good as them (I'm talkin' about YOU, Mike Isabella!) but when she's got 3 EC wins and you've got none, buddy boy, look to your own self before you put others down. She's cracking the whip and takin' names. Mike is just bitching about things without putting proof on the judge's dining table of how good he supposed is.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                              You missed the point of my post. My point was that Carla was called out on behavior for which others got a pass.

                                                                                                                                                              Carla gets frantic. That's a fact. Carla's behavior was criticized by Dale. That's a fact. Angelo was running at warp speed during the episode. That's a fact. Angelo's frantic behavior was not mentioned by anyone. That's a fact.

                                                                                                                                                              I stand by my earlier post.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                                                Angelo's frantic behavior was not mentioned by anyone. That's a fact.
                                                                                                                                                                ~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                                                From what we SEE, Indy. Those Editing Elves could be at work, for all we know. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                  I certainy can't disagree about Angelo's behavior and the editing. But that wasn't the point JohnE made. JohnE's post essentially said I wasn't acknowledging Carla's frantic behavior: "But she WAS running around the kitchen... I think you wish to see the things you wish to see whether it's really there or not." That conclusion ignores a significant amount of my post, all of which invalidates the criticism.

                                                                                                                                                                  In such an active thread, we're going to have lots of different views, but it certainly helps the exchange of ideas if people read the posts thoughtfully before replying.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                                                  I've heard many comments about chefs being frantic over the years. Yeah, maybe we didn't hear any others last night, but so what?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                                                    I think it's less of a dis than it is the contestants getting asked question after question in their confessionals until they say something in soundbite form that is provocative or funny enough to use on the program. I don't think Dale has any disdain for Carla even though he said something that makes you think that he does. I also don't think he said the chicken with it's head cut off comment with malice. I don't think Carla likely took offense either.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                      I agree. Some contestants obviously are willing to smack talk others - Mike I or Ed from last season. Some say things that are insulting and obnoxious and self serving though probably at least the contestant didn't realize [s]he was being a jerk when [s]he said it - he-who-shant-be-named-but-looks-like-Wolverine. And others, like Dale in this case, come off as mostly harmless comments in response to a prompted question. Carla, like many of the chefs, gets frantic at times - so what? It's obvious and true and I doubt Dale meant it as a damning criticism of her as a person or chef. The producers probably just asked him about it and he didn't think he needed to be diplomatic.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                        he-who-shant-be-named-but-looks-like-Wolverine
                                                                                                                                                                        -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                                                        guffaw

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                        "...the contestants getting asked question after question in their confessionals until they say something in soundbite form that is provocative or funny enough to use on the program. I don't think Dale has any disdain for Carla even though he said something that makes you think that he does."
                                                                                                                                                                        ~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                        Good point. Tre said the same thing after he said something about Wolverine on the rooftop a few weeks back. He said the *entirety* of what he said had been edited, so it sounded like he was dissing Wolverine, when in fact his comment continued and included *all* of the cheftestants.

                                                                                                                                                              2. I'm watching the extended judges' table, and Jimmy Fallon just said that Richard was "close to being in the bottom three." And apparently Dale's dish wasn't as overly salty as the edit made it seem.

                                                                                                                                                                Jimmy's saying, "You can't get rid of Fabio. He's such a character. He's so funny." Quote from Gail: "Unfortunately, Jimmy, it's not Top Funny"

                                                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                  Ha! Can we have a t-shirt nomination come from extended judges' table instead of the aired episode?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                    LOL! WTG, Gail! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                    And interesting re: Richard being close to Bottom 3. I'll have to watch tomorrow before anyone gets into work. Now it's sleepy time for me. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                      How do we know where Blais and Isabella were in the rankings? We know they were not at the top or the bottom. Were they close to the bottom or close to the top?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                        We won't know unless we hear it/see it from the Extended JT, per what lisavf wrote in the post to which I responded. The Wikipedia Contestant Progress only shows them as "In" - meaning they were in the middle.

                                                                                                                                                                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Chef...

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                      Where is this "extended judges table" you speak of?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: C. Hamster

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

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks, debbie, for that quick posting of the link.

                                                                                                                                                                          C., it's always the first thing I go to after the episodes (apologies to Linda, her recap is the second thing!). It gives you a little more insight into the judges' thought process.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks ! I thought it was on tv somewhere. But I'm 85 years old ( not).

                                                                                                                                                                            Too bad I'm on the fone.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                          Jimmy may have dissed Richard's dish, but Gail (in her blog) says she was a big fan of it. Guess that 'splains why he landed in the middle.

                                                                                                                                                                        3. Since when is "FENWAY Style" sausage and peppers characterized by paper thin peppers and onions?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. According to Gail Simmons' blog, Carla is going to be on Jimmy Fallon's show tomorrow night. I'm going to start a new thread with that in the title so that it's there for everyone to see.

                                                                                                                                                                            On second thought, maybe I better wait until tomorrow, in case anyone who hasn't seen the TCAS episode yet doesn't get tipped off (and ticked off).

