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Top Chef All-Stars - Ep. #10 - 02/16/11 (Spoilers)

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Oh, my - we certainly went off-topic just a *few* times on last week's thread, didn't we? ;-) While I'm glad the Mods let us go on all sorts of tangents last week, let's try and keep this one more on topic!

************************************************************************************

OK, we start off with the remaining chefs talking about Fabio being gone. Richard wishes Fabio had consulted with him - after all, he *does* run a burger restaurant! True that. Richard and Dale, both Season 4, are aiming to be in the Finale together, and then they're going to go head-to- head.

And they head into the TC Kitchen the next morning. Padma starts off by saying in a slightly sing-song voice "We're on our way, and everything's OK..." while the cheftestants look at her like she's lost her mind. She finishes with "Can you tell me how to get to...." and up pop the Cookie Monster, Elmo and Telly from behind a draped table to shout out "SESAME STREET!"

The Quickfire Challenge is cookie making! And who are they trying to impress? The Cookie Monster, Elmo, and Telly. Well, not the Muppets specifically....but the Muppeteers who manipulate those Muppets.

Richard says with his 2yo daughter, Elmo is like Elvis - so he can't afford to lose this one! Padma asks the Muppets for any suggestions - Elmo wants zucchini, the Cookie Monster wants chocolate chips, of course. And he wants them NOW! Padma says the prize is $5,000.

And they're off - 45 minutes to make cookies. The Muppets heckle the cheftestants with instructions and comments such as "Five Second Rule!" when Mike drops something on the floor. Mike is actually laughing so much at all of the comments. Dale's not used to being heckled and has to curb his impulse to swear at them! LOL Elmo asks what Richard has in his hand - it's a zucchini - which is what Elmo wanted and he's very happy! Dale's "cookies" are a combination of potato chips, pretzels, and chocolate - not really baking, but you go with what pops into your brain! Antonia's cookies are VERY large chocolate-chocolate chip cookies.

Judging begins...in tasting one cookie, Telly say, "I thought I tasted cardamom," and Padma says that "cardamom and cinnamon were related and from the same part of the world." Elmo said "Really?" :::::long pause::::: "TMI!" And turns and leaves that table. TOO funny! (Thanks momjamin, for the correction!)

Bottom group - Richard and Angelo
Top group - Dale and Antonia

While Antonia's cookies are great (Cookie Monster said the only ones that were ooey-gooey), Telly said they weren't the prettiest...Elmo said they looked like cow chips! LOL And Dale wins!

For the Elimination Challenge, they take over a Target store, and have to create dishes from items found in the aisles - including using the pots and pans and various cookware! They're playing for $25,000. They have 3 hours in the middle of the night to raid the store for EVERYTHING they might need - this includes food, utensils, cooking equipment - and cook for 100 Target employees. Padma tells them to leave their knives in the TC kitchen. They have to use ONLY what they can find in the store. This will be interesting!

They go absolutely nuts throughout the store - the store is so big it's hard for them to find everything they need. Mike and Angelo seem to team up to help each other...interesting move on their parts! Meanwhile, Antonia has two filled carts with absolutely EVERYTHING she could need - electronics, food, everything! Carla, however, still hasn't shopped for her food yet and the challenge is 1/3 done! Get going, Carla! Even Richard notices you haven't started cooking yet, and thinks perhaps you won't be finished!

Richard starts cooking first. Dale looks around as he's cooking and sees that the women have set up their tables nicely with flowers, tablecloths, etc. He says "I didn't realize this was a Suzy Homemaker competition!"

And EVERYONE seems to be making a soup or stew - except Antonia. However, her egg dish could be a problem in getting them all done on time! Carla's realizing that she spent too much time working on her tablescape vs. the food, and doesn't think her soup is a $25,000 soup.

Dale's tomato soup is just soup, but his steak and grilled cheese using an iron is pretty damn smart! LOL

Judges - at 3:00am service! - in addition to Padma and Tom, are Anthony Bourdain, Ming Tsai, and Thomas O'Brien, Target's Home Designer.

Richard's pork dish - Bourdain said the dish was butt ugly, but tasted good.

Dale's steak and grilled cheese got rave reviews for the good crunch on the sandwich. Bourdain said "perfect late night stoner food." :-D Ming Tsai was impressed with his using an iron to "grill" the sandwich, and said "Maybe he's trying to become an Iron Chef!" Ooooh. Bad pun!

Carla's curried soup - judges said it needed protein - which she KNEW she was missing but had spent too much time shopping for her tablescape!

Antonia's egg dish - Bourdain said it was ballsy of her to attempt 100 servings, but everyone loved it!

Tiffany - her jambalaya was considered "ok" and "fair". Mike's soup was also considered OK.

Angelo's baked potato soup was deemed too heavy, and Ming said it was WAY too salty. He asked the other judges if they'd eat a whole bowl of the soup, and everyone said no.

So who's in the high group? I think Dale and Antonia are going to be battling it out again. As for the low group, it's probably Angelo, Carla, and Mike, and I think Angelo might be on the way out. They seemed to focus most on his and Carla's soups as the worst, but Angelo's over-salting could be his death knell.

They're back in the Stew Room, and they're all exhausted. Padma comes in and asks for Dale, Antonia, and Richard - definitely the Top Group!

Richard gets kudos from Ming for cooking his protein two ways. Antonia's dish is favored by Bourdain with getting it all done, and Dale's inventiveness is highly praised. And Dale wins! A double win for him this time around!

Dale said back in the Stew Room that they want to see Carla, Tiffany and Angelo. I had two out of the three in the bottom group. Carla's soup *was* in need of protein and was too thin - Ming said it would have been a good sauce for chicken or salmon.

Angelo's salty soup was also too rich. Tiffany's jambalaya used dried spices, which Bourdain says accentuated the problems with the dish when she overused the spices.

Padma asks them if they have any final words to say before they make their decision - Tiffany is the only one who makes a statement about being from small town Beaumont, Texas, and she's honored to have cooked with all of them. They head back into the Stew Room, and Carla said "Beaumont cried again." But Angelo thinks he's heading home for too much salt.

At JT, while Tiffany's jambalaya was overspiced, it wasn't inedible. It REALLY seems to be leaning towards Angelo - but we know how the Elves work. Could this be Carla's swan song? Noooo! Please send Angelo first!

We're back....Tom reviews all of their dishes, acknowledging the difficulty of the challenge....and Padma asks Angelo to PYKAG! He realizes he lost control of the dish. They go back into the Stew Room, and his buddy, Mike, is astonished. But he gets a little Target dog as a farewell gift from Carla or Antonia. :-) A gracious farewell.

And WHAT? Fabio and Marcel are back next week? Noooooooo!

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  1. really nervous for Carla!!!!

    1. not a fan of this "challenge." not so much of a cooking challenge as it is a commercial for Target!!

      14 Replies
      1. re: mattstolz

        I agree, especially this late in the season- the focus should be on cooking, not stunts!

        1. re: karenfinan

          however, i DO like the new target commercials featuring Kevin and Padma!

          1. re: mattstolz

            me too

            1. re: mattstolz

              They were kind of funny! Also one with Dale working against Kevin and Kevin having to scrape his dish out of a sticky pan while Dale's slides out of a nonstick pan? :-)

              1. re: LindaWhit

                Wasn't it Eli Kirshtein in the ad with Kevin?

                1. re: Nettie

                  Ugh. Thanks. I *knew* it wasn't Dale. But he was stuck in my brain. Yes, it was Eli.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    No prob--I only knew it was Eli because Richard Blais tweeted about it.

                2. re: LindaWhit

                  I LOVED the Eli/Kevin commercial. Which I would not have seen had I been a more accurate DVR fast forwarder.

                  1. re: debbiel

                    AUGH! I missed it completely. well, I'll just have to watch a rerun. :)

                3. re: mattstolz

                  Especially the nod toward Kevin's pig-loving rep. "You made a ... lettuce and tomato sandwich? Huh."

                  1. re: mattstolz

                    Same here! I liked the Lettuce and Tomato sandwich one the best.

                    P: So you made a Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich?
                    K: Yes! *beaming*
                    P: Huh. *completely perplexed* (was she really acting?)

                    Pop to OM bacon.

                    1. re: Dee S

                      I thought her delivery of "Huh" in that commercial was SO much better than she normally delivers her lines in the show! Maybe they rehearsed it a lot?

                      1. re: aching

                        I agree! It was very full of meaning for a "huh."

                  2. re: karenfinan

                    +1

                4. "i think dale's trying to become a iron chef"

                  HAHAHAH good one ming!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mattstolz

                    digg

                  2. this is not the most they have every played for. the bocuse d;or challenge was 30 grand
                    http://teenchefteddy.blogspot.com/

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tldmatrix

                      you're right - i remembered that as well while i was watching, and just looked it up to be sure. stupid mistake for them to make!

                    2. ahhhh, Angelo, he was one of the most talented, too bad. Anybody think Mike Isabella wasn't a help?

                      67 Replies
                      1. re: karenfinan

                        Hmmm...yeah. Perhaps Mike's the new Black Widower?

                        1. re: karenfinan

                          Agreed. Actually I thought Mike was a little "too" astonished.

                          1. re: LiveRock

                            I thought Mike was genuinely astonished. When he high-fived Angelo after Tiffany was saying how her dish was overseasoned, I thought his high-five was because it sounded to him like Tiffany was going to be sent home (which I thought was an obnoxious gesture, btw). Angelo was bewildered by that gesture as well.

                            1. re: lisavf

                              After some of our previous threads, my gang-inspired reactions:

                              * Mike is astonished not only that his BFF Angelo was going home, but more to the point, that Angelo was on the loser's panel with two women and still lost.

                              * Where's the outrage from the other contestants that Dale won on grilled cheese and tomato soup? Surely that's simpler than mussels.

                              All tongue-in-cheek ;-)

                              1. re: momjamin

                                Actually, I think both comments are spot-on :)

                                1. re: lisavf

                                  I also think that both comments are spot on -- I think that's exactly why Mike was so astonished (and I thought his outrage was pretty rude to the other two in the bottom), and I agree that grilled cheese and tomato soup are a lot easier than mussels! I think that it's awesome that Dale won for a deceptively simple dish, but it will be pretty pointed if there is no "just grilled cheese and tomato soup!" from the remaining chefs.

                                  1. re: JasmineG

                                    "and I agree that grilled cheese and tomato soup are a lot easier than mussels!"
                                    ____
                                    Only if you buy your soup from a can and don't bother with the rib-eye in your sandwich. Try to make Antonia's mussels dish - it's near impossible to f*** up unless you get the salt wrong. Takes like 20 minutes start to finish. Meanwhile, making the sandwich portions individually (for 100+ in 2 hours) actually put Dale's dish on the more difficult side of this challenge.

                                    Dale's dish wasn't hard. For a home cook to make for servings for 4-6 without major time constraints. The difference this week was that they were operating under pretty severe time and equipment constraints and had to produce many servings. You don't call someone out for making a soup and a sandwich if you only made soup (Angelo, Carla, Mike) or a jambalaya (Tiffany).

                                    On the other hand, If Antonia wanted to complain about the others taking the easy route (and she sorta did), I would have given her a pass this week.

