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Top Chef All-Stars - Ep. #12 - 03/02/11 (Spoilers)

At the bar after the last challenge, Richard says he wanted to go to the end with Dale - he's bummed. Tiffany notes that this upcoming challenge is where she got eliminated - and she *can't* go home at the same challenge this time around! Foretelling? Then Mike says he doesn't want to celebrate *too* soon - another foretelling?

Back at the house, Antonia and Carla both predict that Padma will walk through the house door - and she does! She tells them to get their chef coats on and meet her on the roof. Antonia says "Great - she's going to have us base jump off the room and scramble an egg before we hit the ground!" :-)

Nope - no base jumping - they're going to take a ferry over to Ellis Island where they'll meet up with her and the guest judge. But surprise! They find a note on the boat and their Quickfire is to assemble a dish from anything on the boat (mostly snack food!) - and they can cook from "horn to horn", however long that might be/ And when it first sounds, they scramble!

Antonia - puts together a grilled cheese
Richard - a hot dog version of a bahn mi
Carla - an orange salad
Mike - a bread soup with pork rinds
Tiffany - first she made nachos, then she made popcorn with dried fruit

The 2nd horn sounds, and they're done - just barely! Padma and Dan Barber, guest judge, come onto the boat. He's all about the natural foods - but they used all processed foods! LOL

He seemed to like dishes from Richard, Antonia, and Carla. And Carla wins the Quickfire! Richard's ticked off. I seriously thought Antonia's dish might win it. It looked good!

Padma says this will be the last Elimination Challenge in NYC. Using their family history, they are to create a dish that represents their heritage - and Bravo hired a genealogist to research their families to provide them some inspiration! Who brings out their genealogy books? Family members! Carla's and Richard's spouses are there, and the moms of Antonia, Mike and Tiffany show up.

Richard's wife is 5 months pregnant, so it makes it very emotional challenge for him. Meat seems to be his focus, as well as Worcestershire sauce (his family is from there and he loves it!)

Tiffany's going to go with something with okra in it, even though Tom doesn't like it. She says "But he hasn't tried mine yet!"

Carla's great-great-grandfather was one of the last slaves freed in TN. She's going to stick with Southern food.

Mike's background is Italian and Irish - he sticks with Italian and says maybe gnocchi and gravy. His mom says "Oh, I hope nice and light!" LOL

Antonia realizes that the genealogist has discovered that she and MIke be related! Mike says "that's why we fight so much!" Antonia tells her mother about Mike always farting, and her Mom says "That's on your father's side, not mine!" Not sure what Antonia was thinking of going with.

They go shopping at WF, and then they're back at the house, where Mike and Antonia hug it out. They compare genealogy notes, and Mike is shown in his book in PINK SPANDEX in dance school when he was about 6 years old - TOO funny!

They wake up to a DVD on the table...and go outside to see a Toyota, where they pop in the DVD to find out whoever wins tonight gets the Toyota Highlander Hybrid AND a spot in the finals.

They head in the a.m. to Giando on the Water and cook like crazy. The guests arrive - their family members are joining the judges!

First up is Mike with Grandma's Gnocchi with Pork Ragu and Whipped Burrata - everyone likes it, even John Barber, who said Mike's gnocchi were nice and light. Mike's mom said he did better than Grandma! LOL

Next is Antonia, who made Braised Veal with Risotto, Fava Beans, and Broccoli Rabe - also VERY well liked! (And to my eye, it looked SERIOUSLY good!)

Third is Tiffany - she's got that okra! She made Braised Short Ribs with Mustard Greens (cooked down with pig feet), Okra and Oxtail Marmalade. Tom actually *likes* the okra - that's a first!

In a quick pause between courses, Antonia's mother asks Tom Colicchio if they've ever had a Final 5 - he laughs and shakes his head "no".

Richard is up next - he's going with meat and potatoes from his Irish heritage - Braised Short Ribs, Potatoes, Fried Bone Marrow, and Pickled Glasswort (a.k.a. "sea beans" but Richard likes the word glasswort better). Tom says this dish is "alright." "Not just all right - it's ALL RIGHT!" meaning the ingredients are great together.

When asked, Carla's husband says they met on Match.com and got married about 8 months later! Finally, it's Carla's turn - she made Braised Pork Shoulder, Fried Grits, and Cheddar Biscuits. And everyone loved it as well - Tom said he couldn't imagine how hard Judge's Table was going to be tonight and Gail Simmons agreed.

The cheftestants all get to say goodbye to their loved ones, and then they're back in the Stew Room. Tiffany tells them that her Mom said *everyone's* food was good. Then Padma comes in and asks to see ALL of them!

Turns out that Carla used liquid nitrogen to get the grits the way she wanted - Gail said "You did WHAT?" and Carla said "I *know!" with a big grin and a bit of a squeal. :-)

Richard's dish "all made sense" per Tom. A story was told by his dish...which seems to be what Richard wanted to do. I think Tom was just blown away by Richard's entire dish.

Antonia's risotto gets rave reviews - Tom said her confidence came through with this dish. Risotto has had trouble being served on TC, and Antonia's version was nothing like what Tom says is often served in restaurants. Hers was spot on.

Tiffany was *thrilled* that Tom loved her okra - he was very pleased. It was "good." Hmmmm....could that be the defining word as compared to everyone else's dish?

Mike's gnocchi were highly praised as was the simple "gravy". John Barber said the flavor was fulfilling without being heavy. Mike gets emotional saying he hadn't cooked Italian food after his grandmother died since she was the one who taught him to cook. Gail tells him that his mother told the table that his grandmother's was the best gnocchi she'd ever had.....until she tasted Mike's.

So - HOW are they going to pick someone to go home? We're back at JT...They are effusive over all 5 dishes, and while Tom says he's going to steal Richard's sea bean idea, Padma said she wanted "more green" from Richard.

Dan Barber gets to announce the winner - and it's ANTONIA! She's been a dark horse for a lot of people here on CH, and you all were right! She gets the Toyota Highlander, and moves on to the final round - taking place in the Bahamas.

Tom says Mike also moves on to the final! And Richard is looking crestfallen - it CANNOT be him! Please!

And we're back at JT - And Padma says "Richard.....Pack Your Knives......You're GOING to the Bahamas! OK, Padma, that's just MEAN! He seriously looked like he was going to lose it right there! He heads back into the Stew Room and says "I'm safe" and Antonia and Mike are thrilled.

So it's down to Tiffany and Carla! Was the foretelling about Tiffany I noted at the beginning be correct? Or will they both be told they're BOTH going to the Bahamas to duke it out there?

We're back for the last time - Tom says it's a tough decision, and looks to Padma. Yup - they're BOTH going to the Bahamas! Antonia's mom's question to Tom was prophetic! They couldn't say goodbye to either of them - it was too tough, Tom said!

They're all crazy in the Stew Room when they find out!

Previews - they're going to go head-to-head against the chef who WON their season - so we see Stephanie Izard, Mike Voltaggio, Hosea Rosenberg (::::gag::::) and Kevin Sbraga. SO glad to see both Mike Voltaggio and Stephanie Izard back!

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  1. hahaha i've never seen someone look as close to throwing up on this show as Richard looked as she told him to PYKA...

    go to the bahamas

    41 Replies
    1. re: mattstolz

      No kidding -- he said what we were all thinking, "Why would you do that to me -- you know I'm crazy already!"

      We know enough about Richard to know how he was interpreting comments like "you told a great story" vs "really soulful". As a southerner of English and Irish descent (among other north-Euro), married to a Jersey guy, I know I'm gonna pick southern soul food or Italian-American over stereotypical English/Irish. Great job overcoming that obstacle!

      1. re: momjamin

        I thought the Italian-Americans had a distinct advantage in cooking from their roots and Richard was at a disadvantage, and my ethnic background is English/Irish.

        And yeah, that was really mean to tell him to pack his knives!

        1. re: Nettie

          In my little family room I screamed when they said to Richard "PYKA" to the point where my family had to point out that he really wasn't going home. I'm much too invested in this silly show!

        2. re: momjamin

          I don't keep up with this or anything too much about TCAllStars.
          Last nights show had the family members on.
          Last season that Tiffany was on, she was engaged to be married, no?
          Where is the ring or the husband?
          Anyone know?

          1. re: iL Divo

            you're right; and they even showed pictures of the wedding at the reunion show.

            1. re: iL Divo

              Was thinking the same thing. Why her mother, not her new husband for a family member.

              1. re: Cherveny

                It was a show about her family line, it made more sense for her mom to be there. Naybe her husband couldn't get away from work. Who knows? The only spouses there were Richad's and Carla's, maybe Carla's mom was unavailable.

                1. re: John E.

                  But also noticed she didn't have a ring on. Now that said, many don't wear rings when cooking but no mention of her husband (I was paying attention to her words).
                  Also she doesn't have the same demeanor to me as the first show, almost like celebrity got to her. I'm sure I'm wrong it's just an observation.
                  My husband and I did note that we both thought Carla's husband seemed a true genuine gem. Very nice man.
                  Also loved the input of the "cousin" information, nice touch to the complexity of the show, another layer. Antonia and Mike now appear happy to hug. With the information about their possible kinship, it changed them both in a + way.

                  1. re: iL Divo

                    I believe somebody (an audience member she was cooking for -- perhaps the beach fish challenge?) asked her whether she got married on another episode of TC 8 and she said yes. It seemed that Season 7 contestants only had 2 weeks between Season 7 and 8. So Tiffany was certainly a very busy lady!

                    And considering that there was only two weeks between tapings, I doubt that she had a chance to let celebrity get to her. It's probably editing.

                    And, yes, I did love Carla's husband! Amazing that they only got married 8 months after meeting! Guess when you know you've met your match, you know.

                    1. re: Miss Needle

                      Angelo only had 2 weeks because he was in the finale in Singapore. The finale is usually shot several months after the other episodes--generally while the other episodes were airing. So Tiffany had a few months break, I believe.

                      1. re: gaffk

                        D'oh! You are correct. So there was plenty of time for her to get married.

                      2. re: Miss Needle

                        yes about the internet match websites. I know several who have met their match online at a dating site of some sort. very interesting.
                        one thing I also know due to a sister who lies, is you must tell the truth on there to have a match. apparently they both said just what they were looking for. I say good for them :)

                        1. re: iL Divo

                          i meant to bring that up - it was so nice to hear Carla's husband tell their story! but did you catch that he said the reason he found her was because he put in some "crazy parameters?" sometimes you've gotta step outside your comfort zone :)

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Or maybe just the opposite: they were crazy because he was so specific about what he wanted that he thought they wouldn't yield any matches. Did you ever see "The Wedding Banquet"? This reminds me of the part where the young man tries to get his matchmaking parents off his back by saying something like he wants a woman who speaks five languages, has two advanced degrees and sings opera? And they find her?

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              i did see it - wow, that was a long time ago! i *think* her husband said he did that just to see what kind of results would pop up...whatever his reason, it's a good thing he did it that way or he probably wouldn't have found her. they're a cute couple.

                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              yea, he said he put in wacky things like 5'10 or taller.
                              he got that for sure.
                              I think I read somewhere she was a former model.
                              I like her, she seems very down home genuine.

                              I called my hubby at work this morning and his friend answered his phone.
                              This guy was married for 25 years, no kids, to the love of his life and they got divorced 2 years ago. He's been a mess ever since.
                              So this morning when he answered hubby's phone, he seemed happy.
                              He told me he met a great gal 'online' and they've been together for 2 months.
                              He's in love partially due to internet dating sites.
                              Good for all who find their hearts desires via cyberworld.

                    2. re: Cherveny

                      i think the only reason any spouses were there were in cases where mothers couldn't be. as John E said, it makes more sense to have a blood relative/parent there when the subject is genealogy...but as we learned in the episode, Richard's mom passed away last year so that wasn't an option. perhaps Carla's mom couldn't make the trip for physical reasons...AFAIK she's still alive.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        per Carla's husband Matthew, Carla's mother is very much alive, and he was surprised they didn't pick her rather him for the show. I agree he seems like a gem.