                                                                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                              just don't put her name in the title put top chef episode 9 winner and spoiler. should be good.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                Too late... I posted it this morning. Should have thought of what you said. I hope that doesn't ruin it for anybody.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                                  If they didn't watch, would they know an appearance on the show was a prize for the win?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, because at the end of the lunch, before judging, Jimmy told all the Cheftestants that the winner would get to appear on his show. Watching the show on my DVR and having seen lisavf's thread beforehand I knew at that point that Carla won. Actually, I kind of suspected that she won when I saw the title of the thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                    But no worries lisavf, it really didn't ruin it for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kmcarr

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for saying that, because it really has been bugging me that I put a spoiler in a title. I did it in a quick moment at work without thinking it through, and I should really know better - I HATE unannounced spoilers! I'll never do it again, under penalty of eating chain food for the rest of my life!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                                        Fortunately for you, I watched it last night and hadn't seen your thread. Else I'd have had to hunt you down to kill you. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                        Seriously, chain food? You'd be better off dying by my hand, LOL.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                          Agreed--a swift death would be far preferable to such a slow and painful one. Sorry lisavf, you need to come up with a less painful punishment for yourself.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: kmcarr

                                                                                                                                                                                        Ah, didn't think of that scenario.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Then again, I read Linda's recap before I even watch the episode, so you really can't trust my opinion on spoiler matters ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                                      Actually, you did spoil it for me!
                                                                                                                                                                                      I saw your post and watched th show over the weekend - i immiately thought of your pos and it clicked - Carla is the winner!

                                                                                                                                                                                      But - the winner being spoiled for me is no big deal - I only worry about who is sent packing!

                                                                                                                                                                                2. I find it odd that Fabio's burger broke all the burger rules but Fallon complained that Blais just made a ramen. WTF!

                                                                                                                                                                                  26 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                    In the case of Blais, "just a ramen" didn't mean anything one way or the other about ramen-rules -- Fallon wanted bells and whistles from Blais and felt gypped.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                      And didn't Blais say that it was his first time to make ramen (other than the stuff from a package "with a flavor packet")? Kind of surprising.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                        I thought that was Blais' little joke about ramen packages with the flavor packets -- like he talked about his first restaurant job in a place called McDonald's that we might have heard of -- he did say it was his first time making ramen without the flavor packet, but that may or may not have been strictly true ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                          He said it was the first time he made Ramen WITHOUT using the little flavor packet.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Right. That's what I said. And like Momjamin, I thought it was like his Mickey D's joke, although I also thought he might be making REAL ramen for the first time. Do they have konbu back there? Katsuobushi? Any of the other stuff for making broth? Clearly they did have dried ramen noodles (see Mikey, it's okay to use dried pasta :-)) but I was worried about the broth.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                          I believe Fallon wanted a molecular gastronomy ramen and didn't appreciate "just ramen."

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                            Right. It wasn't about what ramen was "supposed" to be -- it was his Blais-expectation.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                              That really made me think "Sheez, Richard can't win!" Not can't win the series, but he's kind of damned if he does and damned if he doesn't with the fancy stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: occula

                                                                                                                                                                                                But I think that if his ramen had tasted really good, he could have been in the top. I'm not saying it didn't taste good, but apparently it didn't taste REALLY good. The (regular) judges care less about the MG stuff and more about taste, even though Jimmy Fallon seemed to want more "flash" from Blais. So I doubt that his lack of whiz-bang techniques in this challenge hurt him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's true, now that I think about it, it was mostly Jimmy Fallon who expressed that - when he commented was when I thought "jeez, if he's whiz-bang they say it's too much, and if he's not, they say he should have been!" um, paraphrase. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  So yeah, totally agree with you on second thought.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes I also wondered whether Blais got an extra "ding" for not doing MG (by Fallon at least). Which falls into the discussion of "what one expects from a chef" and how it might figure into how you rate it. Which doesn't seem fair.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                                                                                  from Gail's blog - it seems to suggest that Fallon did screw over Blais
                                                                                                                                                                                                  ***
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Of the people that you didn't see in top three, I loved Mike Isabella's sausage and peppers. I thought he did a really great job with it. I was also a really big fan of Richard's ramen noodles. I think that what happens on the show is that people come to expect certain things from the chefs, but you can't penalize them if they don't deliver on it every time as long as their food is still good. I know Jimmy was expecting more from Richard. He wanted Richard to do everything with this modernist, crazy mad scientist tilt, but the truth is that's not fair, because Richard also wants to prove that he's a good technician and doesn't just do gimmick-y food. We would penalize him if he used liquid nitrogen with every dish he did. I thought he did a beautiful job with his ramen, but everyone was split over it, so he wasn't on the top or the bottom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                    "everyone was split over it" suggests to me that Fallon wasn't the only one who didn't place Richard in the top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Right. I'm not sure in what way Fallon "screwed over" Blais. He didn't put him up for elimination, and according to Tom the choice of Carla's dish was unanimous, so what, exactly, did Richard lose by Fallon being disappointed in his dish?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Didn't Fabio say coming into the stew room that they were splitting hairs? At this point it seems like they are all talented chefs who are making good dishes, but because the judges have to choose a top and a bottom, they are focusing on very small details. That's not screwing someone over, that's judging!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tom starts saying that every season about this time doesn't he? Something along the lines of "all of these chefs are really talented, and their dishes are all great, so we start to focus on minute details to find the winner and loser."