                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                      I love all of the defensive comments about how it couldn't possibly be sexism, when that's not at all what I said (people seem like they're protesting a little too much). I think that grilled cheese and tomato soup aren't that hard to make, just like mussels (though, again, I think it's a lot easier to make a bunch of big sandwiches and cut them and make a big pot of soup than make great mussels) and yet I've had really bad and really good versions of both, so I'm delighted that people are winning for dishes that look simple. I just think that it's interesting that the other chefs on the show were stunned and angry when Antonia won for mussels and there wasn't a peep when Dale won for grilled cheese and tomato soup.

                                      1. re: JasmineG

                                        Maybe it's because quite a few of the contestants made soup as well?

                                        1. re: donovt

                                          But the other two in the top three didn't -- Antonia made perfect runny eggs, and Richard made pork.

                                          1. re: JasmineG

                                            Yeah, but when 4 out of 7 made soup, it shows that what Dale made was well in line with the competition.Especially seeing as the other soup makers didn't make sandwiches.

                                            I have no problem ith Antonia winning for mussels by the way.

                                        2. re: JasmineG

                                          "I love all of the defensive comments about how it couldn't possibly be sexism, when that's not at all what I said (people seem like they're protesting a little too much)."
                                          _____

                                          What? Find me a mention of 'sexism' in my post. Were you just assuming it was there? I'm talking about food.

                                          "(though, again, I think it's a lot easier to make a bunch of big sandwiches and cut them and make a big pot of soup than make great mussels)"
                                          ______
                                          I disagree with you. Cuz you're wrong. No offense though - here's a smiley face :)

                                          Beyond that, I think a lot of people are (falsely) equating familiarity with easiness and also completely ignoring the demands of the respective challenges.

                                          The simplest explanation for why the chefs were stunned when Antonia won is the face-value explanation - her dish really was very simple and easy compared to her competitors. You can come up with all the other sinister explanations and motivations you want, but the chef-testants came right out and said her dish was surprisingly easy and all my experience cooking tells me this was true.

                                          Heck take a look at the video for Top Recipe that week. The mussels video came in at, like 4 minutes. The average Top Recipe video is over 10 minutes.

                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                            Your comment, which was one of many, did not mention sexism, but LOTS of others in this thread did. And, again, it's not about how fast it is to cook something, it's about how good it tastes. I bet it took a long time to make bad pasta that week, but the quick mussels tasted better. Dale's tomato soup and sandwiches, clearly simpler to make than Richard's pork and Antonia's 100 perfectly fried eggs, tasted better. It's not about the time, or the simplicity -- it's about how good the food is. That's why Antonia won, and that's why Dale won this week. I don't know why 4 minutes makes you think that you're right and all the others who disagree with you are wrong.

                                            1. re: JasmineG

                                              "Your comment, which was one of many, did not mention sexism, but LOTS of others in this thread did."
                                              ________
                                              If we're talking elsewhere in this thread, then most examples are in direct response to someone outright alleging sexism. Which seems to me, in this case, unjustified. I'm sure sexism often exists in pro kitchens and it is a very bad thing, but reaction to Dale winning vs Antonia winning is not strong evidence of it.

                                              "It's not about the time, or the simplicity -- it's about how good the food is."
                                              ____
                                              It's about everything - how tasty the food is AND how much skill and work and imagination it took to make it. I'm sure taste is probably weighted most heavily in that equation, but still, you can't judge a cooking competition on taste alone and make it compelling.

                                              I don't even necessarily have a problem with Antonia winning that week. I'm just pointing out that her competition's offerings must have been flawed for her to do so, since it was such an easy, simple dish (and the blogs that week would seem to back me up). On the other hand, that episode did seem a little like the judges were being less objective than usual (and wanting mostly-faithful recreations of their favorites rather than valuing the best cooking that week), but as I didn't taste the other dishes, I can't say for sure.

                                              "I don't know why 4 minutes makes you think that you're right and all the others who disagree with you are wrong."
                                              _________
                                              It doesn't. My cooking experience makes me think that I'm right and that those who disagree with me are wrong. The video thing was just trying to strengthen my case for those who aren't yet convinced.

                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                Tony Bourdain (who actually ate all of the food that week and this week) would disagree with you about her competition's offerings http://popwatch.ew.com/2011/02/17/ant...

                                                For you it may be about skill and work and imagination. But for these judges it's clearly just about the taste. You may judge a cooking competition differently, but that's not how they're judging it, or what they care about.

                                                1. re: JasmineG

                                                  I could come up with a lot of counter examples, but a few off the top of my head: Sam getting dinged for not cooking anything in the second season finale (part 1), and even there he did a decent amount of work. Hung being dinged for that unimaginative and easy canape, season 3. Season 4, ep 1 big bald-headed dude staying in after thoroughly screwing up a soufflee because it was a difficult dish and skinny lady screwed up an easy one. Robin leaving rather than Jen season 6 cuz she messed up a panna cotta rather than something more difficult. Angelo getting called to the bottom this season for serving a crudo in the 8-minute quickfire. There are many more.

                                                  I also remember questioning Bourdain's judging rationale that episode in the thread for that week just as I did in my above post (though as I noted at the time, I'm a huge Bourdain fan normally). I'm not sure what you're implying here, but Bourdain certainly didn't state that Antonia's mussels were a difficult dish to make compared to her competitors.

                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                    I don't think any of your examples contradict what I said: it's all about how good the food tastes. If it's the best tasting food that week, no high or low level of difficulty will be the thing that will put you over the top. Conversely, the worst tasting dish goes home, so an easy bad dish will still lose, just as a hard bad dish will lose.

                                                    1. re: JasmineG

                                                      "I don't think any of your examples contradict what I said"
                                                      ____
                                                      Did you read them? Remember seeing them on TV? They were pretty clear - cases where judges based their decisions on factors other than taste. If you don't see that, I have no idea what to tell you. Read the judges' blogs. It has never been "all about taste."

                                          2. re: JasmineG

                                            Yet people have been explaining why the reactions differed but clearly the suggested reasons are not registering with you?

                                            1. re: JasmineG

                                              Was it Mike and Fabio who complained about Antonia's mussel dish being simple? Mike obviously wouldn't say the right thing and Fabio is gone. I think it's far harder to make good mussels than grilled cheese. I don't understand that there's any defense--really, grilled cheese? Dale used that preshredded Target cheese from a bag? Okay, once I was at Target, short on time and picked up some cheese. I bought cheddar cheese, instead of American, only to find once I got home that the first ingredient of their "cheddar" cheese is American cheese. So, the judges were happy w/ shredded processed cheese and gave it a $25,000 prize? I think Dale was shocked about it. How many times did he say he just did grilled cheese and soup.

                                              I also don't believe that the food that tastes the best should necessarily win. How can you compare what Dale made to what Antonia and Richard made? Why bother stretching to show what you can do then? Yes, it needs to taste good but it also needs to be more than grilled cheese.

                                              1. re: chowser

                                                I think it would be "harder" to prepare 100 runny, good-tasting eggs than grilled cheese (w/meat) and soup (or even mussels), but the judges are obviously going with what they think tastes best.

                                                I don't pretend to understand the true criteria for a Top Chef, but best-tasting food seems like a pretty important one. It's always mine.

                                                I'm not suggesting that if all else (re: how it tastes) is "equal" that other factors don't/shouldn't come into play. But it seems the food that tastes best should win--unless the best-tasting dish did not meet some key component/condition of the challenge.

                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                  I'm on the fence about this--whether best taste is all that should count. I think it would be too easy to try to take the easy way out and make something "safe" and would hate to see TC taken down to that level. It would be like watching the X Games and saying someone deserved to win because he did the half pipe w/ minimal tricks perfectly, or watching skaters only do single jumps because they knew it would be perfect.

                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                    I guess if we were to use extreme examples, not any of which I can think off the top of my head, it might not be "fair" for some delicious super-simple dish to win over something almost-as-delicious that was much more complex, dependent upon technical prowess, vision, presentation, etc. But, in general, how good something tastes, it seems to me, has to be most important.

                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                      Definitely taste is important (unless you have Mizrahi on as a QF). I wonder if he had just done a BLT if that would have won.

                                                      I'm also wondering how Dale got that Target cheese to taste good--shredded cheese in packs can be pretty bad.

                                                2. re: chowser

                                                  "I think it's far harder to make good mussels than grilled cheese."
                                                  ______
                                                  This is true, though exaggerated - both are easy. It is also a profound mis-characterization of what Dale actually cooked and the time, portion, and equipment constraints around him cooking it.

                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                    The point is that with Dale's soup & grilled cheese and Antonia's mussels they understood the nature of the challenge and delivered what was asked for.
                                                    If the challenge had been for the chef's to stretch their imaginations and provide the judges with an amazing dining experience those dishes would not have won.
                                                    In addition the their food being good, I think they both deserve credit for understanding what they were being asked to do, who they were cooking for, and cooking appropriately.

                                                    1. re: tofuburrito

                                                      "I think they both deserve credit for understanding what they were being asked to do, who they were cooking for, and cooking appropriately."
                                                      ______
                                                      I said Antonia's dish was easy, not that it was bad. I like Antonia and think she's a good cook, and I've said so at other times on these threads. I'm not trying to take any credit away from her.

                                                      I just don't buy that the surprised reaction to her win is indicative of some sort of hypocrisy or chauvinism on the part of the contestants- her dish was surprisingly easy for an EC winner, in a way that Dale's this week and Carla's last week were not.

                                            2. re: JasmineG

                                              The big difference is the circumstances they're working under. If Antonia made mussels with irons then we'd all be amazed.

                                              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                Indeed!

                                              2. re: JasmineG

                                                Different circumstances. Others above and below also talk about it.

                                                1. re: JasmineG

                                                  "I also think that both comments are spot on -- I think that's exactly why Mike was so astonished (and I thought his outrage was pretty rude to the other two in the bottom)"
                                                  ----------
                                                  IMO that is doubtful.
                                                  It seems to me that Mike's reaction was "of the moment" and specifically directed to Angelo's leaving per se, as the "loss" and parting of his buddy and person he looked up to, and had little to do with the other two on the bottom.

                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                    Agree, Huiray, about Mike's reaction.

                                                2. re: lisavf

                                                  As do I! LOL

                                            3. re: LiveRock

                                              In what way?

                                            4. re: karenfinan

                                              Yeah, I don't think Mike intentionally hurt Angelo, but if Angelo had just focussed on his own needs and his own dish, maybe he wouldn't have made such a critical error. I knew he was done for when, after Mike said the dish needed salt, he added salt AND bacon. Right there I thought, that's it, he's going home because of salt.

                                              Good for Dale for the win, although I really thought Antonia was going to take it. It really did take a lot of balls to make 100 fried eggs and make them perfectly using that little griddle pan.

                                              1. re: lisavf

                                                I could have sworn Mike said the dish was too salty when Angelo asked him

                                                1. re: Chaptastick

                                                  I thought he said it "needed something." Angelo suggested salt, but I don't remember Mike's response, if any.

                                                  1. re: momjamin

                                                    He didn't respond - at least not in what we saw. Mike did say "it needed something", and didn't respond to Angelo's "Salt?" query. Angelo's voiceover noted that Mike said it needed something, so he added more salt and bacon.

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      At least, we don't think that Mike suggested salt. That could have been edited out...

                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                        From my memory, he certainly did say it needed salt, and then also added "it needs something"

                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                        So soon as I saw that I thought it was odd. Salt AND bacon? Why wouldn't you just add the bacon and retaste?

                                                    2. re: Chaptastick

                                                      I thought so too. Which is why I was amazed that Angelo acted surprised at JT when they first told him the dish was too salty. My impression was that he knew full well that it was too salty.