                        1. re: karenfinan

                          Maybe they wanted to give the audience a glimpse of the "hoo" to Carla's "hootie"?

                          1. re: karenfinan

                            Yes! A Gem!

                            And a HUGE perk for whatever company matched them.Don't remember which company.

                            I also did some survey on Bravo and said I'd never seen a car ad! Duh!

                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                              it was match.com - because having been on recently i just laughed and thought, well, it works for someone... lol

                            2. re: karenfinan

                              @karen, i missed that, thanks. maybe they thought her husband would be a better judge at the meal...or perhaps Tom just wanted a little more testosterone to balance all the estrogen :)

                              1. re: karenfinan

                                I'm wondering if they decided to use Carla's husband so that Blais wouldn't feel left out being that he is the only one without a mother -- especially since her death was so recent.

                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                  If they did that, they were being very sensitive.

                                  1. re: roxlet

                                    I hope they were being sensitive. It's pretty stressful to just lose a parent and then leave your family for a month and a half to compete on this show. If I was Richard and saw all of my other contestants bonding with their mothers, I'd probably feel really really bad. When I lost my mother, somebody told me that you never get over it -- you just get used to it.

                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                      That's so true. After almost 30 years, I still miss my mother terribly, but I don't cry over the loss any more! She was only 48 when she died, younger then than I am now. I think of her especially in the kitchen when I make foods that she used to make herself and that I had to learn, and when I make the foods that we used to make together. As I said, I still miss her.

                                  2. re: Miss Needle

                                    That's a really wonderful thought- and I hope that's what happened. I can't even imagine going through seeing everyone else with their mother's so soon after. And yes, as you say below, you don't ever get over it.

                        2. re: mattstolz

                          I thought it was kind of mean to do that. Would have been funnier if they did it to Mike!

                          1. re: jeanmarieok

                            I thought it was more than kind of mean, it was positively sadistic. I was ready to have a heart attack just watching on TV, I can imagine poor Richard! Although I do have to half agree about doing it to Mike - so maybe not totally sadistic. The food tonight looked delicious! I'm really happy that all 5 are going (since they couldn't get rid of Mike) and also VERY happy that Antonia got the car! Finally a win with a REAL prize to it. :-)

                            1. re: KailuaGirl

                              oh yeah, i forgot that Antonia finally won a "real" prize! good for her!

                            2. re: jeanmarieok

                              it woulda just been disappointing if they did it to mike!

                              woulda been so excited that mike was goin home then nooooooo!

                              1. re: jeanmarieok

                                Mean because Richard is such a nervous Nelly, but if I recall correctly, they have done that several times in the past for this last home-base episode, so it's not unprecedented. Doesn't mean that's what Richard was thinking, though.

                                1. re: lisavf

                                  I do not doubt the elves relished this moment to torture the already tortured, worrying machine known as Blais. This was one of my favorite episodes. All the food looked great. Everyone really came through and rose to the challenge. No choking, no chicken heads, though it looks like next week we'll see more kitchen melt downs.

                                  jb

                                  1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                    I'm still laughing at "tortured worrying machine."

                              2. re: mattstolz

                                Bourdain thought he was about to throw up, too -- great line from his blog: "Would have served the judges right had he blown chunks over Judges' Table. It was like a fake execution. And I believe that's a contravention of the Geneva Convention."

                                1. re: mattstolz

                                  *i* almost threw up when Padma did that! so not cool.

                                  1. re: mattstolz

                                    I thought he deserved it after the snide remarks he made about Carla's quickfire win. Yeah, she just sliced some oranges. He just put hot dogs on a bun. The fact that he used a gimmicky cooking method he just happened to have in his bag doesn't make dish any better.

                                    I actually thought Carla had it in the bag when I saw who the judge was, since as she noted, he's all about fresh, unprocessed food and she was the only one who made something with fresh ingredients.

                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                      I agree 100%! My DH looked at me and said, "What? Didn't he just make a hot dog?"

                                      1. re: roxlet

                                        I agree as well. and I thought he came across as a pompous ass, bragging about his whatever gadget he had with him. Very arrogant.
                                        Not liking him as much this time around for sure.

                                        1. re: roxlet

                                          He didn't "just make a hot dog." He also cut it up and gave it a fancy name. :)

                                      2. re: mattstolz

                                        I think it took him TOTALLY by surprise. He looked shocked and ready for the blow but I do agree that it was a silly yet nasty trick, gad, his pulse could have gone irregular :(((

                                      3. Looks like they all did well and they will all move on.

                                        16 Replies
                                        1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                          I guess Stephanie will have double duty taking on Richard and Antonia.

                                          1. re: tofuburrito

                                            Good point - UNLESS......there is one challenge BEFORE the actual final cookoff that eliminates ONE of them? Yikes. Did we see ALL five in the previews as cooking against the person who won in their season?

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              The previews made it impossible to tell.

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                wouldnt be the first time theyve done something like that would it?

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  But that would mean eliminating either Blais or Antonia!!!

                                                  I have them in my final 2 :-(

                                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                                    That's my ideal final 2, too.

                                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                                      I know - that's why I don't want a "cook-off" between those two either! Me not like!

                                                      1. re: C. Hamster

                                                        It's got to come down to them. And much as I like Antonia I'll be rooting for Richard, who I think is ultimately the most talented contestant.

                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                        i watched the previews again to try and figure it out - the Elves were *very* good about including shots of all five throughout...and the last scene is the five of them lined up in their black chef coats at JT, *but* there's no indication of whether that's after the FINAL challenge...and knowing how the Elves like to play with our heads, i'm guessing it may not be. the intro to the scenes said it was a look at the upcoming challengeS...plural.

                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                          my husband is very good about always calling the winner as they're about to say who won then who's kicked off.
                                                          this weeks show, he said, you watch, they'll kick off 1 or 2 of them in the quickfire round if there even is one. we'll see

                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                            In the past they've always eliminated at least one "finalist" in a preliminary round:

                                                            Season 1 they eliminated Dave
                                                            Season 2 they eliminated Sam and Elia (after that they expanded the final challenge from two to three)
                                                            Season 3 they eliminated Brian
                                                            Season 4 they eliminated Antonia
                                                            Season 5 they eliminated Fabio
                                                            Season 6 they eliminated Jen
                                                            Season 7 they eliminated Kelly.

                                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                                          meant to watch for that but forgot.
                                                          often times my husband and I have seen by the previews of shows such as this ie. "chopped" they show the previews and you see who's left, in other words, who won the very show you're watching that is only half way through :((

                                                        3. re: tofuburrito

                                                          Imagine if Dale had made it to the finals - it could have been Stephanie versus Richard, Dale, and Antonia!

                                                          1. re: tofuburrito

                                                            yea, I'm not sure how that's gonna work. but it'll be interesting to view for sure.
                                                            can't wait for the Allstar Masters or whatever it's gonna be called. There is one coming up right?

                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                              not long to wait -it starts only a week or two after TCAS is finished! (and it's Top Chef Masters.)

                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                Chopped All Stars also starts *this Sunday* and takes us right through to the first week in April...so it fills in the gap between the TC finale and TCM :)

                                                        4. BTW, where did everyone go tonight? LOL I'm used to seeing about 20-30 posts before I head off to bed...I guess I'll just have to read more tomorrow morning with my breakfast. :-)

                                                          21 Replies
                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            Blog-reading -- they have 3 up, faster than last week!

                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                              and I am amazed that there aren't already twenty or more comments on the new kissing cousins! (Mike and Antonia)...all that hugging and kissing between the two of them, and Mike saying he hoped to go against his 'cousin' in the finals...well, it made me feel like Richard looked just before he was told he was safe....

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                It just FINISHED in California. I was ready to "click" as soon as soon as it want off

                                                                1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                  No I knew the West Coasties wouldn't be on while I was online - I was just expecting more from the East Coasties last night. :-)

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    Long day, tired after a "supersized" episode - but I'm here this morning!

                                                                    1. re: lisavf

                                                                      Ditto on the "long day, tired after the supersized ep", lisa. :-)

                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                      I'll be honest then...as much as I liked the cooking aspects, and learning about families, there was not enough "drama" to gossip and bicker about, everybody got shown in a positive light...there is nothing to debate endlesslly!

                                                                      I am ashamed to admit, I was a little bit of a let down when nobody got sent home...it was sort of anticlimatic

                                                                      (On way to confessional to say Hail Mary's)

                                                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                        I liked the respite from the dramatic Bickersons this episode. Add a few more Our Father's as well, Shrinkrap. ;-)

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          I'm not really into the played up drama so it was refreshing to get a break in this last episode.

                                                                        2. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                          Yes, half a day after the fact and still no long, tangential threads on fennel and butter or the little wolverine. No wonder I fell asleep mid-episode. (But give me credit, I was actually watching the original airing.)

                                                                          I vote a full rosary for you shrink.

                                                                          1. re: gaffk

                                                                            You may have spoken too soon. Down thread there seems to be a dispute over Sicilian immigrants and whether a good number of them are related.

                                                                            1. re: dmjordan

                                                                              i love it. it's like we're all living in a tenement and you can hear the downstairs neighbors fighting.

                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                Love the analogy.

                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                  LOL! That's perfect, mariacarmen!

                                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                        Like Shrinkwrap I got on almost right after it ended. I was a little surprised that there weren't more posts up already, but it looks like it's heating up. :-) Hawaii is 2 hours later than California (at least now, it'll change to 3 hours later) so everyone else is already asleep by the time I get to see it.. Of course, when I get up everyone else has already been busy for hours. :-)

                                                                        1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                          It's always 5 o'clock somewhere, KailuaGirl. :-)

                                                                          1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                            If you have Dish Network HD you can watch it on east coast time. I'm in CA and watch at 7:00 PST.

                                                                            1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                              It's on Cox cable HD at 7PM also.

                                                                              1. re: araknd

                                                                                and Time Warner HD.

                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                  I'm on Time Warner, too, but just one step above basic cable. Finances are a little tight these days. :-(

                                                                                  1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                    i got a good deal on the bundle, otherwise i probably wouldn't have sprung for it. as much as i love watching programs in HD, the channel selection still sucks so you're not missing much :) i'm debating changing my "tier" so i can get the Cooking Channel.

                                                                        2. what a great idea for a final. I too will be very glad to see Stephanie and Michael V. I loved this episode. I thought the quickfire was fine, but I really loved the elimination challenge. The geneology, the family being there, I thought it was terrific tv.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: karenfinan

                                                                            You posted my thought exactly - this was truly good TV. Good emotional moments without mania or too many tears.

                                                                            When Richard was quizzing his wife on what the critiques of his dish, and Jazmin basically said, "You're safe," I got a knot in my stomach. I felt sure that was the kiss of death for Richard. Whew!

                                                                          2. Incredible episode, so pumped for next episode with sbraga voltaggio and izard
                                                                            http://teenchefteddy.blogspot.com/

                                                                            31 Replies
                                                                            1. re: tldmatrix

                                                                              What, tldmatrix, no Hosea love? Heh Heh

                                                                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                only from Leah. lol

                                                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                  Ewww. You know, I can't watch any of those Leah/Hosea episodes.

                                                                                  1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                    I liked Hosea when he consoled one of the girls who was crying - remember that?

                                                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                      I don't remember that--I think I have blocked Hosea from my memory. I think that may have been TC's most flawed season\winner.

                                                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                                                        Yes, Hosea and Leah made me sick, and his win was a "really, TC?" moment for me. My next least favorite winner was Ilan, but I didn't care much for Marcel, either.

                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                          Yeah, Ilan in a season with Marcel and Sam was a travesty. Not a big fan of Marcel or Sam, but I think they were far and away better than Hosea in skills.

                                                                                      2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                        Sorry maria - you are wrong = it was actually Stefan who consoled Carla as she cried at JT.

                                                                                        Hosea never consoled anyone

                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                          Well...there was Leah.;-)

                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                            I think we're all trying to block that memory out.