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe not every season, but I know I've heard him say that in some seasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't know if he ever says it on camera but I'm sure he's said it in blog postings. Usually the hairsplitting phase some a little later in the season than this season, but after all this is an "all star" season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                          You're right that Carla would have won anyway. But don't you find it curious that they showed the clip of Fallon whining about Blais' dish and then Gail had to explain why it wasn't fair for Fallon to whine? I don't think that's really splitting hairs. I think Fallon blackballed Blais' ramen. This is just my opinion, I'm probably wrong, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Didn't others say the ramen was bland and/or unexceptional?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                              That particular reason for criticizing it could have been unfair, but that doesn't mean there weren't other reasons not to like it. I think Gail just wanted to make a point that she didn't think that was a fair criticism of the dish in order to clarify the criteria Fallon was using are not the criteria the regular judges are applying to Richard's dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              You're free to speculate that Fallon "blackballed" Blais but I've never seen any reference anywhere to suggest that a judge can "blackball" a dish in the true sense of the word.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                So is Blais' ramen like stinking tofu? Some love it and some hate it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I suspect if your guest judge hates a dish, it wouldn't make the top 3. That's what I mean by blackball.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Perhaps I'm just not remembering the details of the episode well, but why do you think Fallon blackballed Richard? I remember him saying something about hoping for "more" from Blais but not hating the dish, and neither of those translate to blackball for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    in the extended JT footage on the Bravo site Fallon said Richard came very close to being in the bottom three...but during the actual tasting in the episode he said he was hoping Blais would "hit it out of the park" in his typical unique, technique-driven way, and instead he "bunted." it seemed to me that he had higher expectations for Blais than for the other chefs, and was just disappointed when he delivered a safe dish. i do recall other diners remarking on how much they liked the egg he served on top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I remember all of those comments ghg. I just don't think they equate to either hating the dish or blackballing the dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        oh i agree with you! i was just confirming what you said about his being disappointed but not hating it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ah! Got it! Sorry I misread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                well it was HIS birthday lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Thank you once again, Linda, for your great recap! Naturally, the one I miss sounds like a great deal of fun....it was a perfectly horrible day, and the only way I could think to end it was to overdose on vodka and Popeye's chicken (hey, don't knock it until you've tried it!). The caloric and alcohol - induced haze somehow caused me to totally forget it was Wednesday night...until of course I read this. Glad to see Carla doing so well!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                                                                                                                    LOL! I had to laugh at your overdose of vodka and Popeye's chicken, janet. I hope it helped get past the perfectly, horrible, blustery day you had. And TC is on OnDemand, so you can catch it tonight or this weekend. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. While I am not a regular viewer of Jimmy Fallon, I thought this was a pretty good episode. When I was a kid we had fondu but it was the hot oil kind and we deep fried hunks of beef in it. What I recall is that my father was a bit impatient and wanted to use more than one fork.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I had forgotten that we earlier heard about next week's episode with the Muppets. I detest cooking shows with the Muppets. The Frugal Gourmet was the first I believe. I know that Lidia Bastianich has had them on as well. I dislike the Muppets on cooking shows even more than grandchildren (Lidia again) on cooking shows. TC handled the kids on their show ok, it's not like they had 3 year-olds on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Padma & the sexy burger commercial...it was one of those ridiculous Carl's Jr. ads.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ozc-h...