                                                      1. re: Chaptastick

                                                        First he said it needed something, so Angelo added salt AND bacon (and i too thought "uh-oh, that's not a good idea....") Then Mike told him it was too salty, and Angelo tried to repair by adding in bottled water.

                                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                                          Yes, I remember that as the sequence in what happened.

                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                            I'm surprised he didn't go with cream or milk instead of water.

                                                            1. re: Pylon

                                                              good thing he didn't - judges told him that, besides salty, the dish was too rich, didn't they?

                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                Yeah, I think so. But adding milk might have been a good answer. Besides, I'd rather produce a good soup that is "too rich" than one that is "too rich and too salty."

                                                                1. re: Pylon

                                                                  I finally watched this episode this evening. After realizing the dish was too salty, why didn't he just put in a raw potato?. He could remove it before serving, but any chef should know raw potatoes absorb salt.

                                                                  1. re: gaffk

                                                                    any chef should know raw potatoes absorb salt.
                                                                    ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                    old wives' tale - doesn't really work.

                                                                    1. re: gaffk

                                                                      I think a lot of the errors in this episode could be attributed to exhaustion -- between the time of night (morning) and the running around the acres of Target, I'm sure their brains weren't firing on all cylinders. In his right mind, Angelo probably knows any number of ways to have fixed his soup, and Carla is often much more capable of controlling her manic energy. FWIW.

                                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                                        I thought it was a myth that adding a potato was an effective way of dealing with something too salty.

                                                                        1. re: debbiel

                                                                          Adding more of anything that doesn't have salt in it to something that is too salty is an effective way of reducing the saltiness - but does it make it taste better?

                                                                          1. re: aching

                                                                            Adding a bunch of milk or half and half would have helped, but from the judge's descriptions I doubt it would have saved it.

                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                              Might not have saved the dish, but might have helped enough to save him.

                                                                        2. re: gaffk

                                                                          I thought it was too late to make any significant changes by then -- there was time to dump in water, sure, but not to cook more potato.

                                                                          1. re: piccola

                                                                            from the start though, it was a TGI fridays dish. let's be honest, he was doomed.

                                                                            1. re: AMFM

                                                                              He'd probably have been better off making baked potatoes.

                                                              2. re: lisavf

                                                                Mike said, "It needs something", NOT "It needs salt", as you want to ascribe to him.

                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                  Who knows what he said in toto, but that is certainly the way it was edited...

                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                    True.

                                                                  2. re: huiray

                                                                    I was just going from memory, not trying to ascribe anything negative about Mike. Adding too much salt was Angelo's own mistake.

                                                                    1. re: lisavf

                                                                      True, it was Sosa's own mistake. :-\

                                                                  3. re: lisavf

                                                                    " I knew he was done for when, after Mike said the dish needed salt, he added salt AND bacon. Right there I thought, that's it, he's going home because of salt."

                                                                    That's exactly what I said to my family while we were watching. At JT when they were talking about it being inedible, well, I knew that sealed his fate.

                                                                  4. re: karenfinan

                                                                    I think Mike partnering with Angelo was reminiscent of Mike attaching himself to the Voltaggios. However, I really thought their partnership would negatively affect Mike, not Angelo.

                                                                    I was kind of surprised by how few appliances were used in the challenge. Then again I did fast-forward through a lot of the Carla mania, so I might have missed a few things.

                                                                    Also, I was really bummed out by the lack of screen time given to Ming. Heck, the whole judging process seemed abbreviated. Hopefully there is an extended judge's table video so I can get my Ming Tsai fix.

                                                                    1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                      During the previews leading up to last night's episode, when they kept mentioning the "shocking" elimination, I knew, unfortunately, it wasn't going to be Isabella!

                                                                    2. re: karenfinan

                                                                      Isn't he the one who recommended more salt in Angelo's soup? Not to go off on a feminist tangent, but like momjamin I thought his jaw dropping astonishment when Angelo announced he'd been cut was a real dis to the 2 women.

                                                                      Linda, another outstanding recap! Thank you...

                                                                      1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                        no he just said it needed "something." angelo then went too far by adding salt AND bacon.

                                                                    3. Well, to everyone who said that Antonia "just made mussels" and Carla "just made chicken pot pie," how about Dale winning $25,000 by making just grilled cheese and tomato soup? That's all the proof you need to see that it's all about how the food tastes. Simple food, flawless presentation.

                                                                      btw, that made it a double win for Dale tonight - QF and EC. Looks like he's got his mojo back.

                                                                      49 Replies
                                                                      1. re: lisavf

                                                                        VERY good point, lisa! I had thought about that when even Dale said "So I win for making grilled cheese and tomato soup!" It ends up being: ITFS! (It's The Food, Stupid!) :-)

                                                                        1. re: lisavf

                                                                          Given the nature and constraints and demands of this challenge, soup and a sandwich was a lot more of an undertaking than mussels were in the Italian themed challenge two weeks ago. The chefs didn't react with surprise to Dale's win because there was nothing to be surprised about. (Likewise their lack of surprise at Carla's win last week - her dish was no small undertaking either).

                                                                          People acted surprised about Antonia's dish winning because it actually WAS really easy and simple for the time and space provided. Not the case over the last two weeks, despite appearances.

                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                            ITA.
                                                                            People need to stop conflating separate/different circumstances together and automatically call out 'sexism'.

                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                              The people in no way, shape, or form will do anything of the sort. They categorically dismiss any such notion of sexism and will continue to cling to the idea of superior technique! The inferior Target implements proved too big an obstacle for the god-like skills of the male contestants.

                                                                              In all seriousness, if Jen Carroll had made the dish there would be no argument from the other males, knowing that if they spoke out of turn she would grind them into sausage. I think it has everything to do with the fact that the female chefs that are left don't have aggressive personalities. That's fine, they talk softly and carry a big stick - winning much cash and many prizes along the way.

                                                                              1. re: ladybugthepug

                                                                                Big +1 to your second paragraph.

                                                                                This season has in some ways turned into a clash of type A personalities vs type B personalities, and many posters here are mistaking that for being Men vs Women, with sexism being the only plausible explanation for a little bit of smack talk (which has featured at least as prominently in every season so far)

                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                  I agree. I posted this on a previous thread, but I'll say it again - I think it's all about self-confidence. The chefs that are very self-confident (some to the point of arrogance) seem to get more respect from the other chefs, who seem to take them at their own estimation. The chefs who are less confident, like Carla, seem to be less respected by the other chefs. This dynamic occurs all the time in real life too!

                                                                              2. re: huiray

                                                                                No calling out of sexism here, just stating that "just mussels" and "just chicken pot pie" won, and now "just grilled cheese and tomato soup" won. It's all about theTASTE, not about the sex of who's cooking it. My point being, the best-tasting dishes are winning, no matter how "simple" they are.

                                                                                1. re: lisavf

                                                                                  It's really not all about taste. If it were, you could just put some top notch chocolate on a plate and win. Saying it's all about taste sounds well and good, but try judging a food competition - you are often presented with two or more very tasty offerings and must make your decision based on other factors. Do you really think Tom Colicchio of all people doesn't appreciate a little extra work and technique on the part of the chef-testants?

                                                                                  Antonia's mussels were VERY easy and simple compared both to what normally wins AND to the competitor's dishes that week - that's why the chefs were all so surprised when it won. The chicken pot pie and tomato soup with grilled cheese were in line with the constraints and difficulty of their respective challenges, which is why eyebrows were not raised among the chefs when they won. They were familiar dishes - that doesn't mean they were easy to pull off well under those circumstances.

                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                    Well, I don't want to open that whole bowl of mussels all over again. My point was, I wasn't speaking to sexism, I was speaking to the issue that some people have that such "simple" dishes are winning over more complex dishes. I think I've said it before, it seems to me that a simple dish that tastes exceptionally good will win out over a complex dish that doesn't taste as good. But if both taste really good, then the complexity (in terms of technique, presentation, difficulty of ingredients, etc.) will be the tipping point.

                                                                                    Richard's dish was more complex, yet he didn't win. Therefore, I HAVE to conclude that Dale's dish TASTED better. If it didn't, then what would be the justification for his win?

                                                                                    1. re: lisavf

                                                                                      "I think I've said it before, it seems to me that a simple dish that tastes exceptionally good will win out over a complex dish that doesn't taste as good. But if both taste really good, then the complexity (in terms of technique, presentation, difficulty of ingredients, etc.) will be the tipping point."
                                                                                      _______
                                                                                      I'd agree with this.

                                                                                      I'm just not so sure that Dale's dish this week or Carla's dish last week should be considered 'simple' within the context of the constraints of those challenges.

                                                                                      1. re: lisavf

                                                                                        I think the judges were impressed by his innovation - using the iron to grill the sandwiches - I think that earned him allot of cred.

                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                          I was a little disappointed to see how impressed the judges were with iron grilling. It seems old hat to me ever since watching Benny & Joon. And don't college kids do this all day?

                                                                                          1. re: soypower

                                                                                            LOL!
                                                                                            True!

                                                                                            Actually, in my day, the good old iron is what we used to attempt hair straightening!

                                                                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                              Me too! I got a bad perm in 6th grade, so my dear sister would iron my hair for me nearly every day before school. I had a lot of hair too! And that's why she's my favorite sister. :o)

                                                                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                my mom and her cousin were the "cool" moms who used to wear bell bottoms and false eyelashes and iron their hair straight!

                                                                                              2. re: soypower

                                                                                                "And don't college kids do this all day?"

                                                                                                Indeed, Dale said he was inspired by doing it in college.

                                                                                  2. re: lisavf

                                                                                    I can't see the show because I am in Mexico and even the Bravo videos are "not available in your location." so I am thrilled to be able to read Linda's recaps and all your comments.

                                                                                    I have a question. It was Target. Why did Dale use an iron instead of something like a George Foreman grill or some kind of panini press?

                                                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                                                      He used a large griddle and a steam iron. I think he used the iron for several reasons:

                                                                                      Steam. Panini press is dry heat. He wanted to make sure the sandwich was heated through but crispy on the outside. You can get that with a steam iron/griddle combo.

                                                                                      Familiarity. He mentioned he used an iron to make grilled cheese in college...back in his party days. *grin*

                                                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                                                        If you're staying at a hotel, the iron can also be used to heat up certain leftovers for your breakfast. Recently I heated up my ham and cheese mallorca using the hotel iron.

                                                                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                          Yes, and the next person who stays in your room and tries to press their clothes with the iron will thank you for messing it up!

                                                                                          1. re: Nettie

                                                                                            Ummmm... my mallorca was wrapped in tin foil. Did absolutely nothing to the iron.

                                                                                        2. re: chicgail

                                                                                          I thought that too. Worked for him, I guess, thought it seems like there would have been other items + butter that could have gotten the job done.

                                                                                          But hey, he won, so who are we to judge? :)

                                                                                          1. re: chicgail

                                                                                            I don't think the texture is the same w/ a panini press vs a regular "traditional" grilled cheese. The bread ends up too hard but the steam was obviously a nice touch. I'm surprised no one grabbed one of those fry daddies and fried something up.

                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                              Me too! I was kind of shocked that no one took the opportunity to do something fried, especially since we all know that Target has lots and lots of oil to use. It also seemed like that would be a more predictable heat source than the griddles and other stoves would be.