                                                                                          2. re: NellyNel

                                                                                            Oh, you're right! Stefan was the one i was thinking of that everyone is dreading - but it's HOSEA that's coming on tomorrow night, right? I can't remember anything about Hosea and what people didn't like about him. i can't even remember what he looked like!

                                                                                            edit: ok, just looked him up. remember him now. don't remember him being particularly jerky, tho... not saying he wasn't, just don't remember. all i do remember is the hanky panky with leah.

                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                              Yeah, more icky than jerky.

                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                I've never understood the hate for Hosea either. Maybe I missed something but all I ever saw was their silly little puppy love, not enough to instill all the ughs and disgust. Sure he wasn't the best chef ever but let it go.

                                                                                                1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                  I didnt mind the Leah/Hosea thing either - (we all tend to act a bit silly when we fall in love)
                                                                                                  but what I didnt like about him was his constant "I just want to be Stefan" attitude - it drove me crazy!!!
                                                                                                  And the fact that Stefan was so much better, but Hosea kept sneaking through.

                                                                                                  1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                    He had a serious girlfriend/she had a serious boyfriend. It all soon ended after the show aired.

                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                      Do you mean the affair?
                                                                                                      I thought they ditched their partners and became a serious couple.(?)

                                                                                                      Thats why I gave them a pass, I assumed it was the real thing....

                                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                        I thought it was more along the lines that their partners ditched them after the show aired (I thought that's what Hosea said about his ex on the reunion show). Anyway, regardless of whether they fell in love on the show, my personal opinion is that if you're involved with someone else, you'd better break up first before you make out with someone new. I'm just old fashioned, not love the one you're with.

                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                          i think most people believe that. but that doesn't mean that sometimes it doesnt work out the other way

                                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                                            Obviously it does and some will take the Appalachian Trail less traveled but I still don't condone it and would be crushed if my husband, or serious bf did it to me.

                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                              LOL. It's the Appalachian Trail never traveled, but the well trod Argentinian rain forest.

                                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                Too funny--maybe they all have tiger blood in their system.;-)

                                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                  ha! Phaedrus, have i told you how happy i am that you've come back to us? :)

                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                    Awww shucks!

                                                                                                              2. re: thew

                                                                                                                Most people don't find out with millions of TV viewers just how they've been cheated on, though.

                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                  IIRC they (or at least, Hosea) confessed when they got home, long before the shows aired.

                                                                                                                  What's sad is that they weren't "in love" -- they were just stressed and lonely and looking for comfort and companionship. Destroying your long-term relationship is a high price to pay for that!

                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                    What a prince he was, eh? I think their partners are the ones who paid the highest price for their lack of maturity and concern for those they'd left behind.

                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                      As I recall, Leah was involved as well.

                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                        Hence my use of the plurals.

                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                          I was refering to your question where you singled out only one of the participants in the pair's sordid behavior.

                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                            Just in context; please be assured I found them both equally at fault, and annoyingly immature.

                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                              Ok, me too. Did you see my comment above where I said how much fun it would have been if they had brought the significant others to a TC episode late in the 5th season, say episode 10, right after restaurant wars?

                                                                                        2. Was there any reward at all for the quickfire in this episode? Obviously they're not going to be safe from elimination at this stage, but don't they get something, like money or an advantage in the elimination? I don't remember Carla getting anything for her QF win tonight.

                                                                                          And on the subject of the QF, Mike's dish (cheese soup thickened with hot dog buns) was the most disgusting food I'd ever seen on Top Chef--can you imagine having to taste it? Maybe they should have used the QF results to break the tie for who got sent home from the EC.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Nettie

                                                                                            Most common comment about the soup I saw on twitter was it looked like vomit, and I agree. Maybe it was "sea sick soup" :)

                                                                                            1. re: Cherveny

                                                                                              Bourdain commented in his blog entry that pretty much all the QF offerings resembled baby vomit :)

                                                                                          2. this was an awesome episode. i could have done without the QF, but i LOVED the EC. i kept thinking throughout the second half of the episode that this is the coolest thing they've ever done. kudos to the producers...and i confess, i got teary & choked up when they all reunited with their family members.

                                                                                            once all the dishes had been served and they remarked on how difficult JT was going to be, i actually said aloud that they wouldn't end up eliminating anyone...you could just tell that every single dish was a success. the finale episodes are going to

                                                                                            the fact that Mike & Antonia are related is just hilarious.

                                                                                            i like the finale idea with them going head-to-head against the winners of their respective seasons *in theory* but i'm not sure it's really fair - beating Michael Voltaggio has got to be more of a challenge than beating Hosea!

                                                                                            23 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                              do we really know how closely related they are? when they were showing it at first it seemed like a pretty distant relationship, and then the further into the episode we got the more they played it up

                                                                                              1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                Yeah, from what Antonia read, I wasn't even sure they ARE related, just that they had the same surname somewhere in their lineage, so it was POSSIBLE they were related. But their playing it up sure made things fun and put a different spin on Mike!

                                                                                                1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                  I was wondering about that too...if I was related to everybody named Jones, I wouldn't know WHAT to cook!

                                                                                                2. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                  I didn't hear them say they really were related, they just mentioned a name. I'm sure the producers prodded them all to go with the cousins thing.

                                                                                                  What would be more surprising is if they found out they had NO relatives in common. They both had people in their family that emmigrated from Sicily and it's not that big.

                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                    Then maybe I'm related to both of them as well!

                                                                                                    1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                      If you have relatives that emmegrated from Sicily 100 or so years ago, yes, you could be related. Hasn't anyone been to a small town where everyone seems to be related? The same thing happens on small islands, this time on a larger scale. I'm no geniologist, but I'm pretty sure I'm correct. (Heck, Barack Obama and John McCain are related).

                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                        " Hasn't anyone been to a small town where everyone seems to be related?"

                                                                                                        seemed like that last time i was in kentucky too!

                                                                                                        (to any kentuckians out there: kidding!)

                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                          Doesn't even have to be a small town. One of my students is Lebanese, from Dearborn, MI, and in her own words, "everybody's your cousin. Like, seriously...we're all related."

                                                                                                      2. re: John E.

                                                                                                        Really? Sicily is not that big? I have been to Sicily and I have looked for family there, and I am telling you that Sicily is very big, and very different east to west, north to south and in the middle. I have no relatives in common with most Sicilians. England is a small country too, which must mean that the Queen of England is related to my husband. We'll expect that invitation to the wedding any day now.

                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                          Yes, Sicily is not that big (pop. 5mil. now) and the population was even smaller back when their family emmigrated. If you take the number of people that emmigrated to the U.S. during a specific time period, the number gets even smaller. The fact that their families were both originally in New York makes it smaller yet. It's not like their family members emmigrated from the opposite ends of Russia.

                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                            The populations in different parts of Sicily are very different from each other. Though the population is small, there are large differences in the people. When I got to the town where my grandparents were from, I found MANY people with the same last names, and none of them were even distant relatives, so unless you are a genealogist with pretty specific information, I would say that your statement is profoundly false and a gross generalization. And guess what? Many immigrants wound up in NY -- hence, Ellis Island. It doesn't make them related; it just makes them immigrants who came through the same port.

                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                              The population of Sicily makes it possible for 2 people who had great-great granparents emmigrate from there to be related. That is a simple statement tbat happens to be true. If your experiebce is different, that does not make my statement untrue. It was deleted, but I wrote a post that had the last two U.S. Presidential candidates related. It was proven to be true.

                                                                                                              My father and his brother went back to the village in the old country where their parents came from. They found one guy that might have been a 4th or 5th cousin on their father's side.The surname was also common in that village. It is uncommon in the U.S. Every single person in the U.S. with the same last name as me (several search engines) is descended from my grandfather.

                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                "The population of Sicily makes it possible for 2 people who had great-great granparents emmigrate from there to be related."
                                                                                                                -----------------
                                                                                                                Anything is "possible," which doesn't necessarily make it likely.

                                                                                                                Let's agree to disagree here. I don't think this discussion is particularly germane to last night's Top Chef nor do I think that our other friends on this board will enjoy this being discussed ad nauseum.

                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                  You conveniently ignored my post where I said it wasn't as if their families were from the opposite ends of Russia. Their family came from Sicily, a tiny island off a small country. By the way I didn't say it was likely they were related. I did basicaloy say it wasn't surprising however.

                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                    I'm not ignoring your post; I have simply decided not to argue with you anymore. Your comment about Russia is a construct to bolster your point, which I don't agree with. Having had considerable difficulty in that "tiny island" trying to find relatives, I find your assertions about Sicily ridiculous.

                                                                                                                    Say what you will to whomever, I am done with this argument.

                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                      I was having a discussion. I did not realize you were having an argument.

                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                        edit:

                                                                                                                2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                  A little off topic but to all you Sicily lovers here may I recommend the Inspector Montalbano mysteries. Food plays a big part in the series and the inspector is a serious chowhound. The author's foot notes at the end of the books include delicious descriptions of the Sicilian dishes mentioned in the text. These books are written in Italian but the English translations available here are really good. Ciao!

                                                                                                                  1. re: annabana

                                                                                                                    Love those!

                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                      The earlier ones were much food food-centric. The laters ones are more focused on Montalbano going through a midlife crisis. But the desxcriptions of the Sicilian foods. Mama Mia!

                                                                                                        2. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                          they said they were VERY distant cousins - it sounded like they share an ancestor from a few generations ago. i didn't mean to suggest they were close family, i just think it's funny that they may be related in any way considering their love/hate relationship all season.

                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                            Like Obama and Cheney and Hillary Clinton and Camilla Parker- Bowles?

                                                                                                        3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                          I was actually bawling when their family members came out (even though I knew it was going to happen). It was just such a tension-breaker - really great tv.

                                                                                                        4. A great episode. I just couldn't see who they were going to eliminate since all the judges liked all the dishes. This episode reminded me of the finals of Top Chef Masters where they had to cook three dishes based on their lives and major points in their careers.

                                                                                                          1. This was probably one of my favorite episodes of Top Chef ever. It showed great cooking, it was an interesting challenge that gave them room to be themselves and show what they could do, it resulted in five plates of food that I would love to eat (seriously, all of that food looked incredible), and it still made for really good and engaging TV with their families there. Loved it. I also found it so interesting that all of their dishes were some sort of braised meat -- talk about homestyle! I wish we would get recipes for everything.

                                                                                                            And I'm delighted that Antonia won, because she hasn't won a big prize all season, and has been so close. Now she got the car!

                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                              I agree - while I loved Antonia's dish the most from a viewer's point of view, *all* of the dishes looked fabulous and would be something I'd want to eat!

                                                                                                              Recipes:

                                                                                                              ANTONIA - http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipe...

                                                                                                              CARLA - http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipe...

                                                                                                              TIFFANY - nothing listed

                                                                                                              MIKE - nothing listed

                                                                                                              RICHARD - nothing listed

                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                Ooh, thanks for finding the recipes, Linda!

                                                                                                              2. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                                ITA. great episode, delicious looking food *in the EC* the quickfire food just looked gross. I was so glad to see all 5 go through! I couldn't imagine picking a loser from those 5 plates, with all the great things everyone said about each dish.
                                                                                                                IMO, the kissing cousins thing got a little old - they've been fighting for weeks, and suddenly because they may have a common ancestor they are all lovey-dovey bffs? wtf.

                                                                                                                1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                                  Exactly what I was thinking. I wish that they did more challenges like this.

                                                                                                                  1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                    More like the EC, I expect, but not like the QF, which was a terrible challenge that produced some disgusting food (I liked Bourdain's comment that Mike said he wouldn't feed his "soup" to a cat, but that he apparently would feed it to Dan Barber).

                                                                                                                    With respect to the EC, it seems like they often don't do long, slow braises because they have limited time--you generally need more than three hours to do those.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Nettie

                                                                                                                      I don't really mind challenges like this QF. I like seeing what the chefs can do with ingredients like these. Like to see them out of their comfort zone and having to think quick. But I do think that they shouldn't get as much tv time as the rest of the show. And I do want them to have less restraint (time, $$) when it comes to the EC. Maybe do like American Idol and split it up and do a 30 min QF episode followed by a 60 min EC and JT.