                                                                                                                                                                                                      i though Richard's comment about not needing a helmet, 40 lbs of nitrogen and a flame-thrower to make a "Blais" dish was pretty damn funny...though it appears that in this instance he DID need them! regarding all the comments about him becoming a bit of an ass, i think it's actually defensiveness - i get the sense that he's doubting himself a bit...which was his downfall at his finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      i know i'm going to upset a lot of hootie-hoo fans here, but Carla's starting to get on my nerves. she's really over the top with the screeching and frenetic energy. BREATHE, woman. did anyone catch how quiet and subdued she was when she told everyone in the stew room that she won the EC? apparently she took Marcel's reaction to heart a few weeks ago!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      this was a fun episode, and i'm not surprised Fabio went home - he wasn't really impressing anyone with his food this season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      and on a side note, i got a personal kick out of the mayonnaise story, because my younger sister did the same thing on our back patio when she was little and wedged her head between two wrought-iron bars. but unfortunately for her, it required two firemen and a power saw to free her!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      43 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                        My nephew got his head stuck in my brother's house. It was a wooden railing however and after my SIL tried the slipper method and left him there for a while my brother got home and used a hand saw and freed him in about 38 seconds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Out of the three at the bottom, I was glad it was Fabio to leave. He seems a bit rusty and a one-note cook. How many times did he make gnocci in the early episodes?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        This question isn't really for you GHG but are there two different kinds of chicken and dumplings? My mother didn't make it often but when she did her dumplings were more like steamed biscuits, dough dropped on top of the chicken and broth. I've seen a Food Network show where they showed what I suppose is a southern version made at Cracker Barrel where the dumplings are more like thick, square noodles. Is that what Tiffany was going for and they got too thin?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, you can either make dumplings by rolling them (like Cracker Barrel) or dropping them (like steamed biscuits), just like you described. Tiffany rolled them too thin, and her broth was also too thin (like broth instead of gravy). I would have been disappointed, too, no matter how nice her southwestern noodle soup tasted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I totally agree with you about Carla, she drove me up a wall this show. I was doing other stuff while watching so didn't get the nuances but you sure couldn't miss her running around like a crazy person. And I'm sick of her screaming all the time when she wins. And I hate the fact that some people get $90,000 worth of prizes for winning and some get nothing. Totally lame.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree. I don't begrudge Carla her trips, but Antonia won last week without even getting a jar of Rao's bottled pasta sauce, and Carla won a trip *and* a spot on Fallon's show...pretty lame.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Agree with and have said in the past I just don't find it fair that sometimes winners get a great prize ($20K, a trip) and some get nothing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Didn't Antonia complain in a confessional last night about how she hadn't won any prizes or money or anything? It does seem a little odd that sometimes you get a signed cookbook from the guest judge or nothing (like Antonia for the win last week), and sometimes you get a trip to Tokyo!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Nettie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I totally agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I remember some seasons back when the winners were getting cookbooks and bottles of wine and then Casey (i think) won a computer and the others were happy for her, but also WTF with the randomness of the prizes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I feel for Antonia on this one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm with you all the way on this one. I don't begrudge the winners what they get, from money to cars to trips, but do think the goodies should be more evenly distributed so that all winners get something of approximately equal monetary value. I mean, c'mon, a signed cookbook vs. a brand new car?!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I too have found it a little disconcerting that some get elaborate prizes and others get nothing but I don't know if 'fair' is the right term. They are all there competing for the same prizes. If they decided what the prize was going to be depending on who the winner was, that would be unfair. Just think about seasons 1 through 5 where there were no big cash prizes at all. When did they start giving the cars away occasionally? I think that too might have been season 6.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Just thinking the same thing: so long as whether there will be a prize or what it is pre-determined, it doesn't seem unfair, just a matter of luck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I still "hootie hoo!" when I see Carla, and I'm not irritated by her. What's surprising me is how much I like Antonia this season, I think she's the dark horse. I was bored by her in her original season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Understandable that Antonia didn't make much of an impression in her season -- look at the other people who she was competing with for screen time -- Spike and Andrew on the entertainment front, Richard, Dale, and Stephanie on the serious cooking front, Nikki and Lisa on the "why are they still here" front. Antonia just plugged along wearing the "single mom" hat, IIRC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, and didn't help herself with her constant "I make this for my daughter" line, making it seem she had one foot out of the competition... I think she's been really on top of her game, and not taking any crap from anyone this season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        She has certainly been more interested and more effective this season. I questioned her inclusion when the names were announced, now I'm really glad she's in there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That's a good point. I vaguely remember her in her season, maybe because I thought Stephanie was such a stand out but I'm really liking her this time around.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I actually really liked Antonia in Season 4 (with the exception of her lack of knowledge about different cultures -- ie. this is a Cuban dish so we're going to drink this with tequila or something to that effect). She was pretty witty and knew how to handle herself. Glad that she's getting some better screen time this season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ITA about C. Hall.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        +1 - she drives me insane.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The tide is turning....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Nope.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Maybe not for everyone...yet...but there is time...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So is Carla the new Wolverine as it relates to dislike? ;-) (I'm in the like group, BTW)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So is Carla the new Wolverine as it relates to dislike? ;)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  heck no! i don't actively *dis*like Carla as a person - she's clearly a good egg. i just don't enjoy watching/hearing her shrieking and frequent loss of composure - i think it's silly for a grown woman to act like that. but that's JMO - i know many Hounds find her endearing and enjoyable to watch, and i don't begrudge anyone their opinion. it's just not my cup of tea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's how I feel, too. I like her, I think she's a genuine person and I wouldn't want her to change because that would change who she is. But, I think she'd be exhausting to be around. She's my age but acts like a toddler but with far longer limbs. She's not vanilla and won't appeal to everyone and that's a good thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      acts like a toddler but with far longer limbs.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      that's a great visual :) she has a few years on me but i have a hard time taking her seriously - when my 8-year-old niece acts like that she gets a time-out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      it's strange because i thought she was into yoga and meditation, so i'm not sure where that frenetic, chaotic energy comes from...she may be the least calm yogi i've ever seen!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "when my 8-year-old niece acts like that she gets a time-out."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wow! That's pretty strict !