                                                                                              1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                I thought about that, but maybe it is a capacity issue. Those aren't very big, and it would be tough to effectively serve 100 without product either sitting and getting cold/greasy or making people wait for food. Still, I guess if no one else went for them, you could run 5 or 6 at a time...

                                                                                                1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                  Maybe, but wouldn't there have been the same problem with Antonia's eggs and Dale's sandwiches? Neither of those are easy to do in big batches (especially with the tools that they had), and yet they both managed to do it well.

                                                                                              2. re: chowser

                                                                                                I was also surprised that no one grabbed an electric pressure cooker. My Cuisinart PC is electric and really easy to use. They could have started with bones for a nice stock (just strip the meat off a T-Bone or some prime rib), then added veggies and protein for the "real" soup taste. That would have added layers of flavor to the soups and made them so much richer tasting.

                                                                                                1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                  Did they have them? I went to our Target last weekend to see what pressure cookers they had--none.

                                                                                                  1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                    Sorry, I've never been inside a Target and just assumed that they would have pressure cookers and Crock Pots. Both seem like fairly common food appliances, although I'll grant you that Crock Pots have a huge edge on PCs (no tales or, in my case, memories of exploding Crock Pots whereas many of us do have them re: PCs). Target is not yet in Hawaii, or at least I don't think it is, but has plans for a few stores here if they can win over the community opposition.

                                                                                                    Anyhow, I got over my PC fear (it took me almost a year, but I eventually did it) when I received one as a gift and I now think it's great. Sort of the opposite of a slow cooker, but with very similar results. They're great for soups and stews, and many of them are now able to brown meats or sweat veggies before you add the rest of your ingredients, clamp on the top, and bring it up to pressure. If you're using an electric one,.that also frees up your burners/griddle/hot plate for other dishes

                                                                                                    1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                      I am trying to get over my PC fear, which I realize is irrational. I'm mostly interested in having one for cooking beans.

                                                                                                      1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                        There are so many good things you can do with a PC! Don't be afraid of them. The newer version are safe and easy to work with.

                                                                                                        1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                          I do get that they're safe, intellectually. It's just that pesky irrational voice standing in my way. But I will force myself past that soon and cook next week's beans in one.

                                                                                                      2. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                        On-line information lists three Target stores in Hawaii, Honolulu, Kona, and Kapolei. The Oahu stores have been open for almost two years. I usd to work two blocks from Target headquarters and had a good friend that worked there for years.

                                                                                                        http://sites.target.com/site/en/spot/...

                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                          Well, thanks for the info. As the closest store is a several hour drive away that explains how I missed it and also why we get Target sales flyers in the Sunday paper. Right now there's a big battle gearing up over a Target in my hometown of Kailua on O'ahu (not to be confused with Kailua-Kona here on the Big Island).

                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                            By the way, do they sell pressure cookers?

                                                                                                            1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                              http://www.target.com/Pressure-Cooker...

                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                Yes they have them on target.com, but note they are almost all available as online items only. Almost certainly not available to the chefs in the EC.

                                                                                                                Now, which one should I get? Size? Brand? I am determined to get past my silly fear.

                                                                                                                1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                  As I said above, I love my Cuisinart electric pressure cooker and use it for beans frequently. It does so many more things than one of the old fashioned ones could do, and it's safe as can be. I think the new models of PCs have all sorts of safety features, with redundancies built in, making it all but impossible to blow up your kitchen or hurt yourself. You just need to read the instruction manual at least once and familiarize yourself with whatever type you get, then get to cooking.
                                                                                                                  Enjoy it and god luck (not that you'll need it).

                                                                                                                  1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                    How large is yours? I'm not sure if I should get the large volume ones or not.

                                                                                                                    1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                      Perhaps a separate thread started on the Cookware board would be appropriate, debbiel? http://chowhound.chow.com/boards/41

                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                        debbie - there are several pressure cooker discussions under Cookware - I just looked and there they were. Click on the link Linda provided, then type in "pressure cooker" in the subject box.

                                                                                                                        Sorry, Linda!

                                                                                                                        1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                          No problem. Figured I'd head it off at the pass before the Mods did. :-)

                                                                                                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                  Those pressure cookers are available on-line. While I haven't shopped for pressure cookers at Taeget, I've been through the small appliances aisle enough to know they don't all of those on the store shelves.

                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                    I've been through the small appliances aisle enough to know they don't all of those on the store shelves.
                                                                                                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                    well, the same could be said for pretty much any item - selection varies *wildly* from store to store and region to region.

                                                                                                                    i don't doubt that there were no pressure cookers at the store where they did the challenge, otherwise i'm sure someone would have been smart enough to snatch one up. but i assumed KG was asking for her own interest, in which case she'd probably buy it online considering her earlier statement that the closest location is several hours away from her.

                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                      Thanks for the thought, but I already have one and enjoy it no end. I got mine as a gift.

                                                                                                          2. re: debbiel

                                                                                                            sometimes it can depend on the target youre in. they were pretty obviously in a super-target. normally a much larger selection there

                                                                                                            1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                              Definitely depends. We were in a super target, too, but even among those offerings vary based on location.

                                                                                                              1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                It wasnt a SuperTarget. Target is remodeling existing stores to increase the groceries offered.

                                                                                                                http://kstp.com/news/stories/S1916722...

                                                                                                        2. re: chicgail

                                                                                                          i think it was more for the story than anything else. he says the idea came from being a poor college student, and so he used the iron to keep with the story of a college student cooking food in his dorm

                                                                                                      3. > Judging begins - cinnamon is used in one of their cookies - Padma said she and cinnamon grew up in the same area of the world. Elmo said "Really? TMI!"

                                                                                                        ~~~

                                                                                                        I heard Telly say, "I thought I tasted cardamom," and Padma said cardamom and cinnamon were related and from the same part of the world. Elmo's "TMI" was a great response to "Professor" Padma ;-)

                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                          Ack! Thanks! I missed Telly's comment. Would you mind if I changed my OP to reflect the correct comments, momjamin?

                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                            not at all!

                                                                                                            1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                              Thanks! (and done!)

                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                I'm always amazed at the details you do get in there -- thanks!

                                                                                                                1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                  Believe me, I'm writing notes frantically during the show, and then typing as fast as I can during commercials! I guess going to Katharine Gibbs back in the late 1970s and testing to 124wpm with only 2 errors in my typing class was good for something! LOL

                                                                                                        2. Next week, Paula Deen. Ugh. Really???

                                                                                                          18 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                            double-ugh. get ready for deep-fried butter.

                                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                              Wouldn't it be something if one of the challenges was to cook without butter? :-)

                                                                                                              1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                That would be really good - especially in front of Paula Deen, whom one might speculate would have a fainting spell at the very notion.

                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                  ...and she's probably going to say the dishes lacked a certain "buttery" quality.

                                                                                                                  I'm not overly excited about having her on the show but I think some of the chefs will get to see a different side of food from her. The focus this season seems to be on more home style approaches. Well, we'll definitely get that from PD.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Dee S

                                                                                                                    "Home style" fried foods. :-/ Yes, the QF next week is fried foods.

                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                      And Richard's making fried mayo. If black for Isaac Mizrahi worked for him, maybe mayo for Paula Deen will.

                                                                                                                      1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                        SERIOUSLY? Wait - don't answer that. If it's a spoiler, don't wanna know.

                                                                                                                        But I'm seriously hoping you were joking! Gah. The very thought...

                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                          Actually, I saw Richard do deep fried mayo for a burger he did on his Sci-fi channel show!
                                                                                                                          I thought it sounded delicious!!
                                                                                                                          And, BTW, he did get rave reviews from the diners specifically, on the deep fried mayo!

                                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                            Preview at Bravo's site does prove it out as to what he's making. Interesting.

                                                                                                                2. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                  The Quickfire with Deen is definitely a frying QF. Hopefully she'll not be in the Elimination (I cannot believe they'd have her *and* John Besh as judges!)

                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                    Curious, LW--why would John Besh make for any odder a combination than some other chef w/PD?

                                                                                                                    Fantastic recap, as usual.

                                                                                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                      He wouldn't. ANYONE paired with PD, unless it was one of the over-the-top Neelys, would be an odd combination.

                                                                                                                      But for now - let's forget about PD. We'll have to listen to the cackle and exaggerated accent for a few minutes next week. Let's not spoil the next 6 days. :-)

                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                        Oh, I thought that maybe there was some Besh-dissing that I was missing. ; )

                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                          dear lord, paula deen and the neelys on top chef at the same time would be the last time i watched the show.

                                                                                                                          however, i watched a episode of Best Dishes last week with Besh on it, and they seemed to get along quite well

                                                                                                                          1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                            "Best Dishes"? Is that the name of a show? Not "Best Thing I Ever Ate"?

                                                                                                                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                              Its a Paula Deen show.

                                                                                                                              "im wishin yall love and best dishes, from mah kitchen tew yers"

                                                                                                                              1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                my sister does a great imitation of PD extolling the virtues of a croque madame: "ah guess they call it that becuz it looks lak a buh-rest."

                                                                                                                  2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                    fat rendered in fat

                                                                                                                3. I was pretty shocked that Mike wasn't in the bottom. When he served his soup, he said that he used fresh coconut. When Padma was incredulous that he found fresh coconut at Target he admitted that it was canned. Then as the judges were tasting the soup, she sniffed: "I had a teaspoon--it was enough." His soup seemed as lacking in protein as Carla's, although he seemed to have a little more time to cook it.

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Nettie

                                                                                                                    The other judges didn't seem to agree with Padma about Mike's soup though. IRC Tom was scraping his bowl & said that enjoyed it (or something to that effect)

                                                                                                                    1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                      True, but I thought that the conversation about fresh/not fresh coconut milk was pretty hilarious.

                                                                                                                  2. First, I really, really, really want Dale's "cookies." Now. But I'm pms'ing.

                                                                                                                    Second, I didn't like the Target challenge. I'm sure they got paid some sweet bucks for it, but it seemed...gimick-y. At this point in the season, I just want them in situations that I'd like to be a taster in.

                                                                                                                    Other notes:
                                                                                                                    I want Dale's sandwich, and I'm a vegetarian.

                                                                                                                    Nice predictions Linda! Clearly the elves will have to be more deceptive next time.

                                                                                                                    Let the comments on blogs begin! "The judges are so inconsistent! Dale didn't get sent home for salty food last week but his week Angelo does! They changed the rules!!" No kids, there's too salty and then there's too salty. And, there's a comparison to whatever other crappy dishes were made.

                                                                                                                    I want Mike and Tiffany to go home next, in whatever order. And then I'll be okay with whoever wins.

                                                                                                                    ETA: I apologize for not making each point a separate post and thereby contribution to what I'm hoping will be a 1000 comment thread, with a minimum of 300 posts related to which of the world's cuisines embrace fennel.

                                                                                                                    36 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                      NO! We cannot have a crazy-long thread - last week's was getting WAY too unwieldy! LOL Which is why I called for a bit of restraint at the beginning of this week's thread, OK?

                                                                                                                      We're done with fennel.
                                                                                                                      We're done with mussels.
                                                                                                                      We're done with Italian. Or Italian/American. Or American-Italian. Or French.
                                                                                                                      We're done with how they can't prep fish/beef/whatever.

                                                                                                                      Focus, people, on the here and now! LOL

                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                        Or else you won't stop the car at Stuckey's so we can buy pecan log rolls and other crap? :)

                                                                                                                        ETA: If I get up in the morning and see a split from this thread to the Chains board based on my Stuckey's post, I'll either be worried about the fate of the world or absolutely thrilled.