                                                                                                                2. I WAS JUMPING UP AND DOWN IN MY CHAIR! Richard's going?? OH NO!!! Oh thank god, he's safe. YAY for Antonia! and ok, Mike deserved his win tonight, apparently. apparently they all did. tho I was sure Carla was going, only because i think she garnered the first tiny bit of criticism at JT - about her corn being a bit tough.

                                                                                                                  At dinner, i thought it must have been uncomfortable at first - how could the judges say what they really thought with the chefs' loved ones at the table? But luckily everyone outdid themselves tonight. Must have been rejuvenating to see familiar, friendly faces. TOO FUNNY about Mike and Antonia - and now they're alllll lovey-dovey. And have to say, Mike seemed sweet and real and emotional. Gee, who knew people had more than one side than what reality t.v. shows us.

                                                                                                                  Felt so bad for Richard at first when Padma said PKYK and.... he seemed truly pissed - and rightly so - i mean, he WALKED OUT without even cracking a smile! at least, that's what the editing showed. i mean, i get it - he was a wreck. i'm SO GLAD he's still in.

                                                                                                                  next weeks' previews looks like it's going to be a lot rougher week for a few of them.

                                                                                                                  and yes, quickfire kinda sucked - who needs to see chefs of this caliber, at this stage of the competition, make meals out of crappy ferry fare?

                                                                                                                  but the EC was great. good concept, and they all did great. love that they are all staying... at least for now.....

                                                                                                                  Linda, thanks again for your great summary - with your own (nerve-wracking but exciting) stuff going on, i know it must have been tough, but also maybe a welcome respite. hopefully you have great news tomorrow!

                                                                                                                  31 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                    i also have to say i felt bad for Richard when he was talking about his mom just having died, and his wife's father? he's been competing with all that going on in the background.

                                                                                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                      Wife's grandmother, I think, but yes, I can't imagine going through something so intense just a couple months after such life-changing events, and leaving a pregnant wife with a toddler, too.

                                                                                                                      1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                        yes, he said his mother passed away last year and his wife's grandmother a couple of months ago...plus, as you mentioned, his wife is 5 months pregnant. it must be *really* rough for him to be away from his family right now.

                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                          Makes me wonder how much the contestants receive for their appearance on the show. It can't just be for the 'chance to win' $200k and the exposure, can it? That's gotta be a bonus, right? I mean, if Charlie Sheen can get paid $2mil per episode, they could probably afford to toss the contestants a couple grand per, no?

                                                                                                                          1. re: soypower

                                                                                                                            well in all fairness, Charlie Sheen has tiger's blood so he deserves that huge paycheck ;)

                                                                                                                            seriously though, i'd love to know the answer...i don't watch any of the reality shows like the Bachelor, Survivor, etc, but i was under the impression the contestants do get a stipend. i can't imagine giving up your job on the *incredibly* tiny chance that you win the big prize unless you're being compensated somehow - most people just don't have enough money in the bank to cover their expenses in the meantime.

                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                              LOL! You're right. I neglected to factor in the Adonis DNA as well.

                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                Well, there's always the publicity you get too. As long as you last a few episodes in and made a few good looking dishes, pretty much assured to draw interest to your restaurant. Looking Stephans exit interview video on the bravotv.com website. He pretty much explicitly says he did it for free publicity (then asks then to edit that statement out, which they don't :) )

                                                                                                                                1. re: Cherveny

                                                                                                                                  You just look at what Spike's managed to accomplish, with apparently mediocre restaurants in the DC area to appreciate the publicity aspect. And, Richard Blais scored a TV show off of it.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                    I had an interesting conversation at lunch today with a well known local chef. He told me he's been contacted more than once about coming on Top Chef, but he doesn't even return their calls anymore. He figures he has more to lose than gain at this point. He has several successful restaurants and recently closed one that was voted top 50 in the country by Gourmet. I agreed that he could get edited and end up looking like a fool.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: saeyedoc

                                                                                                                                      Yeah, it could go both ways--those w/ something to lose, have something to lose. Someone like Spike didn't. He came off as a player on his season, not to popular, didn't do too well. His restaurants, though, are doing well because of his celebrity.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                      I think you're judging Spike's restaurant too harsly. When his original hamburger restaurant gets discussed on the DC/Baltimore board, most people swoon over the milk shakes and say generally positive things about the burgers themselves. I think the verdict is mixed on his pizza restaurant.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                    I thought I read once that they get the union scale per diem for being on the show. In a case like this, where the producers wanted to encourage certain contestants to come back, some of them may have negotiated some kind of appearance fee as well. I suspect, though, that most of them see it as an investment toward building their careers.

                                                                                                                                  3. re: soypower

                                                                                                                                    Richard has said that he feels the need to vindicate himself after losing his season and that this season will be a failure for him unless he wins. He seems to have bought into the "it was his to lose" hype. Even though he's a nervous worrier, there also seems to be more than a bit of expectation that he
                                                                                                                                    didn't get what he was due.

                                                                                                                                    Also, did anyone catch what he said at the beginning when he was talking about Dale leaving. I couldn't hear exactly what he said right before "I'm the only one left standing" -- it sure sounded like he thought all the "good" chefs -- except him -- were gone. Way to disrespect your competitors, Blais!

                                                                                                                                    It goes back to the argument I was having a few weeks ago: when some competitors win, they think it proves that they are superior chefs, but when chefs they think are lesser than they are win, they think it's just a fluke. It is just a fluke that Antonia is kicking your butt in challenges, Richard?

                                                                                                                                    It even makes me feel a little bit kinder towards Mikey from last week: Richard seems to feel some sense of entitlement: he thinks he's the best chef, so he feels "bitter" (his word) and denigrates the other chefs when he doesn't win. Mike won because he stole Richard's idea; Carla "just sliced up an orange" etc.

                                                                                                                                    I'm not crazy about this facet of his personality.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                      I think what Richard said was that he was the only "top seed" or presumed finalists left standing. I don't think anyone would argue that the rest of the group were not early favorites to win, as Richard, Angelo, Jen, Dale, Marcel, Tre were.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                        Ah. "Seed" was the word I didn't catch -- I just heard "C" (either my ears are going or the sound on my TV isn't very good).

                                                                                                                                        And yet, Antonia and Carla both did much better in their seasons that Tre or Dale did. So why weren't they "top seeds" in Richard's mind? Why weren't all the contestants who were finalists in their seasons considered "Top Seeds"? I'm just curious what criteria he used to determine his "seeds."

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                          I suspect there was some consensus among the chefs, and buzz around the internet, or his individual estimation of the chefs going in, or all combined. I don't find him arrogant so much as high strung, competitive and insecure all at once, and very candid. As much as I love Carla (for her funny confessionals, most of all) and have grown to really appreciate Antonia this season, at the beginning, I didn't consider either a top seed. My bad.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                            I feel the same way about Antonia. I wonder if it's because she was in such a challenging season w/ the Volts and Kevin and Jen. I would be happy if she won.

                                                                                                                                            I also think the same about Richard. He gets too much in his head, overthinking and overthinking. At times, he reminds me of Eeyore. I think he wants this so badly that he's getting spooked. The other competitors want to win, he's afraid to lose and that can make a huge difference.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                              Antonia was in Season 4, which I think was also a very challenging one.

                                                                                                                                              I'm kind of scared for Richard. I think if he loses, he'll need loads of therapy.

                                                                                                                                              I think Blais probably thinks that the contestants who worked for bigger name chefs are stronger than those who are caterers, etc. In the first episode of All-Stars, Blais said he thought Jennifer Carroll was his biggest competition, noting her "massive pedigree."

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                I think you're right. Richard seems to place a lot of value on technique, and that seems to include the idea that the best chefs are those who've been trained, mentored and gone through the rigors of working in big-name kitchens. I think there's some validity to that, but it's not the be all and end all. After all, a lot of those "big name chefs" didn't go through that process. In fact, in terms of Top Chef Jen Carroll and Carla have a lot in common: they are both talented chefs whose talent took them to the finals despite the fact that by temperament they don't do their best work in a competitive environment.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                              MCF - i agree with your assessment of Richard - for me he is insecure but not nasty (therefore not arrogant). i hope he doesn't choke - he does just get in his own way.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                agree too.
                                                                                                                                                he's very intense.
                                                                                                                                                I think he shoots himself in the foot more times than others do.
                                                                                                                                                when he wins anything, I expect him to be overjoyed [when in fact] he seems less than 'over the moon' to me.
                                                                                                                                                his facial expressions tell me a lot, like he's always being very critical of himself [in his own mind]. he critiques everything he does and how he could have done it better. too much self doubt. I can't explain better but watch his facial [almost] ticks.

                                                                                                                                                he needs to relax and let his true talent shine through for him.
                                                                                                                                                that said, I'll take his fried crispy bone marrow any day :)))

                                                                                                                                                still I think he's going to win at the end.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                  the news that his mom (who i get the feeling he was really close to) died only 2 months ago AND his wife is pregnant explains a lot of this. guy's a mess, i'm certain. with a lot to lose.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                  Plus his wife is apparently super competitive and really wants him to win. No pressure, right?

                                                                                                                                          2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                            "I'm not crazy about this facet of his personality."

                                                                                                                                            You keep it very well hidden.;-)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                              :-)

                                                                                                                                          3. re: soypower

                                                                                                                                            I wonder what they paid the previous winners to come back this time to compete again. They have a lot more to lose, as reputation goes. And, what if someone wanted to play hard ball and negotiate more?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                              I'm guessing they were very happy with their assembled cast. I'm assuming if they needed more "star power" they would've found a way to get a Kevin, Stefan or Brian V. back into Season 8. Did any try to get a bigger paycheck and the producers said "Thanks, but no thanks"? Good question. From what I read, most of the chefs that turned down All Stars did so because of the increased time/commitments/exposure that Top Chef gave them.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                      Thanks mariacarmen - I *really* needed the distraction after getting home to a couple of Emails that threw a few wrenches into the works. I should have expected this wouldn't go as smoothly as I had hoped. Please keep your fingers crossed that I find decent financing.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                        everything i have to cross is crossed today for you!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                          Whatever it is you want/need I am crossed too!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                            And I've knocked wood. :-) Today is "Hinamatsuri" or "Girls' Day" so maybe that'll bring you some luck. :-)
                                                                                                                                            Thanks again for the great recap, Linda!

                                                                                                                                        2. I'm pretty sure Richard used "glasswort" not "glassroot."

                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                            Thanks Ruth. I knew glassroot wasn't right, but couldn't figure out what he was saying (and a quick Google for sea beans didn't find the alternate word either). Wonder if the Mods can make that change for me, as I realized after I shut down last night that I think it was Richard's wife who asked Tom C. if they'd ever had 5 go to the finale, *not* Antonia's mother.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                              We made the edit you asked for, from "glassroot" to "glasswort." Carry on.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                                                                THANK YOU! I love the Mods. :-D (psst...there's one more in the "Richard's up next...." paragraph, if you don't mind, pleaseandthankyou!) :-)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                  Got it.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                                                                    Thanks yet again (and thanks for the quick change on the restaurant title you just made at my super-secret request!)

                                                                                                                                          2. Did you notice that when they told Mike he was safe it was in an edited in voice over rather than "live"? I wonder what happened?

                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                              i thought the same thing! that was weird

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                I thought I caught that as well, but wasn't sure, as I was also typing. Will have to check in the repeat (although 15 minutes will be cut out - probably from the boat and cooking parts, not the JT).

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                  The finale location probably was not finalized when the episode was shot. I noted similar voice overs whenever the finale location was mentioned.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                    Re-doing the voice-over is not uncomon. They redo some of Padma's voice in nearly every episode. Apparently she flubs her lines a lot during the QFs. They don't seem to fix the "hands up, utensils down!" lines however. I suppose it's because that line needs a visual image of her sayng it (and they don't care if it's wrong).