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I actually know several not -at-all calm yogis as practicing yoga regularly does give people a ton of energy sometimes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You're as entrenched in not liking her as I am in liking her. Time has nothing to do with it, as you clearly demonstrate via your POV.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      No, there has definitely been an uptick in people saying she is grating on their nerves....soon, others will start following the pack, and groupthink will reign supreme! Bwaahaahaahaahaa!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (BTW, I think your comment was a bit unfair as far as being "entrenched." Let the record show I have given her full credit on her great QF dish from last week's visual challenge as well as clearly being able to execute her choosen dishes.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I still love Carla and I don't find your comments about her to be anything but amusing, if that helps. What is with all the touchiness lately?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Re: Richard, I agree that he hasn't overcome the self doubt back from his season. However, it also feels to me that he is falling into the technique over taste trap. I feel like the past few weeks we have heard him make some sort of comment that he should have won because the technique he used was ahead of everyone else. I really hope I'm wrong, I like Richard and I think he has the potential to win the whole thing. I just don't want him to get caught up in his own head.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ah, your comment about technique over taste reminded me of something Angelo said last night that i thought was just plain silly. he said that he had gotten away from doing his kind of food and needed to get back to focusing on what he does, "which is flavors." WTF? it's about flavor for ALL cooks, not just you, Mr. Tightpants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "WTF? it's about flavor for ALL cooks, not just you, Mr. Tightpants."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dammitall, ghg - can you please pass me some paper towels so I can clean off my keyboard? ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sorry LW, didn't mean to cause a mess! WHEN will we all learn to keep the beverages *far* away from the computer during CH time?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  oh, and i forgot to thank you last night for another excellent recap...so thanks :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Mr. Tightpants."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  --------
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ::rolleyes:: Not you too...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    c'mon huiray, Dale's comments last night about Angelo's wardrobe choices were funny...gotta have a little fun with it :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And Angelo's pants . . . not just too tight, but hip-huggers? And lilac?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      He was married before, has a son, so not using this to judge sexuality, just fashion sense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        not using this to judge sexuality, just fashion sense.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        or lack thereof ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        =)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i thought the exact opposite of this is what got him in trouble during the elimination challenge last night. it seemed like they all liked the flavor of his dish, but wanted something a little more "blaisish"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I had the same thought about Carla but was afraid to mention it. I did think it was great that she calmed down by the time she went back to the stew room. It is way too much frenetic energy to me, all around, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I really liked this episode, too. Was Tiffany's dish good? I don't remember hearing any comments that it wasn't good, just that it wasn't what was expected. I thought she would be safe because of it. I would love to see her pick up her game because I think she has a lot of potential. I think her FOH in RW much less annoying than Carla's regular behavior. I love that Antonia's dish was almost in the top and would have liked to see her pull it out. I thought it was nice that Richard was helpful, though he brought himself down, in my eyes this week. Biggest question--why is Mike still there???? Does anyone like him?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "I had the same thought about Carla but was afraid to mention it. I did think it was great that she calmed down by the time she went back to the stew room. It is way too much frenetic energy to me, all around, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tiffany...her FOH in RW much less annoying than Carla's regular behavior."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      *nodding*

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        chowser -
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        everything you said! +1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. watching the re-run immediately after, whilst reading these posts. Mike said to Padma "You're dirty - that's a commercial right there." and she countered slyly with, as you said, "I think i've done it."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i'm not a rabid Blais fan (tho i think he's extremely talented) but his bravado doesn't bother me a bit - maybe because he's not been consistently nasty and as others have said, he's still always helpful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Carla toned down her over-the-top reaction, to her credit. She's just a very excitable lady - and who wouldn't be? THREE trips she's won! She'll be great on Fallon's show. Poor Antonia, as Linda mentioned last week, and Antonia herself mentioned tonight, she's never won any cash or prizes even though she's had at least a couple wins, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Fabio's burger and the cheese sauce really didn't sound/look good, but i'm very sorry to see him go. so entertaining. For me any of those three on the bottom would have been a disappointment to see leave.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree with debbie1 - i'm a bit of a Dale fan now. "Phondue"!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think Antonia is totally holding her own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      catty note: Jimmy Fallon's wife's teeth were PHOSPHORESCENTLY, BLINDINGLY, HOLLYWOOD WHITE.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As for muppets next week: Curse you, Jim Henson!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Re: Padma getting dirty -- other than her burger commercial, I wonder if there was some behind-the-scenes joke about her staying out of the food fight promos the cheftestants made for this season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And yes, it's nice to see Dale's sense of humor. When he said "Pho...ndue", I thought "Blais is rubbing off on him." (Remember Thai-bouli?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I love Dale's dead-pan delivery - then a pause - then his cute little chuckle. And of all the chefs, he's the one whose food I most would like to eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Dale -"he's the one whose food I most would like to eat."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ...and he's the one who's bones I would most like to jump!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I loved this episode in general, but oh man, Mike Isabella just had to again be a jerk and use gay as an insult ("gay fondue parties" -- I rewound to make sure that he sad that). Thanks for confirming that you're an a**, Mike!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Other than that, though, thought that this episode was fun; all of the chefs really got into it, it was fun to see them make things that were a little out of their comfort zones, especially Angelo with the pulled pork and Dale with the cheesesteak. All of the food looked good, I would have loved to try all of the winning dishes, the sausage and peppers, and even that super salty cheesesteak. They all seemed to be having a good time throughout the episode; the quickfire was pretty funny, and they came up with some enjoyable ideas (and I would have loved to try Richard's banana/chocolate fondue).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm okay with Fabio leaving; he was entertaining, and I would have certainly preferred Mike to go, but at this point I like most of these people, so I'll almost always be sad to see them go.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        47 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i always think it's interesting that it's still ok to make blatantly gay jokes. i.e., alluding to angelo's tight pants, and then of course jimmy fallon and his cohort at the table made a couple of homophobic jokes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          before anyone jumps all over me, i wasn't offended, i HAVE a sense of humor, i laugh and have laughed at these and many OTHER jokes that are un-PC, AND have made many of them myself along with my gay sister and gay friends. funny is funny to me. i just find it interesting that gay is something people still feel is "safe" to laugh at. that and fat people. it's always ok (apparently) on t.v. to make jokes about people who are overweight or gay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't disagree with your sentiment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I just want to point out that I'm pretty sure Fabio making fun of Angelo's skinny jeans wasn't a gay joke. He was making fun of Angelo for being a hipster.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Absolutely, mc. I don't know what the pathology behind that is, but it does seem that there are certain segments of our wonderful diverse population who are still wide-open for the gun-barrels of insensitive people, whether they are truly homophobic or not.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Re your comment about fat people: I was JUST thinking about that. If you take it to the next level, Anorexia and Obesity are just opposite ends of the same spectrum of eating disorders, and somehow I don't think that some commercial poking fun at a76-lb, dying model on tv would go over that well, but how far apart are they really?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah, it's just that calling something gay as an insult is just mean spirited and bigoted, and isn't funny. I'm actually pretty amazed that the editors left that in, which proves your point that it's interesting that gay jokes and insults seem to be okay on TV.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  +1 on gay insults