                                                                                                                      2. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                        Re: Dale's cookies and one muppet's comment that you don't put potato chips in cookies. I present, Richard Blais' potato chip cookie:

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

                                                                                                                        1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                          Yum. Okay. It's settled. Next time I get around to baking cookies, I'm throwing in some potato chips.

                                                                                                                          1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                            Quite frankly, I *like* the idea of salty potato chips and chocolate together in cookies. :-)

                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                              I tried these cookies, and didn't like them as much as I expected to. But I'm not a huge fan of chocolate cookies in general (chocolate chip cookies and chocolate in many other forms -- yes; chocolate cookies, not so much). I didn't have the chicory extract that the recipe (optionally) calls for, though.

                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                A local place makes chocolate cupcakes, sticks potato chips in them, and drizzles them with caramel. It's a dangerous thing to know that potato chips taste amazing with chocolate and caramel!

                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                  Here's Dale's recipe: http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipe...

                                                                                                                                  Geez, it must make a lot of cookies with that much butter and ganache. And it is baked -- it's basically a shortbread, with the ground up pretzels and potato chips replacing most of the flour.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                    i have to say i was expecting those horrid looking pretzel drop cookies no bake things. these were lovely and sound delicious! i may have to try them.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                      Agreed - that would make a bucketload of cookies! But it's an interesting blend of ingredients - if you make them AMFM, let us know!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                        I plan to make a batch this weekend...

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                          Well, then please let us know! :-)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                            OK, halfway through making them now. I'll say this right now, the ganache recipe as listed is WAY off. 4 to 1 cream to chocolate ratio? I'm used to it being more 2 to 1 choc to liquid.

                                                                                                                                            I'm working with it, though. Maybe it will work out. But it doesn't look god so far.

                                                                                                                                            EDIT: I should clarify that the ratio is off for what I am used to, and what I expect based on having seen the episode. The cookie bit is very dry, so perhaps the idea is to brush it in an let it soak into the cookie and therefore hold it together. I'm giving that a shot. But I think it's safe to say from the pic that it's not the way they were produced for the show.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                              Interesting. I've heard others say that the recipes on the Bravo Top Chef website aren't always correct in their quantity proportions...this could be yet another one.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                How does anyone know what size bags of chips and pretzels to use? Without watching again, I mean?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                  Well, Richard's recipe says to use "2 cups crushed salted potato chips". Keep the rest for your Booourgers. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                    I used the 1lb bags of pretzels and the large bags of chips (12 oz maybe?). Seems to be about right.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                    This is one of them for sure. I've cooled it down to thicken it up, but it's not close. I've got them chilling, hoping that might help with a thin layer on top (rather than trying to spread it on.) My next move will be to make a new ganache using this stuff as a base, but way thicker, and spread it on. The cookie itself is crumbly, so it needs the topping to help hold it together.

                                                                                                                                                    All indications are that they are tasty, though.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                      Too bad Bravo's Recipe Finder site doesn't allow for comments on the recipes - you could at least throw that info up there.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                        So final verdict is that the ganache is far too thin. Using it to try to bind the cookie just made them soggy. I have them in the fridge, and hope that they firm up when cold. Looks like I'll be making guac for the party tonight instead. :(

                                                                                                                                                        (I have confirmation, though, that even soggy, they are terrible addictive.)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                          Well, glad they taste good - hopefully they firm up and you can fix the ganache. REALLY too bad that Bravo's putting out recipes that sometimes don't work. These are something that the ordinary home cook or baker *could* make - if the recipe was correct.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, pretty much a disaster. The batch is getting tossed, I fear.

                                                                                                                                                            If I was to make them again, I'd do a classic ganache (no more than 1 to 1 ratio for sure) for the topping. Plus, the recipe make a huge amount, filling a sheet pan (or 2 half sheet pans, which is what I used). I'd cut the whole thing in half.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                              glad you were the one to try it. ;) sorry though!

                                                                                                                                                              and - since we all know i heart dale - i'm so glad to hear they're good. they sound like food that would seriously need to be kept away from me when i'm pmsing. :)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for being our recipe tester!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                  Perhaps it was supposed to be "2 cups" (or 2 pints) instead of 2 quarts.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, likely 2 cups, which would have been 1 to 1. That would make a lot more sense, and would probably have made it a darn fine final product. I'm just not smart enough to think about those things until after I assemble. LOL

                                                                                                                                      2. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                        My Dear Gramma the True Baker of the World used to make a potato-chip cookie. It was like a cross between shortbread and a sugar cookie, and they were delicious; sweet, salty and flaky.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                          My mom too used to make potato chip cookies, similar to those that you described. She also complained that every time she made cookies they never got cooled and put into the cookie jar.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                            Same here. LOVED those cookies!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                              Same cookie is also excellent when you sub quick oats ground into flour for part of the AP flour; say 1/2 cup - and then add 1/4 c. each flaked coconut and salted roasted sunflower seeds.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                          Am I the only one who thought Dale's cookies were heavily inspired by the compost cookies at Momofuku Milk Bar?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                            No.
                                                                                                                                            That was pointed out elsewhere (on another forum) too. It was thought to be a contributing reason why his cookies were indeed so delicious.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                              They did look tasty. I like that he put the chocolate on top instead of mixing it in -- I bet it adds a nice snap to the cookies as well as more intense chocolate flavour.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                              I thought so too! I pointed out up-thread that Dale seems to be channeling David Chang quite a bit (in a good way).

                                                                                                                                              1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                Here's what Dale says on his blog: "This Quick Fire was totally 100% inspired by a great friend of mine, current pastry chef at Buddakan Vera Obias. She made a very composed dessert at dovetail which was inspired by kids getting off school hitting the bodega and grabbing potato chips, a candy bar, a soda and maybe some pretzels. I just wanted to get that all in one."

                                                                                                                                                http://www.daletalde.com/blog/2011/2/...

                                                                                                                                                I find his bodega reference - again - interesting. It was his inspiration for Restaurant Wars, and he's talking about doing a bodega pop-up . . .

                                                                                                                                                1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                  Well, in this case, it's more like channeling Christina Tosi. :)

                                                                                                                                                  Anyway, during the show, he seemed to think he was being such a maverick by adding salty snack foods to a sweet dish. But I feel like those cookies have been pretty publicized -- I mean, they were featured on Regis and Kelly, after all...

                                                                                                                                            3. "And WHAT? Fabio and Marcel are back next week? Noooooooo!"

                                                                                                                                              WHAT?!?!? I didn't watch the previews. Oh ick. I need another glass of wine.

                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                Best line from the preview, since it's already been mentioned that eliminated contestants show up, Dale: "We spent weeks getting rid of them. And now they're back. They're like bedbugs."

                                                                                                                                                1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                  OK, I missed that in the preview - TOO funny!

                                                                                                                                                  I had just turned around from my computer after hearing Fabio's name said, and then I saw Tiffany bitching about Marcel, who is standing next to her, and she's saying "Just cook MY food the way *I* want it cooked!"

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                    Hilarious!!

                                                                                                                                                2. some random thoughts:
                                                                                                                                                  - i have a confession to make - i thought the Sesame Street characters were pretty funny.
                                                                                                                                                  - it was interesting to hear Richard's comment in the beginning that he wished Fabio had come to him for help with the burger - i know there were quite a few comments last week about how people don't like his attitude this season, but he's always willing to help the other chefs and i think that says a lot.
                                                                                                                                                  - speaking of Blais, i hope his performance in tonight's EC has shown his detractors that he can, in fact, cook delicious food without channeling Mr. Wizard.
                                                                                                                                                  - last week's preview said it would be a shocking elimination...so i assumed either Blais or Angelo was going home tonight. as soon as Angelo said he was just going to add more salt & bacon to his soup and "hope it tastes okay" i knew he was toast.
                                                                                                                                                  - happy to see Dale get the double win - he's definitely got his mojo back.
                                                                                                                                                  - Carla continues to get under my skin - watching her wander around the store muttering about linens when everyone else was focused on *cooking* their food made me want to scream.
                                                                                                                                                  - *loved* Bourdain asking if they've ever given Dale a urine test :)
                                                                                                                                                  - i got a bad feeling from next week's preview that Fabio is going to screw things up for Blais.

                                                                                                                                                  thanks for a great recap once again, LW!

                                                                                                                                                  46 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                    You know, ghg, we're pretty much in agreement on everything except Carla. I guess I just find her quirkiness a bit more endearing.

                                                                                                                                                    Also loved the question from Bourdain about Dale! I think we need a TC t-shirt that says "I make stoner food!".

                                                                                                                                                    I couldn't help but think "karma" when it came to Angelo. Remember all those times in Season 6 when he "helped" people who wound up going home? Then he taps Mike for input on his soup, and Angelo winds up going home. Now, before anyone starts blasting me, I don't believe Angelo ever sabotaged anyone on purpose. I just found it ironic. And, for the record, Mike did say, "it needs something." Why on earth Angelo added both bacon AND salt, I don't know.

                                                                                                                                                    I'm on the fence about the crew having to cook in the wee hours of the morning. I know it's one of those things that can happen in the restaurant world, but it sure took its toll on them.

                                                                                                                                                    A big thanks again to Linda for the recap!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: phee

                                                                                                                                                      -the times he "helped" people who wound up going home-

                                                                                                                                                      thats happened a few times in this season as well!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: phee

                                                                                                                                                        That's definitely not the first time AB's referenced stoner food in relation to Dale's cooking.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                        I'm glad I'm not the only one that is annoyed by Carla. The chicken without a head routine is really getting old.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                                          Yes...if only someone had been pointing that out since the start of the season... LOL

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                          This week, I have to agree re: Carla. It was driving me NUTS that she was focusing more on her table set-up than the damn food. Yeah, I know you're a caterer, Carla. And yeah, I know that presentation factors a lot in catering.

                                                                                                                                                          But this is a COOKING COMPETITION, girlfriend! Get with the program! Gah.

                                                                                                                                                          And ghg? You are to bite your tongue re: Fabio screwing it up for Blais. I will believe ONLY that the Elves are doing their sneaky editing yet again to get viewers worried that a fave chef is going home. Yes. That is what they are doing. Not gonna happen. Nope. :::::shaking my head NO!:::::::

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                            I sympathized with Carla, because it seemed to me from the look on her face and in here eyes that she was just befuddled and didn't know what to do, so she started with her fallback comfort zone of "pretty table presentation" and got stuck there. It was 1:00 in the morning, and let me tell you, I'm Carla's age, and it gets harder and harder to function competently at those wee morning hours. Also, the size of the store just seemed to overwhelm her. She needed a slap in the face and a double espresso to kick-start her brain.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                            This Bourdain remark re: Carla is amusing:

                                                                                                                                                            I felt sadness and enormous sympathy during the EC action, watching Carla wander through that enormous Target's empty aisles, 3 a.m., a headless chicken blinking under the cruel, fluorescent lights.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                              How does a headless chicken blink? What kind of scary-ass chickens does he have, anyway?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                Metaphorically?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                  its actually totally possible for a disembodied head to blink up to a few minutes later. none of the connections between the brain and the eyes are interrupted by the process. as to whether or not chickens actually have eyelids, im not totally sure.