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, they do, but they don't do Judge's table very often because it's easy to reshoot it -- they keep the original "reaction" shot and then reshoot Padma sitting at the table giving the verdict and splice them together. In fact, I read recently that they often reshoot judges table. They used to dub in voice overs more often -- Padma has gotten better and Tom and Gail have gotten better at talking in sound bites that the editors can work with.

                                                                                                                                                      This was weird because not only did they dub in the voice, but they used a piece of video that was taken from what appears to be a ceiling camera. It made me suspicious that it didn't happen in the sequence that they portrayed. Maybe even that they were going to eliminate Mike and then changed their minds (maybe they got permission from the producers to take all five).

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                        I'm waiting for "Hands down, utensils up!" and they all duck as utensils come raining down...

                                                                                                                                                    2. I'm always a little disappointed when they don't eliminate someone when they're supposed to. I know I could stand to watch the finale without a certain chef whom I feel is rather mediocre. Nice, sure; but definitely mediocre.

                                                                                                                                                      And the whole fake-out on Richard (of all people) is rather annoying too.

                                                                                                                                                      But I have to agree that this was one of the best elimination challenges in TC history. Heartwarming and there were a couple of times I choked up too. I also wondered how difficult it would have been to trace the geneology of Dale.

                                                                                                                                                      And I'm glad they finally gave Mike a sympathetic edit. I know he rubs a lot of people the wrong way along with being cocky and arrogant, but I have to admit, I kind of like him. And his gnocchi looked sooo good.

                                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: soypower

                                                                                                                                                        Oh....and I forgot how may times I cried during this episode.....just an amazing family food feeling...I felt like I was right there experiencing all the wonderful flavors....Richard...I almost threw up when Padma started...ughhh

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: soypower

                                                                                                                                                          I wonder if Mike can be convinced to cook his gnocchi dish at his new restaurant here in DC. I'd love to try it.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MartinDC

                                                                                                                                                            I could never eat his food after the soup spoon mouth to dish episodes on this episode. Give me the willies.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                              Then you'll be thrilled by this thread over on the Not About Food board.

                                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/765263

                                                                                                                                                              I'll have to watch it again. If Dan Barber was deciding on his own who won this QF, I bet Padma skipped the tastes on this one, I don't recall.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                I was in that NAF thread; I'm in the ICK factor camp.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                  I wasn't even in the ick factor camp. I am just baffled that it would even occur to someone to pursue that particular technique.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: soypower

                                                                                                                                                            Kinda agree - I thought the judges sort of wimped out by not eliminating someone. Yes, tthe dishes did all look good, and i would want to eat any of them, but come on...aren't they sort of changing the rules as they go along?

                                                                                                                                                            My theory is that this is because Bourdain was not at judges table - I feel sure he would have held their feet to the fire.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LJNew

                                                                                                                                                              Normally, I'm fully on-board with the "no elimination = wimping out" argument. I hate it every time I see it. But having read Gail's blog, they really were stretching to critique ANYONE. And the negative criticisms were so subjective that there was no consensus - they reached a stalemate and begged the producers to let them put everyone through. These are supposed to be "all-stars" and it appears they all shone brightly on this episode. In my book, that justifies all five moving forward...and possibly a double-elimination next time.

                                                                                                                                                          3. I also enjoyed every moment of this episode. It was great to see 5 chefs in the top group, with everyone on their game. In the QF, Carla was very smart to do the fruit. One look at Dan Barber and you know he's not going to care much for Nachos. Did you ever see such an emaciated-looking chef in your life? The EC was just fantastic too, but my first thought was that Antonia and Mike had a clear advantage being able to cook Italian food. However, I thought all those fake outs that the end with who was going to PYKAG were sophomoric. First Richard, which was unbelievably mean, and then Carla (nearly had a heart attack there) and then the good news. It would have been better to break tradition and tell the three of them that they were all going at the same time. It's not as if JT isn't stressful enough!

                                                                                                                                                            1. I've got random comments. First congrats on the house Linda, I remember I cried way back when the bidding was done (when buying was really good).

                                                                                                                                                              Not enough Bourdain lately, what's up with that?

                                                                                                                                                              I was surprised to see them drinking white wine with the oxtail.

                                                                                                                                                              As a grammar nazi, I'm pretty sure I heard Antonia say something like "I can't tell where we are in 'retrospect' to Ellis Island". I'd want that one fixed if I were her. I'm glad she won the biggest prize to to make up for the lack of one earlier and coming so close other times.

                                                                                                                                                              Richard's wife seems really cool as does Carla's husband.

                                                                                                                                                              Dale should be in that final group.

                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                Agree re: Dale. Would have *loved* to have seen what he would have done with this EC and the family genealogy history!

                                                                                                                                                                House - bidding is done. That's the easy part. Financing now becomes an issue. That's where I think I'll be crying. :-(

                                                                                                                                                              2. I've never been so on "the edge of my seat" as with this challenge....one by one the Judges loved the dishes....then the Judges Table....they made the right decision!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                1. Has Top Chef lost its mojo?

                                                                                                                                                                  First it steals from the Next Iron Chef America by having the chefs board a fishing boat and catch their own fish to skin and cook.

                                                                                                                                                                  Now, they borrow from (of all things??) The Next Food Network Star by having family members surprise the cheftestants?

                                                                                                                                                                  And did anyone notice that the color of Carla's glasses matched her husband's shirt. That could not have been coincidence.

                                                                                                                                                                  Bring on Top Chef Masters.

                                                                                                                                                                  I'm bored of this Top Chef Losers, er, I mean All Stars.

                                                                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                    We've seen family members before -- the moms showed up in the S6 finale. (Other times?) I haven't watched TNFNS since S1, so I don't know when they've had family members. We've also seen family members many times on Project Runway, which is (was) more closely related to TC than the FN shows.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                      I think they should have brought in the wives/girlfriends/boyfriends for Episode 10 of TC Season 5.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                      +1

                                                                                                                                                                      The reaction of the chefs when Padma walked in and the DVD message that they had to go play in the car reminded me of Next Top Model. What will we get in the finale...Padma mail!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gmk1322

                                                                                                                                                                        PADMA MAIL!!!

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                        im fairly certain that NFNS was not the first show ever to bring family members in. just off the top of my head i can think of NFNS, Hells kitchen, Worst Cooks in america, masterchef, other seasons of top chef...

                                                                                                                                                                        and thats without even going into shows like survivor, biggest loser, and (dare i say it?) Jersey shore.

                                                                                                                                                                        also, you'll be pleased to know that chef Tio is on TCM this season.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                          Survivor has been doing it since they started.

                                                                                                                                                                          jb

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                            Project Runway too.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                              I'm thrilled with the news about chef Tio! I liked her on NIC and she was so gracious when I ate at Julian (and the food was tasty!).

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                                also, you'll be pleased to know that chef Tio is on TCM this season.
                                                                                                                                                                                _______________________________

                                                                                                                                                                                Yup
                                                                                                                                                                                Top Chef is going green ... recycle, reuse, recycle ...

                                                                                                                                                                            2. A really good episode. I didn't care at all for the quickfire (seriously, what can you really expect them to make from those ingredients?) except for one thing that was new: the chefs had no idea how much time they had. That was an interesting twist that got lost in the lousy nature of the challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                              I would love to see more challenges like that. How would the chefs organize themselves if they had to prepare a proper dish not knowing if they had 5 minutes or 20?

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chorosch

                                                                                                                                                                                I think it was a riff on the vending machine challenge, sorta. Which was a great challenge but it was much earlier on in the competition and they had a pantry and cooking tools.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Thanks, Linda!

                                                                                                                                                                                I just have to say that it was horribly unfunny and cruel to call out Richard's name at the end.

                                                                                                                                                                                And I CANNOT BELIEVE there aren't a lot of EUUWWWS here for the fact that Mikey kept tasting his soup and putting the spoon back into it, ICK! Repeatedly. Disgusting.

                                                                                                                                                                                I think it's great that all the food was so terrific, should be an interesting final, though I can't believe Mikey snaked his way into it.

                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah, Mike being in the finals almost spoils it. I hope they get rid of him early on.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. This has stopped being a competition for who is the best chef. Is it even a competition or a feel good event?

                                                                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ucallthatcb

                                                                                                                                                                                    What makes you say that? There wasn't anything about last night's episode that suggested that the food wasn't all fantastic.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                                      Winners in the olympics are determined by fractions of seconds, tenths of points etc. There was a clear winner in this challenge. I'm sure there was someone that could have been chosen as a loser regardless of how slim the margin was. They were intending on sending four people the finals and ended up sending five. What happened?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ucallthatcb

                                                                                                                                                                                        The judges were pretty clear that there was definitely a winner, but that every other dish was excellent. Each dish had something that was perhaps not perfect, but none of the dishes had anything that set them apart (in a bad way) from the other dishes. The judges have felt bad about sending people home in the past, and they have sent people home for dishes that were very, very good as well, so I don't get your feel good comment. I think it's pretty obvious they were operating with a dead heat in their opinion and could not choose a losing dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                                          When I watched Extended Judges Table, it sounded pretty clear to me that Dan Barber did not care for Richard's dish. However, all the others glossed right over that. Not that I wanted to see Richard sent home, but clearly neither did the regular judges.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                            i just watched it - they didn't really "gloss" over it, but all three of the other judges really liked the sauce that Barber complained about - and that's all Barber complained about Richard's dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                              I watched it and was surprised at Barber's reaction, since we didn't get that in the episode at all. But somewhere I read that the only things they could critique were matters of personal preference, and no one really made any mistakes at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                yes - and each of the other judges point by point argued with Barber about what was right about the sauce. makes you realize how in depth they go, and how much time they actually do spend hashing these things out. which makes me respect their decisions even more. and thanks, that makes total sense about the personal preference v. mistake standard.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. i didnt get to catch it this week & despite all my fighting i fell asleep before the ending. so glad that theyre all going- looked like a tough choice.

                                                                                                                                                                                    anyone notice how much richards wife wanted it too, very cute but def a lil competititve.

                                                                                                                                                                                    love love love antonia, glad she won

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Has anyone else noticed how every time Richard is in the middle of a challenge, he ALWAYS makes this teeth-bearing grimace where he looks like he just dropped a deuce in his boxers?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jackbauer

                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes! That face he makes drives me insane!

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Well this was quite an emotional episode wasn't it? I have to say I shed a few tears. This was probably one of my favorite EC challenges to date. I know the chefs need to prove their adaptability with different challenges but I love the challenges where they have the proper time to prepare & they only serve a small group. Just my opinion :)

                                                                                                                                                                                        Richard seems to have lost some of his confidence. The whole episode he looked like he just knew he was getting the boot. At JT he really did look like he was going to throw up. Padma telling him to PYKAG was just not funny, he's wound too tight to take those kind of jokes.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I like that Antonia finally won a challenge & a car! Good for her! Crazy that her & Mike are related. I also liked seeing a "softer" side of Mike. He must have been pretty close to his Grandma & seeing him honor her was pretty cool.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm not sure if I like that they didn't eliminate anyone, but I can also see how it would have been a hard decision. I wanted to try every single dish this time. I really do believe that if you cook with love or have a strong emotion tied to a dish, it's going to taste that much better. I know on nights when I don't want to cook, dinner just doesn't taste as good. When I am really feeling it, I can knock it out of the park.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I can't wait to see next week's episode & how they do against the TC winners. Hopefully they'll all be rested & ready for the next go round.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Now I'm off to read the blogs!

                                                                                                                                                                                        Edit: Oh & one more thing. I REALLY would love to see what Dale would've prepared for this challenge. I'm still sad he's gone!

                                                                                                                                                                                        60 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                                                                                          Am I the only one who finds Richards hyper competitiveness more than annoying?

                                                                                                                                                                                          I mean, life is too short to be so super serious about a competition. Its getting on my nerves a bit. He acts like his life depends on winning this thing. Lighten up a litttle, Richard!

                                                                                                                                                                                          Go Antonia!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                            At the very least, he seems genuine about it. I can respect someone being that driven to excel.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                              I too, have great respect for people who challenge themselves and drive to succeed, but in Richard I see someone who literally, willbeat himself up if he doesnt come out on top.