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Along those same lines, I hate when someone calls a man a girl as an insult. (The coach with his "okay, ladies.") Seriously offends me. As well as the gay and fat stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Do black people still use the "n" word? Do gay people call each other "fags"? I feel like this could be a Geico commercial.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Generally agree on the gay (and fat) insults. However, I would qualify it with the comment that context, audience and orientation of the speaker do influence whether the "joke" is obnoxious or a good-natured/droll jab - conditions which are iffy in the current cases.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wait, "tightpants" is a gay joke?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Also, there is a HUGE genrational divide in terms of black people using the "n" word.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i can't speak for anyone else, but that's not AT ALL what i meant when i called him Mr Tightpants in my post farther up-thread. Dale's comments last night about Angelo's wardrobe were what compelled me to say that - i don't think it means anything about his sexual orientation either way. it's a fact, Angelo likes to wear his pants a bit snug...a look that i find silly whether he's gay or straight, a fashion model, chef, teacher, carpenter, whatever. i just don't think men should wear tight pants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Where I live, we got tight pants, we got "pants on the ground"...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "Lookin' like a fool", either way. Sorry, couldn't resist.;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I didn't think Dale's comment was about sexual orientation at all. I thought he was just saying Angelo looked good and cared about appearance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I didn't hear the gay fondue parties comment, but I was really incensed (and floored!) at Mike calling Dale an "effing monkey" for voting him into the bottom in the Quickfire.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          What about Dale's comments about Angelo and his pants?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That I did hear, and I just thought it was more about his style vs. a gay slur. The stylings of Angelo *have* been brought up in past episodes. Are they gay-related? I don't know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I cant remember what Dale actually said, but my recall is that he was likening Angelo to a woman. Will go on-demand sometime and check.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, based on Angelo's high-pitched giggling fit while hiding behind the service tables a few weeks ago when Mike tried to set him up with diners at the beach challenge, yeah, he does act rather girlish. Is there anything wrong with that? No. It is, however, rather odd to see. IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But I *really* don't want to get into a discussion as to whether Angelo is gay or not. If he is, and comes out, more power to him. If he is, and chooses to stay in the closet, his choice. If he isn't, and marries a woman from Russia, well, he marries a woman from Russia. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yet another nice summary, Linda. :-) Who cares about his sexual orientation? It has nothing whatsoever to do with his ability to cook. I'm also appalled by some of the homophobia but even more distressed by Mike's racism in calling Dale a "monkey."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    yes!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Do we not remember how dreadful and offensive Mike was in his own season?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Parrotgal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's called "blessed repression." :-) I actually had managed to forget some of Mike's offensiveness and idiocy from his own season, but it came back as soon as he got started with the TCAS.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Regardless, it's inexcusable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, husband and I both were like "Did he just call him a monkey??" I think it's possibly theoretically possible to assign someone simian traits based on other than race, but dude, stop and think. You have to be totally tone-deaf to say something like that (at best).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Intersting! I would have been thinking racism if he was black ( becuase I am used to hearing that association) , but since he was Vietnamese, I didn't take it that way. It seemed like a "regular" insult.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think Dale is Filipino.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        and a mermaid in the fishing episode.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Was it Dale that said Angelo is a stunning man?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, and I think he meant it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I missed this comment earlier... :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hmm, Talde saying Sosa was a "pretty, pretty man" sounds like a mocking/borderline homophobic comment to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            He's commented on Angelo's looks and implied he was effeminate several times (the mermaid comment). But it doesn't sound mean to me, more like he's teasing Angelo for being a dandy. My guess is that if you have to share a room and a bathroom with a guy who's always primping it becomes a running joke. And there is something about Angelo that reminds me of a teenage girl -- not in a sexual way, but in the way he can be dreamy or naively hopeful and enthusiastic. He strikes me as a guy who is always being hurt by people and never quite sure why.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Could be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm not sure Sosa did spend any inordinate amount of time on his personal appearance and grooming - i.e. 'primping'. Still, FWIW, if he [Talde] is teasing someone who's 'always primping' (if it is so) how come we don't hear anything (from anyone at all, IIRC) about what must be the inordinate amounts of time Blais - and he-whos-name-cannot-be-mentioned - must have spent primping their hairdos and who-knows-what-else-too?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh, what about the elves showing us Talde hiding under his blankets when Sosa was walking around bare-chested in his so-called "tight pants" in the bedroom? Heh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                During TC 2 it was mentioned that "he-who's-name-cannot-be-mentioned" spent a LONG time in the bathroom and 45 minutes on his hair. That's why they showed Frank shaving in the kitchen I think, or was it Sam?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ah yes, right. I had this season (TCAS) in mind, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Is it possible that they have shown less video of activities at the 'house' than in past seasons?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Also, there have been fewer confrontations between contestants ci just had a memory of Frank telling "he-who's-name-cannot-be-mentioned" that if he touched his stuff one more time he would beat him so bad his own mother would not recognize him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I thought it was a nasty remark. In keeping with his previous remark about Sosa as a mermaid?/siren of the sea or something like that on that fishing trip. Both consistent with a view of Sosa as "not-a-man", verging on homophobic, whether or not Sosa is indeed so. Oh, Talde, if you think those are tight pants Sosa is wearing, you haven't seen tight pants. [Ditto for you, Viviani]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (@LindaW: Saying a guy wears "tight pants" is often code for casting aspersions upon his "manliness" and at times is tantamount to doubting his heterosexuality. The phrase "That's so gay" is used in some quarters to describe a guy wearing tight pants, especially the skinny leg and crotch hugging types.