                                                                                                                                                                  however, im gunna propose we end this line of replies before it gets inappropriate for a food website lol

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                    But the head wasn't blinking, the headless chicken was blinking. That's just weird.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                      LMAO, Pylon!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                I just want to repeat, because no one seems to understand my point:

                                                                                                                                                                I never said Richard couldn't cook delicious food without "channeling Mr. Wizard"

                                                                                                                                                                I said that there was no objective evidence that his food was *better than everyone else's* as the hype around him has led us to believe.

                                                                                                                                                                I agree with *him* that the reason the other chefs are intimidated by him is that they *all* can cook delicious food (or they all believe they can cook delicious food, or they wouldn't be there), but they think he can do something *in addition* that they can't do. And I think *all other things being equal* (three chefs cooked delicious food) the one who also used a fancy technique is going to be more impressive both to the other chefs and the judges.

                                                                                                                                                                In this episode he cooked delicious food. So did Antonia. So did Dale. Dale won. So why is it that Richard is considered "the one to beat"?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                  "So why is it that Richard is considered "the one to beat"?"
                                                                                                                                                                  ________
                                                                                                                                                                  Obviously, not everyone does. But the big thing is his competitors seem to.
                                                                                                                                                                  Why? I think his competitors see him as knowing more about cooking than they do. Not only about molecular techniques either, necessarily - I present as evidence Richard helping Antonia with her beef tongue. In several challenges, he has shown himself to be an effective leader in ways that his best competition win/loss-wise (Carla, Dale, Angelo) have not. That has an effect on his competitors as well.

                                                                                                                                                                  His competitors seem to respect him. That, to an extent, translates through the screen and filters out to us in viewerland.

                                                                                                                                                                  In other words, you're looking for objective reason that Richard is considered one to beat (and there is some evidence in his win/loss record over two seasons), but objective evidence is only a part of the reason, and probably a small one.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                    Okay. You've sold me on that one. That is, that they admire his cooking skills even beyond the molecular techniques.

                                                                                                                                                                    But you're still making the same argument: they are "intimidated" because they believe he can do things they cannot do, not because the resulting dishes are consistently superior to the other chefs. Plus, they think his food is more interesting, which is not necessarily the same as better.

                                                                                                                                                                    Again, I'm not arguing that Richard isn't in the top tier of contestants. My point is that he isn't sitting above them in his own tier unless you're judging him on his technique rather than the resulting dishes. As competitors they are understandably impressed by his superior techniques. As a judge or a diner, though, I only care about the results.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                      "not because the resulting dishes are consistently superior to the other chefs."
                                                                                                                                                                      _____
                                                                                                                                                                      The simple explanation for that is that his dishes are NOT consistently superior to the other chefs.

                                                                                                                                                                      That said, over two seasons his record is on par with the strongest of his competitors - 6 EC wins, many top 3 performances, a handful of QF wins. Given that, I would expect him to do well in the finale - the objective evidence leaves us at more or less a dead heat, so we start looking at the intangibles. Also, some of us think he probably has some dishes saved up just for the finale. Why do I think that (or why wouldn't other chefs do the same)? I don't know exactly. Just a hunch.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                        The other question is how often has he ended up on the bottom, when he wasn't part of a team? Okay, frozen cookie challenge was bad but other than that ( and, even then the food was good, it was just a bad concept because it wasn't a cookie). Anyone know? I don't remember it happening in the EC for either of his seasons. He's performed consistently.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

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

                                                                                                                                                                          TC4 - 1x in the bottom group. Team Earth was considered bottom, but he wasn't eliminated. As you said - team challenge.

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

                                                                                                                                                                          TC-AS - 1x in the bottom group - Ep 6. Yet again, a team with Fabio and Marcel.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks--I knew you would know where to go for it! I don't remember all the details of all the shows but I have general impressions and my impression has been that Richard usually impresses the judges with his dishes. Maybe not the top always often I expect him there from the comments, whether he makes it or not. But, I don't remember his ever making terrible food. Even this season, he was called out for making good fish (though with inappropriate foam for a beach setting), even if the team was on the bottom.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                            Was it the frozen "not cookie" actually good? I don't remember them saying that (for that matter, didn't they say all of them were good?).

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                              Elmo said "Yum!" or something to that effect. Cookie Monster just called it out for not being a cookie.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                When he mentioned zucchini, I instantly thought of my mom's chocolate zucchini cake, turned into a cookie. Mmmmm....

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                  I need to make a zucchini cookie. That does sound good. I just saw part of the episode again. What Elmo said was, "Elmo can taste the zucchini. It's very good!"

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                    I made a chocolate chip zucchini cookie last summer (when I was in need of zucchini recipes) from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: http://www.animalvegetablemiracle.com... Pretty good!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks--I've printed it for the summer (when I hope I have an abundance of zucchini!).

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                        My cousin swore of zucchini as a mortal enemy. Then my mom produced her choc zuc cake. He ate 3 pieces before she told him. He spit out the last bite and wouldn't speak to her for a week.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Needless to say, she started making it more after that. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                          My mother once made zucchini crisp, as in apple or rhubarb crisp. My brother had two pieces before she told him. He was actually annoyed with her. My attitude was if it tastes good, eat it in moderation.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                            Nothing to do with Top Chef at this point, but when has that ever stopped us... Anyway, I went to a zucchini festival many years ago, where zucchini was clearly the theme of the day -- zucchini breads, zucchini ice cream, zucchini lookalike contests...you changed your money for "Zukes" and "Gadzukes" to barter at each booth... At one point I passed a family happily chowing on chocolate zucchini cake...until the young teenage daughter noticed the flecks of green, and protested, "You gave me *vegetables*!?!!"

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                              Since we can't judge his food (at least until they get that Taste-O-Vision up and running) we can only go by 1) what we SEE, which is generally impressive on it's own, let alone against the others, and 2) what those who do get to taste his food and work alongside him think, which has been overwhelmingly positive.

                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                            " So why is it that Richard is considered "the one to beat"?"

                                                                                                                                                                            It must be that they've tasted his food.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                              Ruth, my comment about Richard was in no way directed at you personally; in fact, it had nothing to do with you. many people have remarked during the last few weeks that Blais *always* uses liquid nitro and relies on MG tricks - i was simply pointing out that i hope this challenge illustrated his ability to produce good food without his "secret weapons."

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                              I agree w/ your whole synopsis. I thought it was nice that Blais said that but then thought there will be people who will slam him for his arrogance that he could help everyone. And, we laughed at home that Target needs to carry liquid nitrogen. I think they do carry dry ice, though. And, I hope you're wrong about Fabio and Blais.

                                                                                                                                                                              I'm happy for Dale for winning and think he's a serious contender. But I also think he has the same feeling that he only made grilled cheese and soup. That just doesn't compare to the other dishes, no matter how good he can make plastic cheese taste. Or, maybe that was the challenge--he made plastic cheese taste good.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                Wasn't there also ribeye steak on his sandwich? I think that makes it more than "only grilled cheese".

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: donovt

                                                                                                                                                                                  There was. Also, the flavor of his soup was described as spicy and smoky (I think), which made it seem to me like it wasn't just your average tomato soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                    There was bacon and chipotle in there.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                      I forgot about the soup description. I was thinking he won on the strength of the sandwich alone.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, there was rib eye. I said "only" because that's what Dale said--he won for making grilled cheese and tomato soup. They said the soup was smokey w/ the addition of bacon. Overall, since Carla was taken to task last week for her chicken pot pie and simple foods, this dish was far easier. I think it's far harder to make chicken pot pie from scratch than a ribeye grilled cheese sandwich and soup w/ bacon.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                          I think it was far easier if it was in a kitchen. As compared to cooking in a store, I think it fit the bill. And when a few other chefs made soup as well, I think it is perfectly reasonable that this dish would win. I personally don't agree with the whole simple dish thing either regarding carlas pot pie or antonias mussels. I think elevated simple food deserves the same respect as complicated dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                          I think I had a problem with the editing in this episode because you didn't see a lot of the work that went into Dale's dish (only the ironing of the grilled cheese was shown). I was actually under the impression from watching the show that he added some spices to canned soup, which is not the case if you look at his recipe: http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipe....

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm kinda with you, ghg, on the Carla issue. I really like her, but she completely missed the point of the challenge. Instead of approaching it like a chef, she approached it like a caterer, wasting far to much time on the non-food aspects (linenes, tables, & etc.) and not nearly enough time on the food. When you are serving a 100 people at Target, while they are on a break in the middle of the night, you are not going for the Martha Stewart angle. You need to feed 'em.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                        I would guess that it wasn't so much that she missed the point; it was that she completely lost focus and got distracted. I recognized her behavior immediately because my husband does the same exact thing when he's tired. We call it "entering the Vortex". One time, on a long car trip, he wandered around a minimart at a gas station for about 30 minutes in this state before I finally went in and pulled him out.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                          It's a good thing your husband is married to you and not Carla! Although the thought of them doing exhausted "hootie hoos" to each other in a minimart is kinda funny to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                        I thought it was interesting that someone (Mike?) made a comment during QF about "when will he cook something without liquid nitrogen" or something to that effect. This following the ramen dish where he was dinged, ironically, for not going all Blais on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                          And yet it was Antonia who pointed out that if Mike doesn't do lamb and Mediterranean spices as he did last week, he's lost. :-) People stick with what they're used to - Fabio - pasta; Mike - lamb and feta and Mediterranean spices; Richard - MG. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                            Fair enough, though I have to admit I don't associate Mike with lamb as strongly. Probably because Richard has done some really cook MG stuff, and Mike has always just been meh.

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. The Muppets bothered me a lot less than I thought they would. Who the heck is 'Telly'? I would have much rather seen Oscar the Grouch or the Count. 

                                                                                                                                                                                        I was not bothered at all by the Target tie-in. I liked it better than some of the previous challenges. Cooking with small electric appliances and the food available at the revamped Target store was definitely challenging. That was not a SuperTarget with a large grocery area. 

                                                                                                                                                                                        Why was Carla so focused on linens? Were they judged at all on their tables? She really dropped the ball and is lucky Angelo was heavy on the salt. They showed an exchange between Mike and Angelo talking about Angelo over salting his soup. 

                                                                                                                                                                                        I think Mike and Tiffany are the weakest of the remaining chefs although Carla could go home at any time if she is scatterbrained in the next EC like she was tonight. 

                                                                                                                                                                                        Do we need to hear Bourdain use the stoner reference yet again? I hope he can come up with some new lines. He's like Seinfeld making observations about airline peanuts. 

                                                                                                                                                                                        I missed seeing the winner of the QF and the beginning of the EC on the first time around tonight. There was too much excitement in our kitchen. A damn mouse had the guts to run across the kitchen floor with the lights on. I guess those weren't chocolate sprinkles that fell off a cookie that I found on the counter. Glad I didn't eat them. 

                                                                                                                                                                                        43 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Telly is the Woody Allen of Sesame Street.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                            Woody Allen? That's just creepy. I hope Telly doesn't have any step-daughters.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Not in that way, but more like the way Telly's always so pessimistic. Personally, I thought there was something creepy about Mr. Rogers.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                                Mr. Rogers liked you just the way you are.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Nah, just the neurotic, paranoid, pessimistic personality traits ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                              i really doubt she was THAT obsessed over linens. i think the editing made it look like that far more than it actually happened. while im at the store you could show me thinking that i need to get plastic baggies three times while im there in 20 minutes and it would look like i am goin crazy over it too.