                                                                                                                                                                                              That is not admirable, its a defect.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, driven to excel on his merits, and still wiling to assist any competitor who asks. His tension may be tough to watch, but he's really a decent man, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree--if he were driven to win at all costs, he wouldn't be as helpful to the others as he has been. And, as I've said in the past, even when he's won, he's been happy to share his prize w/ others who he thinks deserved it. No other competitor has done the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I would agree with that.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    He doesnt want to win at all costs - but he does want to win on his own merit.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    What conerns me though is how hard he will be on himself if he doesnt win.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    He has admitted that he was depressed for months after his first stint.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's one thing to want to win and a completely different thing to be afraid to lose.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you Ruth, thats what I am trying to say as well. Exactly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I coach junior volleyball, and I see a lot of this type A response to pressure in the girls that I coach. It isn't exactly the losing that drives him crazy, it is the fear of not being perfect in what he does, which to me is much more insidious. He is not living up to his own standards.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                            we people with that disease don't do well. it eats you from the inside. and you can't win. i worry about him when i watch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Right, and I think neither rules out the other. Both things seem to be true of Richard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah--I've said that, too, and even he admitted he was crazy enough, why would Padma tell him to PYKA... I see his performance/actions as riddled with self-doubt and he needs to be reassured that he's good. At the same time, that makes me feel for him because he really is talented. But, overall, I also see him as a good person which is one reason I'm willing to write off some of his behavior. I'll admit to being biased for people I think are good people deep down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I just saw a replay... I think they edited out where Padma tells Richard "PYKA... You're going to the Bahamas."

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The edited version is Padma simply saying, "Richard... You're going to the Bahamas."

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ahack

                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7695...

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oops, sorry about that. Hard for me to follow all the new replies sometimes if they don't follow conversationally. Thanks for the heads up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ahack

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  no worries - these TC threads become so unwieldy it's nearly impossible to keep up!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Nelly, they are ALL hyper competitive or they wouldn't subject themselves to the reality show treatment. And if they aren't hyper competitive, they wouldn't last. It just manifests itself in different ways.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Of course they are, but Richard is WAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYY to serious about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      When Fabio was sent packing, he seemed to take it with a grain of salt... I think Richard really be *affected* if he doesnt win, and that, IMO is unhealthy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I feel sorry for all the competitors who seem to feel that anything less than a win is a complete failure (Richard, Jen, Angelo).

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Agreed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                            i feel exactly the opposite. i feel sorry for anyone who competes who is not driven to win. that's the difference between a derek jeter and a double A ball player.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                              You are missing what we are saying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Being competitive is a good thing, being driven to succeed is a good thing, but being able to lose is a huge part of being a success.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Derek Jeter would not be a healthy human being if judged his self worth soley upon "winning"

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I am sure that you don't teach your child that winning is everything, and beating other children is what matters!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I agree: you compete to do your best. Only one person can win, but that doesn't mean the other people's efforts are worthless or that they are failures. Life is more like golf than baseball: you compete against yourself and the obstacles in front of you, not the other players.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                If winning were the only object, then Richard wouldn't believe, as he has said, that he wants to compete against the best. Or, to use a baseball analogy: what would you rather be: a utility player on the Yankees or an MVP in Double A?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  no, but life and games have different goals, rules, and expectations. winning isn;t everything, and how you play is tantamount. that is not the same as saying you shouldn;t play to win

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think the top competitors in any field feel this way. I don't think Michael Phelps or Lance Armstrong tell themselves winning isn't that important. I agree that it's the difference between the top competitors and the rest. My parents said they could tell the difference between my coming home from a game, happy regardless and my sister who came home and they could tell immediately if she won--she was an all state athlete in three sports, I wasn't even close. I don't feel bad for those who are competitive, just as they shouldn't feel bad for those of us who aren't like that--we all have different driving forces. The Williams sisters weren't brought up to think that losing was fine, as long as they had a good time, and I'm sure they wouldn't be where they are, if they had.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe part of the distinction we should make is the ability to be driven and despise losing or performing at less than your best, but still be a gracious loser.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In Richard's case, his first TC final was his to lose, and he admitted that he choked. But he was still gracious to Stephanie. I'm sure that performance is what drives him in TCAS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think he's a gentleman, plain and simple. A deeply anxiety riddled, neurotic gentleman. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        +1 mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "A deeply anxiety riddled, neurotic gentleman. :-)"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Which oddly makes him so much more lovable in my eyes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I feel sorry for all the competitors who seem to feel that anything less than a win is a complete failure (Richard, Jen, Angelo).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    as someone who was [unfortunately] raised to believe just that, i can tell you it's one heavy-ass monkey to carry around on your back...and immensely challenging to shake off when it's been there for your entire life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      *nodding*

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But in fairness, mine's not from upbringing. I found my monkey in a zoo, I think.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        GHG i'm responding in general to this subthread, not specifically to you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i don't get it. the profession is about consistent and repetitive perfection. diners expect nothing less. diners aren't worried about some chef or line cook's psychic state-- they want their perfect mmr steak-- and they want it again 3 months later, and 2 years later, and they don't particularly care if 50 other people want the same perfect dish within 10 minutes of their own order. if you mess up a plate of food, break a sauce, overcook a beautiful piece of fish: well what's the matter? are you incompetent, in the weeds? can't you handle it? let's be honest: if we were all on our home boards reviewing a new restaurant and were paying $30-$50 for a plate of not-so-great food? i think every one of us would individually complain. dissect. critique. bitch. rightly so. so. . . why the hand wringing over the personality traits of perfectionism and obsessive attention to detail in these competitors? why is this any surprise? do we think that people in charge of restaurants or the plate of food that's about to be served to us should be casual about it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i don't know what i'm missing, but ime anybody who is good at their job, no matter how "fun" it may seem to folks outside of the profession, is deadly serious and driven when it gets down to the nuts and bolts of getting a perfect result (perfect jetliner landing, perfect violin sonata, perfect sutures, perfect plate of food). a fortune cookie once told me: "genius is taking infinite pains."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        imo the challenges these competitors prepare for and invest themselves in-- when they "win" or "lose," it isn't necessarily about "winning," it's about striving for the success of that perfection: someone's level of conception and execution on the plate, and if *that* isn't up to snuff, yes it's personal, a wound-- why couldn't i execute what i envisioned, how did i fail. and why wouldn't it be, when everyone's business is to strive for perfection?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          sk, i absolutely see where you're coming from, but i'm not sure you get the sticking point...the problem is that for some of us, when we produce something that's not 100% perfect, instead of standing back, looking at it objectively and seeing it for what it actually *is* - an overcooked steak, an A instead of an A-plus on a test - we take it as a testament to our failure *as human beings.*