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Well, quite frankly, I don't find Angelo very "manly." Again, I don't care whether he's gay, straight, bi, transgendered, Martian or Croatian.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Should Dale have said anything either time? Probably not - it certainly doesn't put him in a good light if he (Dale) is homophobic. But it is what it is. It's been said. The Editing Elves chose to leave both those remarks and the effing monkey remark from Mike. So they're editing for shock power. No surprise there. :-/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              True enough and I do agree with you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I caught that too and was immediately horrified (I was thinking of that whole macaca incident last year) - but I did also notice that when they were cooking a meal back at their apartment, he said something like, "Okay, monkeys, who's ready to eat?" - so it is *possible* that he just likes to call people monkeys and it wasn't intended as a slur? I think he's just dumb enough for that to be true.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ahhh, interesting. I've never seen that bit back at the apartment, so perhaps it's a silly term of endearment? However, its use in the case of Dale voting him into the bottom certainly wasn't endearing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But you're right - he's just dumb enough to use the phrase thinking it's "cute".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If memory serves, it was early in the episode last night - maybe right after the bar scene? Check it out in reruns - I'm pretty sure I heard him correctly. I'm no fan of his, but I wouldn't peg him for a racist - just a lunkhead!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i'm no fan of Isabella, but i really, truly, did feel it was a silly term of endearment. maybe i'm totally naive, but i've never, ever heard anyone use a simian reference as a racial slur in connection with an Asian - not that it's ever ok to use a racial slur on anyone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                alright, i made my point above.... back to the food!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah, I thought it sounded a little immature but in no way racist. I'm not a fan of MIke "Legend in his own head" isabella but I think he shoots off the hip as he speaks and doesn't think about how it'll come off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                oh, that's a much kinder explanation than my fears express! good thought.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, that's correct. I myself didn't really mind the "monkey" remark and thought it did not have racial animus behind it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, I'm likely to call kids a bunch of monkeys, especially if they're scampering about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  oh - I never heard that either - yikes!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have been waiting for someone to comment on his gay slur! If he had used the n-word he would be off the show! I am tired of his bigoted and misogynistic arrogance and I want him off the show! What can we do? Hide his lamb next week?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: dcdavis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Totally agree, but thanks for a nice laugh too - "hide his lamb!" love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4. Random thoughts:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - I truly thought Dale was going home this week. In part because the producers can't really give Fabio the loser's edit - Fabio always gets airtime, win lose or make-another-delicious-but-uncalled-for-gnocchi-and-wind-up-in-the-middle-again. But more so because over-salting a dish is usually a greater Top Chef sin than making something too dry and pedestrian. Watching the extended judges table though, it seems Dale was never really in the running for elimination and the choice was between Tiffany and Fabio. Must not have been THAT over-salted. Tricksy damn elves (I'm starting to sound like Golem). Though like everyone else, I love Fabio, I'm glad Dale's staying - it seems like he has more left to do in this competition, whereas Fabio mostly had more of the same to offer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - My other passion besides food is music. I had a discussion this past week about musicians who are virtuoso players of their instruments, but can't get the overall vibe of a song and as such are a pain in the ass to play with. And that led to a conversation about people who are maybe not so talented and technical on their instruments but who instantly recognize what it is about a song that makes it interesting and worth playing; people who are able to hone in on that quality and preserve and amplify it. Those people are great to play with - they're who you want in your band.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And as far as that distinction applies to cooks, that's Carla. Her chicken pot pie was a perfect example. She doesn't shortchange you on crust. She KNOWS how damn important the peas are, that those little bursts of sweetness and freshness make the dish. That dehydrated pea salt was a big-time move - her technical innovation wasn't there to be flashy, but fully in service of bringing out what makes chicken pot pie so satisfying - like a scaled back Heston Blumenthal move. I've doubted her before. She's officially won me over with this one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Jimmy Fallon wasn't as annoying as I worried he would be. It helped that he has hired someone to go wherever he does and be funny for him. And it was cool that he was such a big fan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Handicapping the season from this point on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  7. Tiffany.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  She's surely a good cook, but she hasn't seemed to be on her game this season. We know from season 7 that she has another gear she can swing into. But I see her stalling out instead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  6. Mike.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  He's losing momentum. And arguably, he doesn't have the wow-ing techniques and skill that his competitors seem to. Doesn't bode well for him as this competition gets more fierce. He's a marathon chef - his ability to repeatedly pull off good but not great dishes has gotten him far this season. You have to be able to sprint as you get closer to the finish line.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5. Antonia.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  She's good. The other chefs are better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4. Angelo.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The top 4 are all chefs I could see winning this competition. Angelo has it in him. But this season has shown some limitations to his style - his food can be too busy, can bury what should be the main flavors under garnish. Still, he did put up one of the best finale meals in Top Chef history, according to the judges.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Dale.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm conflicted about putting Dale at #3. Because I don't think he'll finish third. I could easily see him winning the whole thing. And I could also easily see him bowing out next week. Lots of potential, but a propensity to stumble at times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Carla.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  She's been coming on strong - lots of momentum. But she did the same late in season 5 before floundering at the finale. I think she's learned her lesson though. She could be in trouble though if one of the remaining elimination challenges asks her to stretch herself too far.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Richard