                                                                                                                                                                                              and i would still forget the stinkin baggies!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                                                Re: Carla's obsession over her tablescape - she didn't start cooking until 1 hour into the 3 hour challenge, and shopped for her food LAST.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Bad move on her part.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                  And I think she realized too late.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I mentioned linens because she did. My point was that she was wandering the store while others were cooking. She also realized her soup needed a protein, but she didn't go get one. Her soup was a sauce for a protein according to Ming Tsai.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    That "needs protein" comment really bothered me. There's no reason for a dish to need protein. I think what they meant was that it needed "umami" but they didn't want to use the word or they aren't familiar with the concept (doubtful).

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Presumably -- unlike some other challenges -- there was no limitation on the ingredients so her shopping last didn't hurt her. She should have run over and grabbed a couple of packages of bacon!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I took it to mean that the soup lacked body.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Me too. Some soups are substantial and flavorful enough to stand on their own and some aren't. Also, to be fair, Carla herself said that she was initially planning on using some salmon in the soup. The judges just picked up that the soup wasn't meant to be a stand-alone element.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        What she needed most of all was more time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Exactly, it needed protein because it was more like a sauce, not a course. Carla said the same thing but didn't add it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The package of bacon would have been a good idea. I think the "needs protein" comment meant that there wasn't enough development of flavor which Carla said she knew she didn't have--time to develop more flavor or a way to introduce more, eg. meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Right. But in terms of flavor they specifically said it needed "protein" -- not that it needed more of the other things that flavor is derived from (spices, aromatic vegetables, salt, etc.). Thus, they were referring to a specific *type* of flavor, and that flavor is generally referred to these days as "umami."

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I just watched JTs. Tom told Carla that because she didn't have time to develop the flavors and that she made too much, she could have used a protein for flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Maybe not all soups need protein...ok, that's not a maybe. Not all soups need protein. But hers clearly needed something, and protein was probably an easy thing to call out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                              poor choice of words on the judges' part - i took it to mean they thought the soup needed more substance, not necessarily protein. they may have said that, but had she tossed some potatoes or rice in there, it might have been a different story. i think they were saying "there's just no 'there' there."

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's what I thought, too. It was a suggestion of what she might have done differently. Hey, maybe she could have mixed her bland soup w/ Angelo's overly salted one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They were particularly talking about the flavor being "two dimensional" -- rice or potatoes wouldn't fix that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Depends on what the 2 dimensions were. Maybe it was just missing the potato dimension.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ooh, i missed the 2-D comment. gotta watch again - thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ironically, during her season I remember Carla cooking something like pea risotto and adding shrimp to it at the last minute. Under questioning she said that she felt like she had to add a protein to her risotto, but she was dinged because the judges thought it was superfluous. Afterward she berated herself for not having the confidence to serve a vegetarian dish. She does seem to have more confidence in vegetarian food this season, like her ground nut soup from the tennis challenge, but maybe her judgement was lacking in this case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Nettie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't think it's confidence in a vegtarian dish as much as time. If she had spent more time cooking the dish, it might have developed enough flavor to stand on its own. As other have said, there are plenty of meat free soups that don't need any help.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, that's what I just said above--Tom said she didn't spend the time to develop flavors, she had made too much which affected it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I guess her soup was lacking something, they thought protein would have helped it. Possibly if Carla had been cooking instead of wandering the store looking for tablecloths she would have made a better soup, additional protein or not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I understand the soup lacked 'something' and the judges suggested protein. I suppose if Carla was cooking her soup and developing and correcting it's flavors instead of wandering the aisles looking for tablecloths she might not have been on the bottom of this EC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          she knew it too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yea I think they probably focused in on her table linen search for the sake of the story. But I did feel like wanted to slap her. CARLA GO GET YOUR FOOD!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I wonder how much, if any, of that sequence was shown out of order. Does anyone think she spent an hour looking for linen?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          No. (If I count as "anyone").

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            you do in my book, sister!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i think it wasa half hour, because weren't they calling out time - "Hour and a half to go, guys!" - when she finally started cooking?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Didn't they have three hours to cook? hat would mean she wasted an hour and a half.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I wasn't watching particularly closely Wednesday so this might have been clear. But is there any chance she had shopped, started prep, then went off to find linens? Then 1.5 hours could have been called while we saw her doing it without her having actually blown that much time on the shopping. Still silly to worry about linens if it wasn't part of the judging, but less so if it was less than 1.5 hours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  These things are highly edited. She could have been looking for tablecloths at one point, and that shot could have been inserted anywhere -- and stripped out and inserted in pieces multiple times. Clearly she spent too much time wandering the store, but the job of the editors is to create a feeling of jeopardy for the cheftestants, so they use what they have and cut stuff together in whatever way gives them the desired effect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah, but I doubt she spent that whole time looking for a tablecloth, you know?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    She did have to get everything else -- cookware, utensils, etc., as well as linen and food. The "shopping" took a good chunk of time from everyone's 3 hours, but she was the last one home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i thought it was 2 but i could be wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    How could she POSSIBLY have spent and hour and a half looking for linens?? i mean, it doesn't take that long to get around even one of those Target Superstores - it's not like she had to look in automotive, or electronics, or clothing, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I really love Bourdain but I have to say enough with the stoner references as well. Tony, we get it. You love getting stoned and eating "stoner food" at 3 AM. Blais is my favorite at this point. I think he's the best chef left and the most generous. He bailed out Antonia with the tongue and will help anyone. He's the one I would most like to work with/for. Dale is good but I think i'd have trouble working with him. I think Antonia is really good and I like her although I would have liked her more if she had given credit to Blais on the tongue (maybe it got edited out?). Carla reminds me of what a coach once said about the great wide receiver Chris Carter "all he does is catch touchdowns", well all Carla does (except this week) is win EC's and still (I believe) gets picked last for restaurant wars. She the sleeper although, going by her record, she shouldn't be a sleeper at all. Mike can be fun but just hasn't impressed. Tiffany has also managed to get by by not being the worst. So... my picks as of now: Blais, Carla, Antonia and Dale.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh yeah, Angelo's salt vs. Dale's from last week. Dale's was too salty but Angelo's was inedible. I don't think Mike helped with his "it needs something" comment. When Angelo asked "salt?" Mike should have said "no more salt". Angelo is so much better than to get booted for too much salt. His palate wasn't just tired, it was completly asleep.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Except in this case, I think it really was stoner food -- didn't Dale say it was inspired by what he'd make after "partying"? (and Bourdain isn't the only one who has made stoner comments).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LOL, John - I thought the same thing about Telly. Never heard of him.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Since I don't have kids, I barely know Elmo either.... I was missing Oscar, count - or even Bert and Ernie!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              John, we must be around the same age!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also, LMAO about the mouse shenanigans!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mr. Snuffleupagus would have stolen the entire show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. I was pretty sure Angelo was going home early in the episode when he said something to the effect of, "I hope the judges can UNDERSTAND my concept." Always the kiss of death.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And yay, Dale! Both of his dishes were brilliant. He has kind of a David Chang thing going, don't you think?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. i haven't read all the posts yet, but can we now stop ragging on people for making simple dishes - DALE WON $25,000 FOR A GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH! Why? Because it apparently tasted GOOD!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                very emotional episode! i teared up a couple times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                and i actually liked the muppets - never thought i'd say that. especially that "TMI" moment with Padma. how the hell did they taste the cookies?? ( :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I felt bad for Angelo. He's a little tweaky but i always thought he was sincere. and a talented chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Carla and Tiffany got really lucky this time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And Linda, a big HUGE THANKS, again, for your summary - it just gets better and better!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I also got teary with this episode as well!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was happy for Dale though, he's really grown on me this season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: eviemichael

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sorry, I am usually the biggest mush - and will cry at the drop of a hat (I, most famously broke into tears when someone won the big prize on the $20,000. Pyramid!), but I must have missed any emotion... do you mean when Angelo was leaving?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I guess it was a bit sad, really. Ok. Yeah, he was sweet when he left.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think I have you beat, I've cried during a Staples commercial, multiple times during ESPN's NFL pre game show and almost every episode of Friday Night Lights. I too didn't cry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This will be my last word on the subject - but a dish containing one or two components done well and perfectly (e.g. grilled cheese) is as difficult to execute as a multi-component, multi-method, multi-fusion dish. Certainly it will take much less time, but the simplicity is what creates the hardship; there is nothing whatsoever to hide behind.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Consider the perfect fried (or poached, or basted, or shirred...) egg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      > Consider the perfect fried (or poached, or basted, or shirred...) egg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Or pressed? Shirring and basting are also sewing terms...with Dale using an iron, maybe Carla wasn't so far off in her search for linens ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "a dish containing one or two components done well and perfectly (e.g. grilled cheese) is as difficult to execute as a multi-component, multi-method, multi-fusion dish. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't think that's true. Not even close.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, a 2 ingredient dish will be less forgiving. Yes, it can be difficult. I but expect that if you have 2 ingredients to prepare simply and I have 20 with multiple methods/techniques, and we both have the same amount of time, I'd be working a lot harder. That's not to discount a simple dish, it's just a matter of workload.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree--a grilled cheese sandwich doesn't compare to, say Julia Child's boeuf bourgignon. In fact, I can't think of many things that are quicker to throw together and get decent results than a grilled cheese sandwich.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Thanks Linda!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. It looked like Tiffany used Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning. That stuff requires a really light hand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I couldn't tell for sure what Angelo added to his soup but it sounded like Mike said it was too thick and looked like Angelo might have added boxed stock to thin it. Could have exacerbated the saltiness problem. Someone in the thread mentioned bottled water, but I couldn't really tell what he added.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chimayo Joe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It was water. Fiji water, as prominently displayed throughout the episode. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chimayo Joe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I use Tony Chachere's to de-ice my road~