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          as for your example above of the not-so-great restaurant, there's a difference between bitching that you overpaid for mediocre/disappointing food and declaring that the cook who prepared it is worthless as a person. *that's* the distinction for some of us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Right!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I was just watching the clip from "No Reservations" of Bourdain's dinner at The French Laundry. Keller says that you should strive for perfection but you can never achieve it. The logical corollary is that not achieving perfection does not make you worthless or a failure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The logical corollary is that not achieving perfection does not make you worthless or a failure.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              lucky for Keller he possesses the objective capacity to acknowledge and accept that. took me *many* years and thousands of dollars worth of therapy to see it ;) the "i made a mistake hence i'm a failure" connection is still my 'default' setting when something goes wrong, but at least now i can recognize it, and occasionally manage to take a breath and readjust my thoughts and emotions in a more constructive direction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i really feel for Blais, Jen & Angelo...beating yourself up 24/7 is an exhausting way to go through life, but for some of us it's the only way we know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "we take it as a testament to our failure *as human beings.*"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And no amount of logic or explanation can make it otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Would the flip side of that be "It can't be my fault because I am too perfect?" That would be Steven, marcel, et. al.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                first of all, i'm the first to admit that i apparently have *no* idea how non-restaurant people think--that's what i'm trying to figure out in this part of the conversation. ;-P that said, i think all of you are trying to pile on the wrong football.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                these people are executive level in their field, so yes of course they take *personal* responsibility for the final product that comes out of their own kitchens, and taking personal responsibility is a very different thing than the "failure as human beings" notion which has been suggested. presumably everybody's favorite top chef contestants are capable of singing stevie wonder hits totally off key, and not caring at all, or badly dancing a polka with a toddler (their own or a relative's) or whatever-- parking crooked at the mall, spelling badly, performing horribly bad drunken rap solos on rooftops without a care in the world for the potential consequences, heehee. cooking, that's a different subject. it isn't shocking that they would be deadly serious about it. i mean, chances are folks who are executive chefs who spend 60+ hours a week in restaurants cooking food, planning food, presenting food. . . are going to take food and cooking much more seriously than needlepoint. the idea that some of them might take the same pains with everything in their lives as they do with cooking-- i don't see it. they have successful restaurants and family lives, children. . . i just don't see the martha stewart syndrome-- i think people are projecting based on the elves' editing and what have you. though i admit that the thought of r. blais sitting in a dimly lit cellar at 3 am, obsessively doing scrapbooking projects with a ruler and tiny bladed tools, an open packet of no-doze in front of him on the workbench, making sure every edge and border is perfect. . . just so. -- um, that's funny. psycho, but funny, and i don't think it actually happens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree, soupkitten, except I think there's a difference between striving to do your best and striving to win. Everyone should strive to do their best, but only one person can win. That doesn't mean the other people are failures, even within the scope of the competition, let alone in a wider sense. If all the time and effort that you put into something is wasted if you don't win, then most people are wasting their time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think you need a sense of proportion. The fact that Richard purportedly went into a months-long depression after not winning his season is disproportionate to the importance of winning Top Chef -- IMHO. No one died. More specifically, it didn't hurt his career or his reputation as a chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The fact that he seems to be even more obsessed with winning this time is also disproportionate -- IMHO. No one wants to fail, but everyone does fail, and you need to be able to handle those failures, learn from them and move on. Obsessing over them not only isn't healthy, it isn't productive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ruth - in a competition not winning is failing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Only if you think it is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Perception becomes the reality, but it's not an objective reality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        People compete for many reasons -- one, as Richard has said, is to see how you stack up against the best. Another is just to see how far you can push yourself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        After all, you can be assured of always winning by only competing against inferior competition, but that wouldn't be very satisfying for most competitors. I'd rather go up against the best and lose than take an easy win against inferior competition. Most Olympic silver medalists are more proud of that medal than they are of trophies won for lower-level competitions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not taking the risk to enter a competition you might not win is a sure way of failing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          No. Not winning is not winning. Failure is some interpretation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          didn't he open a restaurant shortly after the show? while he was in a "months-long depression?" maybe my timeline is off-- i'm recalling an industry article about "chef-driven qsr places" featuring him i think. i don't actually know much about r. blais' personal life other than what i've learned about by accident reading the top chef threads on this board--uh, so i guess i actually know quite a bit, since many folks besides myself post and repost up to 800+ posts rehashing a six second edited soundbite, and conclude they don't like somebody or somebody's spouse, or that someone has a horribly debilitating character flaw. so, for the record, i don't post that much because i don't really actually care that much-- but i also don't think it's fair to any of these folks to pretend they are just doing the equivalent of cooking a hot dog for their niece or nephew-- when in fact they are cooking a plate of food for tom eff colicchio on national t.v, in front of all their customers, employees, family, and friends-- and presumably they know enough about their own technique to know exactly how they succeed or fail, at the thing they spend 60+ hours/week doing, which their family's livelihood depends on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i think most of the folks competing on the show would say, w regard to a "sense of proportion," that one's thinking one is a bad, or worthless person, as a result of a grade on an academic test, is very troubling and the person should get some help. i think it's really sad that this happens, particularly when an academic test affects nobody and nothing except the test taker, who has presumably paid for the privilege of taking said test, after all. so who cares, flub as many tests as you want-- the fluff and effluvium that is your medieval studies midterm (i'm talking to you, nicollet avenue lunch server and mcad student, you know who you are!) is most likely completely meaningless and the three sentences you're sobbing over may be skimmed or they may be skipped or they may be read a second time, and marked, but regardless, they will be entirely forgotten by next week. otoh, someone else may look at their test, saying "wow, i got a bad mark on that, and i really could have done better if i had only studied harder and not spent the night before the exam drinking with my friends."-- now imo, that is not beating oneself up, it is taking responsibility for one's actions, and it's a sort of self-awareness that is potentially a very positive thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          academics aside--putting out a physical, tangible, tasteable product that is flawed, and that people are expected to pay for, is a whole nother subject. diners just don't give restaurants leeway on bad dishes, sorry! please see threads on the rest of the whole site re: customer dissatisfaction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          in professions where execution is key, it's important to be able to execute. as stupid as it is to have to write out a sentence like that ^ there, i do feel like people in our time and place are losing a grasp on what it means to have a tangible product, so as close as many folks might come would be that academic test-- so they totally don't get that a test and a product (tangible, presented object, made over and over, reliably, consistently) are *not* the same thing at all. however, performers or drivers or pilots or surgeons, to go back to my own examples, where there *is* a product which can be evaluated, and which *does* affect other people and their experiences, still must reliably perform and produce under all sorts of conditions. we don't have a "best three out of five" attitude when it comes to jet landings-- we want them consistently pretty damn near perfect. folks are the same when they are paying to see a musical performance or to get a plate of food-- in fact sometimes they are much more understanding with the musical performer or the jet pilot than with the cooks! it is a pretty understandable consequence that when a chef is at a certain level of execution, s/he will exhibit, what, stereotypically: fussiness, perfectionism, obsessive attention to detail, whatever-- insert your own derogatory phrase (particularly if the chef happens to be female, as in that case there are extra ones that apparently don't apply to males). bear in mind that you could easily swap out "chef" for "jet pilot" or "surgeon" or "ceo," and suddenly we all like and value those same personal attributes and call the person a great, committed professional. chefs however, we want to call lunatics-- and it interests me to think about why this is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          what the folks on the show would seem to be taking personal responsibility for is their own execution. i don't think any restaurant, at any level, at any price range, of any philosophy, is immune from the perfect shitstorm of chaos that can occur when you have an enormous amount of food coming out of a tiny space in a breathtakingly short amount of time, and for a variety of reasons, things start to shift and then wobble and then skid violently, you run out of things, boom, boom, boom, then a ticket is messed up and one or several people are simultaneously in the weeds, and one or several people are by acts of sheer will or experience or dumb luck just not allowing those other people to go down in flames and take the rest of the ship down with them. this situation can be quite stressful. it's what a lot of people can't handle. it is a completely different type of stress than academic pressure, and when the night is over, so is the stress. nobody is sitting at the restaurant bar after hours thinking they are a "bad person" because they had to butcher steaks at 8:15 on the fly on the 2' square surface in front of the broiler station, singeing their nosehairs off-- they are thinking it was a shitstorm, and it's over, and it's miller time, or insert your favorite snobby microbrew, like the restaurant crew does ;-P point is, restaurant people are generally quite adept at undergoing stressful situations, continuing to function and execute at a very high level, and then being able to let it all go, at the end. it would be impossible to survive without being able to cope, and yes the rate of alcoholism and substance abuse in restaurant workers is quite high and mirrors similar patterns in cops and combat soldiers and others who cope with very high levels of stress, even though, unlike these other professions, in restaurant work, "it's only a plate of food" and "no one died." and that is another subject for another thread unrelated to top chef as such, though i have read some folks' critiques of certain contestants' behaviors, and i've had a totally different read as to the cause of their performance problems. but then i've dropped off and picked up line cooks and servers, repeatedly, at the all-nighter lock-down detox center. "hey what fun to set your own schedule," people say to me, often.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          anyways, if one is to work 60 hours a week making plates of food for 8 or 10 years or so, having one's whole life revolve around making food, yada yada, and that's what you do, you are personally responsible for the food and through that medium of food, you are responsible for the restaurant's success, and your own and your co-workers/employees' livelihoods. heck a lot of restaurant people at the exec level spend more time with food than they do with their families. you can carelessly overcook a steak and flippantly serve it, if you are a hack-- but if you are not a hack, you behave in the opposite manner. again, these folks have their own restaurants and businesses, and presumably know what it is like to have to make those decisions to lay off and fire people, and they know what it is like to lose their own homes and their own families' investments, and to otherwise see the tough human consequences when a restaurant under their own direction does not do well. ultimately, it *is* sometimes about whether the steak is overcooked, or another one of thousands of arguably controllable factors-- that the exec is ultimately responsible for. i don't see any reason to be flippant about a plate of food, when you are used to a plate of food being a serious thing with human consequences. being serious, self-aware and self-critical is different from being paralyzed with insecurity, particularly when you have the tools (technique and method and knowledge) to execute at a high level. the pressure on a self-critical chef in a competition is not the same as that of an inexperienced student stressing out over bluffing their way thru a midterm. the contest is composed of challenges that are sometimes stupid or ill-thought out, but at its core, "winning" (all or parts) will be based on the execution of a craft that these people do for a living, at a high level, and for years and years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            TL, DNR.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You either get it or you don't. It's like religion. And no amount of arguing about it will change. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              +1 :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not that I didn't read and enjoy your long post, but since you mentioned spouses......Am I the only one who found richards wife to be extremely attractive?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: donovt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                yeah, she's pretty hot...and i say that as a 100% heterosexual female.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I found her very hot too, speaking as a 100% heterosexual male. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Aghhhh!!! I don't know why I come to these conclusions, but -- you're a dude?!?! For the longest time, I thought you were a woman (please don't take offense to it -- I mean it as a compliment). And as you made some comments about the attractiveness of certain females, I just thought you were a lesbian.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You don't seem to be understanding my point. I don't disagree with most of what you said, but you don't seem have have addressed the difference between "not winning" and "failing." You can cook very well, execute perfectly, and still not win if the judges liked someone else's food better. You can even make a mistake that causes you to not win and that doesn't mean you're a failure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Everyone makes mistakes. I also work in a field (publishing) where my job is to be perfect. If I make a mistake, literally millions of people will see it. They may not know that I made the mistake, but my boss does, and the people whose work I publish do. And yet, after 25 years, I've come to accept that mistakes are inevitable. I do the best I can. I try to learn from my mistakes to minimize the chances of making similar mistakes in the future. It's also my job to catch other people's mistakes and I can tell you for a fact that even the most brilliant people at the top of their field make mistakes. And if on any given day you make a mistake and someone else doesn't, then you might lose on that particular day. That doesn't make you a failure, that makes you human.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "Failing" is an action, but being "a failure" is an identity. What I mean by having a sense of proportion is that no one competition should define your identity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  here i agree with you. failing is not being a failure

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That you for expressing that so well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    People fail. They make a promise or agreement and, for whatever reason, don't fulfill on it. That doesn't make them a failure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Anyone who is living a "big" life -- one that stretches them beyond what's comfortable or that bring up big expectations -- is going to fail sometimes. But that doesn't mean that they are failures.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Being a failure exist only in one's interpretation. It's not a real thing on the planet. You can't see failure, touch it, smell it, or hear it. It exists, but only in language -- in what we say about what happneed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    People do fail. I fail. You fail. That doesn't make any of us "failures."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The question is, how do we know Richard feels that way? Yes, he wants to perform his best, he wants to win, but there are all kinds of assertions that he considers himself a failure as a person if he doesn't win and I don't see that. I see a man who is driven to win but also someone who is willing to step up and help others, a man who lights up when talking about his child/children to be, a man who obviously loves his wife (I thought it was nice that they looked like they couldn't get enough of each other). I read one person's account here that he went into a deep depression but haven't read anything anywhere else about it. There is so much armchair psychology based on elves' editing, from Jen being called damaged/defectives with possibly paternal abuse and I don't see it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't think we do know how Richard feels. It is apparent that he holds himself to very high standards and trash-talks himself (not that any of the rest of us would do that!). All the rest of the "deep depression" and personal failure stuff is pure speculation. And ultimately pretty disrespectful of a very talented human being.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That's not speculation, that's stuff Richard has said about himself, about choking, deep depression, hating his food, etc. No one here is disrespecting him for it, he's bashing himself constantly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Definitely--he's a perfectionist type A to the nth degree (ooh, how many cliches is that?). As I thought about that, it made me think of Julia Child and how she was when she wrote MtAoFC. She was also the ultimate in perfectionism in that, too. But, at the end of the day, she was happy w/ her results and I'm not sure Richard would be. Or, who knows. I wonder if he's like that with this competition only since I didn't see it on his own show when he does his throwdowns.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            thanks Chowser, the speculation that richard thinks of himself as a failure and an unworthy human being is the thing that bugs me. i frankly think this is pure projection on the part of posters here, though i do agree with everyone else that richard regrets elements of his first performance and is in it to win it this time. restaurant kitchens are about the furthest thing from serene zen gardens, & to think that any of these people haven't dealt with mistakes, shortages, injuries, short staffs, prep cook errors, and innumerable personal and team mistakes. . . you just don't get to this level without being able to deal with a healthy dose of chaos. chefs have to be capable of dealing with a costly mistake in the middle of a stressful fast-paced service and still get something delicious out to the customers-- *because* people make mistakes. *because* shit happens. as stupid as the qf challenges on the show (sometimes) are, they still serve to demonstrate the "roll with it and make something good anyway" element that is in play pretty much all the time in restaurants. if these contestants were paralyzed by feelings of unworthiness they couldn't function, much less put out decent plates for these challenges, and they would be long gone, it seems obvious, at least to me! again my main point is that there is a difference between this perceived morose self-flagellation of feeling "unworthy" and the person who takes personal responsibility for every level of a service, and gets up every day and goes to work knowing that s/he will deal with more chaos and mistakes as a matter of course, and *still* aims for as close to "perfect" as possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ps sorry about the excessive length of that post. i should have written it all at once instead of a para here and a para there, it got too long & rambling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i frankly think this is pure projection on the part of posters here,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              nope. at least not for me. speculation, absolutely - that's true for ALL of us. but i'm aware that my own sh*t is my own, and don't project it onto anyone else. i do, however, recognize a kindred soul when i see one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i absolutely could be wrong about him, and perhaps i've misjudged him based on editing, but the same could be said for the different conclusions drawn by others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Jen is a good example of how debilitating it can be, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I wanted to eat each and every dish last night. And how about Carla breaking out the Liquid Nitro? At first I was surprised, but I wonder if she has a couple tricks up her sleeve she has been saving in case she makes it this far? Obviously it could be all editing, but she didn't seem at all flustered or nervous about using liquid nitrogen, and it didn't seem like it was a suggestion from Richard either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I thought it was interesting that everybody not only cooked from the heart last night, but took some risks too. Mike and Antonia prepared dishes that had failed and hurt other chefs in this same season. Richard included a greenery that would not be expected with the meat he served. Tiffany prepared okra which she knew for a fact Tom doesn't like. And Carla went right back to Southern cooking when it almost got her booted last week (and she used liquid nitrogen as I said). I really enjoyed the EC last night. It's what I love about TC. No silly reality drama, just good food from good inspiration.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Best episode ever--and surely the first time a TC episode has brought me to tears. Even Mike came off a little sympathetically.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I thought Carla's win on QF was well-deserved. She played well: didn't risk running out of time when she wasn't sure of the time, chose a dish that wouldn't suffer from sitting if she finished early, understood the judge.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I probably lack the proper competitive spirit, but I am glad they didn't eliminate either Carla or Tiffany at the end, and everybody's going to the Bahamas! Based on the food alone, it sure looked like they were all winners, proving once again (for me, anyway) that when you cook from the heart and for the people you love, the food really shines.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I hated the cruel way they let Richard know he was staying, but of course it really set up the non-elimination twist at the end.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Next week should be very interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And thanks, Linda: this particular talent of yours is amazing. And good luck: may you soon be typing TC recaps from the comfort of your dream home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And thanks, Linda: this particular talent of yours is amazing. And good luck: may you soon be typing TC recaps from the comfort of your dream home.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        OK, ncw, you just made me cry at work - thanks so much for your sweet words!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          and I echo a hearty second to both comments. May you be sleeping in your bed in YOUR home sooner rather than later. And you are terrific at the recaps, thanks so much for your energy directed here. We all benefit, it is a touchstone to start many fun ( and sometimes heated) discussions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. When I watched the episode last night, I thought the QF was silly and not appropriate for this stage of the competition (although the issue of how much time they had was an interesting wrinkle). But then when I thought about it this morning, it occurred to me that this challenge really showed us who each contestant is as a chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Antonia analyzed the situation and came up with a well-executed, tasty, reliable dish with an interesting but not wacky twist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Carla concentrated on creating a simple presentation of good flavors without overreaching.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Richard reached into his bag of tricks to find an innovative technique and more complex presentation, but as has happened most of the season, fell a little short on flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mike got caught up in trying to use a technique he couldn’t quite execute, and couldn’t deliver on either technique or flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tiffany made something pedestrian, displaying no real creativity either in flavor or technique.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        So maybe there is some merit to these odd challenges after all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Interesting insight from Gail's blog:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "We were really happy that Antonia won and we were thrilled that, after much begging and pleading with our producers, we were able to convince them to let us bring all five of them to the Bahamas with us. At first when Antonia's mother asked if we could bring five chefs we laughed it off, but when we sat down at that Judges' Table, we realized they all were really deserving.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "But rest assured, the Bahamas is where the madness ensues. As you can see in the preview, there's good food and bad food, there's bad hair, there are fires, there's drama – basically everything you could ask for from a finale and more... but only one of them will make it to the very end. That I can promise."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bad hair - wonder who she's talking about??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            At first when Antonia's mother asked if we could bring five chefs we laughed it off, but when we sat down at that Judges' Table, we realized they all were really deserving.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            YAY! I *did* get it right - it *was* Antonia's mother who asked Tom C. about all 5 going, not Richard's wife as I later thought after I shut down the computer last night. Phew. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              re: Bad hair