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't see Richard losing before the finale (though he may not win any more elimination challenges either). He's too solid, too many tricks up his sleeve. And he's had years to dwell on his first finale loss. I suspect he has a few dishes he's saving just for the finale - he'll be looking to knock it out of the park this time around. And great though Carla (and Dale and Angelo) may be, I don't think the others can compete with his end-of-season fireworks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    great analogy re the music, CBD.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Interesting ranking, CBD. I think I would switch Angelo and Antonia. She's brought much more than he has this season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think both Angelo and Tiffany are suffering from having this All-Star season come too close on the heels of their first go-round.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "I think I would switch Angelo and Antonia. She's brought much more than he has this season."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        _____
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Of course there are many intangibles at play here. She may be playing it smarter than Angelo. But going strictly by how they've placed in challenges so far, this is not true.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But remember Antonia had one winning dish and possibly a second that ended up as being on-the-bottom in the stats because she happened to be on a losing team.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Chef...:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Angelo has had 2 wins, 4 highs, and 1 low.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Antonia has had 1 win, 3 highs, and 4 lows. One of those lows was when she had one of the best dishes, but was on the losing team. Even if you throw out that one low and assume it was a win or a high, she hasn't done quite as well as Angelo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Nettie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My point was that stats don't tell the whole story. Plus two of her lows were team lows when personally, she did well (one of which it was said by Tom would have been a win). Granted, even taking that into consideration her stats still aren't as good as Angelo's but they aren't miles apart either (2-4-1 vs. an adjusted 2-4-2).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think they have both done very well and I don't think either has been in danger of being sent packing more than once.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Very good post, cowboyardee. I like your Carla paragraph - the crust, the peas, the *flavor*.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'll be interested to see how your handicapping compares as the season progresses. I think your Top 3 are who *should* be there, based on what we've seen so far. We'll see how it plays out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Love, love, love this post, cowboyardee! I was reading and nodding, reading and nodding - spot on IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My first thought when they sent home Fabio over Dale was that, if it were me, I'd take the burger over the too-salty cheesesteak. You can always add catsup to a dry burger, but over-salting usually has no remedy for the diner. But it's not for me to judge, and, as you said, it must have not been that salty. I knew Fabio was doomed when he listed his meat combo for the burger. I'm sorry to see him go because I love watching and listening to him, and I think he made one of the classiest exits on TC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Linda, thank you once again for an excellent recap!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: phee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "I knew Fabio was doomed when he listed his meat combo for the burger"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            From what I recall, his meat combo was chuck, brisket and short ribs. I don't really see anything wrong with it. I think what killed him was that he added bread crumbs to the meat mixture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: phee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks Phee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's hard for me to feel too bad for Fabio. He made a good showing this season, came off as likable and fun and easy to work with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A while back Richard wrote a great blog post about what there is to be gained from Top Chef. He made an analogy (which I'm about to butcher) comparing Top Chef winnings to a chicken and an egg. In this analogy, any prizes and money you win are an egg - potentially a huge, 100k+ egg. But the name recognition and your reputation in the food business (where many of the players surely watch Top Chef) is the chicken. And he pointed out how important it is to remember that chickens can make eggs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The point is, Fabio's restaurant will surely see plenty of extra traffic. He'll have career opportunities for years to come. Nice chicken you got there, Fabs,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: phee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In the extended Judges Table it is clear that Dale actually had a good dish that was just too salty, but not THAT salty. It was bottom three, but not in any danger of eliminating him. It was between Tiffany and Fabio basically. When Padma asked, "Whose would you eat again [between Fabio's and Tiffany's]?" everyone said Tiffany's. Dale made a seasoning mistake, but a good dish otherwise. Tiffany and Fabio swung and missed on what the dish is supposed to be about, but Tiffany's at least wasn't that bad generally speaking. Fabio's apparently didn't much of anything going for it though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Right. That jibes with what I always say, and what Tiffany said when she finished her dish: not fulfilling the requirements of the challenge might put you in the bottom, but in the end, it's how good the dish tastes that matters. Tiffany's dish wasn't really bad, it just wasn't chicken and dumplings. Fabio's dish was not only not a burger, but it was bad -- when Tom says that your cheese sauce is "gross" there's not much hope for you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. 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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    <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 good old Jewish Chicken-in-the-Pot. That's not thick, except the chicken soup is "thick" with the chicken, veggies and matzoh balls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think they would have been fine with Southwestern flavors, but the chicken and the dumplings were non-entities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. 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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      " 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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        <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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "an instinctual knack for giving the diner what he or she wants"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Good way to put it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          but then one of those chefs couldnt even make a decent burger :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Did I say something to the contrary? I feel like you are arguing with me, but I'm not sure why...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My apologies, it's been a long day & I responded further down the thread than I meant to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: jcattles

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jcattles