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. "You?????? You??????" I thought that Mike's incredulity was insulting. He couldn't believe that his bromance was over, and that Angelo had lost to two girls!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It had to be Angelo because his food was inedible. No matter what the fault, inedible food will send you home every time. The judges seem to be unable to eat more than a single spoonful of Angelo's soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Dale's winning is analogous with some of the other wins this season: plain old good tasting food trumps food with more technique. I did think that Antonia was going to pull out a win, but Dale did it again and came home with 30 grand last night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This was a bad challenge for Carla, who clearly was distracted by all the possibilities at the store. At the end of the day, it didn't matter if her station was decorated or not since the diners were not standing around eating at the stations, but rather eating at tables decorated by Thomas O'Brien. It was a nearly critical error that almost sent her home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            30 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "I thought that Mike's incredulity was insulting. He couldn't believe that his bromance was over, and that Angelo had lost to two girls!"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              --------
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Uhh, I thought his reaction really was with regards to his losing his buddy. I think the concern with the loss to two girls is a bit of a 'projection', if you will, at this point, from all the previous sh*t that has gone down in these threads and is a bit of a "jumping to conclusions" here. If we subsequently hear him say that Sosa should not have lost to 'the two girls' in a TH or something then that would clarify the analysis.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have to disagree. To me, his incredulity spoke volumes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah, I don't think it was so much that he lost to "two girls" (come on, folks, they're women) but that he really thought that Angelo's dish was not the worst, probably because he only tasted it before Angelo added the extra salt (and bacon), and it likely wasn't so bad at that point. So he probably had no idea how much Angelo had oversalted it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The way I see it is that saying "You?? You??" is much different than saying, "Oh, no," which would indicate that he was sorry that Angelo was going home. The "You??? You???," particularly the way he said it, was insulting to the others in the bottom because Mike clearly thought that no matter how bad Angelo's food might have been, he couldn't believe that it was Angelo as opposed to Carla or Tiffany that was going home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The use of "two girls" was intentional because I believe that is how Mike sees the female cheftestants -- as girls, and no way as good as him or any of the other males.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Which is why I kinda want Mike to go next. With three "inferior" women still in the competition. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Lol, and gotta agree. I'm I remembering incorrectly, or did Mike get a couple of "looks" from some of the other chefs for his "You??? You???" If I'm not mistaken, I think he got shot a couple of looks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        BTW, thanks for always starting this off with such great recaps!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Didn't see the looks from other chefs - will have to rewatch via On Demand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And you're all welcome. Every Wednesday evening, I think "Oh I wish I could just WATCH the show!" but then I think "Yeah, baloney. You like writing these recaps too!" :-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Well, I -- and many others -- are glad. What makes them so enjoyable is that they are fun to read but snark-free. I like reading the seriouseats one, but it is so snarky that sometimes I just click away. Yours is a very well done recap.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you, roxlet. A bit of snark can creep in on occasion, but I do try and just make it a straight recap.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              .
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              .
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              .
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              .
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              .
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              .
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And then I snark like all get-out in my subsequent posts in the thread. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Love it, Linda!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Snarky posts are fine, but snark in the recap doesn't really allow the reader to make his own assessments in quite the same way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Awww.....I'm glad to hear you get SOMETHING out of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Don't you love how the software sees the three w's and thinks "URL!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I saw a look from Tiffany after Mike was acting incredulous--it made it look like she was noticing that Mike was dissing her and Carla. However, it could have been edited to look that way, so I don't know how much stock I would put in that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's how I felt about him on his season, but maybe -- just maybe, it had nothing to do with gender. Maybe he just had this buddy-thing going with Angelo because he thought he was a great chef (the way he did with the V-bros) and was shocked when Angelo was dinged.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              5. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, I completely agree with you -- Mike's "You???" was completely insulting to the other two chefs on the bottom (how could it NOT be?), and that's exactly how Mike thinks of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't know if it was because Angelo lost to two girls, but it was definitely about losing to two contestants (or at least one other one) Mike deems inferior. His tone suggested that Angelo was absolutely the last of those three he would have expected to get sent home, for whatever reason. Perhaps he thought him helping Angelo meant Angelo was in a better position than the others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I agree. I think Mike thought pretty highly of Angelo when it came to cooking ability.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'd have to agree with this interpretation. I also hope it reflected a speck of guilt about how much he seemd to be depending on Angelo's help getting stuff, which might have made it harder for Angelo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was also thinking about that. I know I would feel really bad if a good friend got eliminated after I helped, or tried to help, him/her with the offending dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    FWIW, it should be noted that Isabella wasn't the only one who was taken aback. T. Derry herself was surprised, fully expecting herself to be the one to be sent home; while Lofaso also expressed astonishment when Sosa walked back into the stew room and indicated that he was leaving. That makes two out of three of the women who did not expect Sosa to be leaving, from the show as edited.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Edited to correct C. Hall to T. Derry. I did have Derry in mind, not Hall. Oops. (Thanks, gastrotect)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's true, but I think there is a difference between being surprised at a JT outcome and being utterly bewildered in the way Mike seemed to be. I would also not, to further strengthen your point, that Tiffany reacted in a way that suggested she was expecting to go. Her Beaumont speech would certainly indicate she was expecting to leave.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "You?????? You??????" I thought that Mike's incredulity was insulting. He couldn't believe that his bromance was over, and that Angelo had lost to two girls!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ++++++

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  To me his reaction was more "Who's going to help me now?" Indeed, I thought his reaction was all about Mike, not about Angelo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have to agree. I was thinking at the time, which of the other two did you think should have gone home instead of him? And how must they feel hearing that? It's not the first time people have reacted that way, and it does seem, if not insulting, at least incredibly thoughtless. Those people that you thought were no good are standing right there!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Parrotgal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, it is thoughtless, but that seems to be Mike's MO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Parrotgal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, it was thoughtless but I think he had the same reaction when Jen was sent packing, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But then again, almost everyone had that reaction when Jen was eliminated so early, though they hadn't cooked with her through a whole season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tiffany seemed a bit shocked when Angelo was told to PYKAG (she said, "Oh my god"), but I don't know if it was that she was shocked because she didn't think Angelo would be eliminated, or shocked because she was assuming it was her who would be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I thought Tiffany assumed she'd be the one to go, hence her Beaumont speech. She hasn't done well this competition and always seems to just avoid being told to PYKAG.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i thought carla's "beaumont cried again" was hilarious after leaving judges table. because you could tell it wasn't mean spirited, just teasing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I honestly can't imagine Carla saying anything mean spirited so I'm biased as that goes but I completely agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. FYI, the bonus video at bravotv.com of Richard impersonating Cookie Monster has some great lines, "Uh, Mike. Me no like ouzo and feta cheese in cookie."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Bourdain's blog is also hysterical on the Muppet front.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ROFL! I'll have to check out that bonus video! I did read Bourdain's blog last night before going to sleep - short, but sweet - and very to the point. And funny, as usual.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've kind of grown tired of Bourdain's schtick, but he can still make me laugh like describing Angelo having first seen the Muppets: "He looked like someone had just taken a dump on his lap."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Enjoyed the show despite it being a infomercial for target. I'm a fan of Carla's but they way that she was portrayed made her seem annoyingly stupid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not looking forward to having Paula Deen on next week. (perhaps this is TC's jump the shark moment.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. may i just state again that i heart dale. and i did in his first season too. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          50 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Likewise. Admit it, you miss angry Dale. I know I do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i do still like the spunk and snark he has in the confessionals. lol.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The snark is there, but I still miss him punching lockers. I loved his desire to win. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  he still has it! he just doesn't have to be a 2 year old about it anymore. i love the new and improved Dale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I do, too, this year. I only disliked him briefly, when he dissed the servers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      +1. the comments about not cursing out the sesame street characters were awesome. and his food looks great. even when he fails - like the pasta round, i bet in 2 days since the idea was good, that dish would rock. i would go to his or richard's or carla's restaurants anyday. i like antonia but nothing she does particularly interests me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't know, I thought her mussels sounded good. (And no, I'm not trying to bring up old news. They really did look good.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I would like it only if I were served it in a French restaurant. If I were in an Italian place, I'd criticize it. (Sorry, couldn't resist).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          +1, AMFM - ITA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Come on, I can't be the only one that liked angry Dale. Anyone else?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm not saying I liked angry Dale better than Dale 2.0, btw. Far more impressed with the latest firmware upgrade. But still, he made for good watching...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I liked angry Dale too, to be honest. He was entertaining.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And IMO, he wasn't really a jerk so much as he was a hot-head. He only really clashed with people like Spike and Lisa who provoked anger in their competitors (intentionally and not). Richard, Stephanie and the like seemed to get along fine with him. I also remember him saying he'd never forgive himself when he thought he screwed up Stephanie's finale meal - at times, he came off as genuinely thoughtful and very loyal person even then.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            He's probably still a bit of a hot head (see his interactions with the waiters in Resto Wars). He's just grown up and realized he's on TV.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for coming with me, cowboy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                He also fought with that chef in Top Chef Masters - whatshisname? The Italian guy who had a restaurant in Napa, and then a mail order business for fancy foods.... Michael Chiarello. Got in his face, yelling "what you gonna do about it??" when Chiarello called him "young man", and Chiarello had to control his own temper and not lash back at him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Strangely, I don't remember that. Would sure like to see it again, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    HAHA...yeah, I forgot about that. Good times...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, I'm going have to side with Dale on that one. They may be younger chefs than the masters, but they too deserve respect. Chiarillo chose his souse chefs based on who knew his name and knew how to pronounce it. What kind of ego is that? The exchange was likely more harmful to Dale's reputation than Chiarillo's and it probably happened before his anger management and Dale could have handled it better, but he was right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe he chose them on who was drunk :-). (Souse chef? I think you meant sous chef, but it made me laugh!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's also "Chiarello". Maybe he would also have been unimpressed if they couldn't spell his name. :-) ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Didn't he also make them try out for his sous chef positions by cutting up carrots and other stuff to his specification and satisfaction?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I was trying to inject a little humor on the spelling of Napa chef. The e at the end of sous was all on me. Chiarillo made them dice carrots and other brunoise so he could judge their knife skills. I imagine he has the idea that if they can do that they are a good chef. I think he wasted valuable time in that exercise. He should have spoken to them and asked questions with respect and he would have received the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "I was trying to inject a little humor on the spelling of Napa chef"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ------
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh, OK. I just thought it was a FACT that his name was spelled "Chiarello". ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yep, but humor also factors in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So your stickin' for facts gets a pass when YOU want to be funny. Oh, OK. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yep. Sarcasm and facts are not always mutually exclusive, but I guess they are in this case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Actually, I thought it was more damaging to Chiarello's reputation, at least to me. He's older, he's more mature, he's more established, he should act like it, instead of acting like a bully and an egomaniac. I had justifiably higher expectations for his behavior than for Dale's, and I thought Dale had every right to be pissed at the way Chiarello spoke to him (although I can't condone the way he acted out on it).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Agree, Ruth. Chiarello was a major dink in the way he treated the potential sous chefs, IMO. He was nothing but demeaning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Agreed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Totally. Not only patronizing and demeaning and supercilious, but an embarrasment to the concept of being a good leader, which (if MC didn't know it) is what a chef is supposed to be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I live in northern CA and that is the reputation he has, for being very difficult to work for-

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: karenfinan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I live here too - a friend of mine worked his line and lasted a grand total of two months before he'd had enough of the 'tude.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    An interesting aside: when he staged for the kitchen, NOBODY asked him to brunoise any carrots.......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I totally agree. I also agree with cowboyardee and Pylon that angry Dale could be amusing at times. At least he didn't physically assault any persons, just things. If he had gone after someone, though, my money would have been on Chiarello. He was just acting like a jerk!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Apparently, after reading other, more recent posts, Chiarello is difficult to work with in his restaurant. I know business owners like this. I knew a guy that went to a job interview to be a general manager for an owner of a business. The interview was with the owner, his wife and their daughter and lasted 6 hours. The guy was offered the job, needed a job, but turned it down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    He stayed 6 hours and *then* turned it down?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      He wasn't offered the job on the spot. He decided that if that's how grueling the job interview was, he thought the job itself would be even more grueling. I know the family. He made the correct decision.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree. I would've left before 6 hours had elapsed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      thats not an interview, thats a board certification! haha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      after my next interview like that ill be legally licensed to practice optometry in the state of florida!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ooh, that was a good moment. i tried to find it on YouTube, but no luck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The clip for your viewing pleasure:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.hulu.com/watch/89511/top-c...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the clip. I missed that episode - I remember being surprised to hear that Anita Lo lost.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      From the other comments on this thread and Dale's reaction, it seems like I'm still missing a bit of context. I'd have no trouble believing that Chiarello acted like a pompous ass and Dale blew up after a while - until this season with Marcel, Dale didn't suffer jerkwads very gracefully.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Here's a link for you:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.facebook.com/TopChefMaster...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Top Chef Masters was, from Season 1, punctuated by the respect the chefs have for each other. Dale's outburst was simple, outrageous disrespect for a senior, more experienced chef. I can see why he ended up having to take anger management classes...