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Perhaps Michael V? He looks ... different hairdew ... In the Bahama preview

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bad hair - wonder who she's talking about??
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Gail may very well be referring to herself if, like many of us, her hair frizzes in humid weather.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think she *might* be referring to the part where they dive for their food, and have to make something...I am assuming from the previews. Richard Blais' hairdo was kinda crazy when he's at JT. I will be glued to my TV!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And I agree with the Hosea comments. Go get um Carla!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I adored this episode...but did anyone else cry darn near through the whole thing?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I totally thought Tiffany was going home because of Tom's "Coco Chanel" remark. I guess there will be a double elimination next episode and I always dislike those.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                When Padma said Richards name, I gasped and shouted NO! LOL I'm all alone this morning with my dogs and they scattered because that's usually the same reaction to a dumped garbage can. I had to actually pause the show and reassure them they weren't in trouble.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sommrluv

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LOL! Poor pupsters!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sommrluv

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've scared my birds before by shouting a reaction to TC. We have to remember our furry/feathered friends!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sommrluv

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i did the same but my dad's dog ignored me, as usual! "No" means nothing to her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Sounds like I'm going to be in the minority but I think this was one of the most useless, waste of time episodes in Top Chef. Did they even show more than 10 minutes of ACTUAL COOKING in an extended episode? I can understand the need to build up to the EC but the build-up was the majority of the episode.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Then the total cop-out of allowing everybody to go onto the finale. Thinking about it makes it obvious that they were probably never going to cut anyone in this episode, I mean could you really see Tom bashing a chefs food in front of their Mom/Wife? It seems to me at this point in the game that any minor flaws should be pointed out and laid bare, its what separates the top chefs from the rest of the pack. I was pissed though in the way that Padma told Richard he was going through since he is my #1 to win it all. He did not look happy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I predict goodbye Mike next episode, I don't envy him having to cook against M. Voltaggio.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gmk1322

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't think it was a cop-out or pre-planned. See my post above re: Gail's blog on Bravo, and this from her blog on EW:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Very often people get so mad when we kick people off, but the entire point of this show is that it’s a competition. We don’t do it for our own entertainment. And you saw that even when Antonia’s mom asked at the table if we could have all five chefs go to the finale, we kind of laughed, like, “That’s ridiculous!” But when we got to Judges’ Table, we realized there was no way to penalize any of them for what they had made. We, for the first time, were at a stalemate. We just couldn’t think of a legitimate reason to get rid of anyone. But I don’t want anyone to think that this is setting a precedent. This is not the point of the show. It took probably an hour of begging our producers to let us do it. They kept us there for a while, saying “Guys, deal with it. Make a decision.” Then finally, after a long time of hashing it out and none of us feeling comfortable, we decided to bring everyone to the finale. Rest assured, we will be eliminating every single person except one in the finale. There will not be Top Chefs! We just prolonged the inevitable. It does not let someone off with a free ride."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I enjoyed this episode, but it didnt touch me or pull my heart-strings at all..I'm not sure why.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The only moment I did get a bit emotional was when Mike was at JT and talking about his grandma.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I aslo thought Richards wife seems like a cold fish!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: gmk1322

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I wasn't as thrilled with this ep as everyone else either. I felt like the family thing was there just to pull the heartstrings (I must be toughening up cuz I didn't cry at this the way I do when Troy Brown retires or something). I certainly didn't see the need for it to be 15 min longer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And I agree with the "Padma Mail!" look to some of the episode, the DVD and all crowded like kids in the back seat of the car. I assume/hope there'll be little of that in the Bahamas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gmk1322

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Nothing this eps broke new ground, as far as reality competition shows ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Project Runway has done loved one challenges for a long time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And the no elimination "surprise" on the episode leading to final was done on Project Runway season 7. In that season, with 4 contestants left, the judges picked the top 2, but could not or would not decide between eliminating the bottom 2, so invited both create fashion week lines, and would as the first part of the finale pick one of them to join the top 2 to officially show on the finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gmk1322

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              They have had family on TC before and criticized dishes in front of that family, so I'm not sure where you are coming from there. And even if they didn't bash the dishes in front of the family, how does that stop them from eliminating someone? The truth is that the judges had one favorite dish (Antonia's) and 4 dishes that were equally excellent. Or I suppose two dishes that were almost perfect and two that were equally good. If a coinflip would have been the only way to choose, how would that be fair? And it isn't a cop-out. The judges still have to eliminate four people eventually, so the burden is not lifted for them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. So they're bringing 5 to the Bahamas. But that means two chefs will likely get the boot in the next episode. At least that's how I have it figured.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              After watching the judging, I would have been more surprised if they had NOT decided to take all five since it appeared none of them even had a slight screw-up in the execution of their dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              (Almost every time I hear or use the word 'execution' I'm reminded of Coach Jim Mora when he was with the NOLA Saints. When asked by a reporter about his team's execution, he said he was in favor of it).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ok, I never heard that chestnut before. It made me laugh out loud, thanks...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Okay, so today I've just been trolling for recaps, and here's a great line from one I found:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "The chefs mourning the loss of Dale. Of course, most of us were shocked that he went home... But Blais takes it harder than the rest: “I wanted to tell Dale more than I told him there at the end…I wanted to go to the end with Dale. This is probably the only elimination that I’m sad about.” Did you guys hear that? That was the sound of Italian teardrops splashing onto a turtle shell. Oh, you just love ‘em and leave ‘em huh Richard? You’ve forgotten about Fabio ALREADY? Wasn’t it only five minutes ago that you offered to take him to Barbados? Remind me never wind up in a bromance with that guy. Player."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And this: "I loved how Carla finished the intro to her dish with “…very refreshing after your cheese soup.” Suck it, Mike."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://blogs.ajc.com/food-and-more/20...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And they have a screenshot of the photo of Mike as a disco-dancing lad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I did love Carla's comment about her orange salad after Mike's drecky soup. And I seriously LOVE LOVE LOVE that picture of Mike in pink spandex! LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    On twitter, Fabio commented about Blais not being sad when he was eliminated too :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Cherveny

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The honeymoon is over. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Dying laughing. I felt exactly the same way! Richard, you fickle two-timer, you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. I actually switched off after the QF. I simply lost interest and couldn't be bothered watching.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The middle might have been a little slow, but the cooking was really good. You should catch the last half hour or so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Then you missed a great show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. The picture of Mike in his pink dance pants was ADORABLE and I thought he was a pretty good sport about having it outed for all the world to see. Am I alone in thinking that he and Antonia actually have a little romantic chemistry??? Seems like the whole "we're related" thing is really distant and they're in no way actual cousins...so I'm just saying it wouldn't surprise me if they got together!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Anyway, I enjoyed the episode, emotional tugs and all. They all rocked their EC dishes and it confirmed how important food is in creating traditions and memories and how it can unleash such wonderful and emotional responses.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, and I laughed when Richard mentioned his wife being an athelete and how competitive she was...they must be quite a couple as Richard is insanely competitive! His constantly pinched and strained face is kind of starting to grate on my nerves. I know this is an intense competition, they ALL want to win, but for crap sake take a breath. I do agree that the fake out PYKAG was cruel and not necessary and in that moment I really felt for the guy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: browneyedwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Seems like the whole "we're related" thing is really distant and they're in no way actual cousins...so I'm just saying it wouldn't surprise me if they got together!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mike's wife might not be too keen on that idea ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ack! Did not know he was married...I take it back. Just forget I ever mentioned it ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: browneyedwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i assumed you didn't know :) he got married right after his season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I remembered reading about his wedding during his season, but noticed last night he wasn't wearing a wedding ring, so maybe he isn't married anymore (though some people don't ever wear a ring).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Debbie M

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Imagine how delighted she must be for the world to know she married a bogger flinging, belching and farting putz. I guess there really *is* a cover for every pot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Debbie M

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i'm not sure i've noticed a wedding band on most of the married chefs, except maybe Blais. and i'm not saying this to be mean, but i suspect Mike's simply may not fit anymore given all the weight he's put on since his wedding!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe he doesn't like to wear a ring while he's working -- a lot of men don't like to wear a ring when they're working with their hands.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          it's not just the men - i haven't noticed bands on the married women either. i'm thinking about it now and i'm pretty sure Carla doesn't wear one...?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i always take off my jewelry when i'm working in the kitchen. not only is it more comfortable, i don't want to worry about getting crud stuck in anything! it drives me nuts to see the FN personalities wearing all their bling while they're preparing food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Add me to the list of people who loved this episode. I thought everyone was really likeable, loved hearing their family stores, love that everyone performed to the best of their ability. I thought Richard was a riot when he said they know he's crazy enough already, don't mess with his head even more. And, though I'm not a fan of Mike's, as he was rolling out his gnocchi, I thought they looked amazingly light and fluffy. I'd love to know how he does it. Yay for Carla for thinking outside the box and using liquid nitrogen to help firm up her grits--very clever. And, I'm so happy for Antonia for winning. Her risotto also looked great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Amazing how quickly this went from one being one of my favorite episodes to one I despise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The QF was a totally throwaway, only there to set up the EC. I'm OK with that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The family stuff and the EC format was a good concept. The work on screen and the interactions were a lot of fun to watch. (Did anyone else think Chicken Lady's husband ALSO looks like a muppet? Just a little?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But the decision not to eliminate anyone was a complete cop out. I get that they all did well. I was even hoping Chicken Lady would produce a strong final dish so that it would be strong all the way around. Imagine how disappointing it would have been if there were 4 great dishes and one disaster. No suspense at all, which is no fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But to decide to keep them all? Part of the appeal, I think, is that they have to make hard decisions. The contestants have to struggle through the challenge, why shouldn't the judges have to struggle on their part.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bah.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As Gail said on her blog, all it does is delay the inevitable for judges. If they spend hours rehashing the dishes and still stay at a stalemate, what is so wrong with keeping all five? Would it be more fair to send someone home based on a coin flip? Because the impression we are given is that there was no way to choose one dish as less-than. Time and again we are told that the dishes in front of the judges are the only dishes considered, so in a 4-way tie, I don't know what else would be fair.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'd be pissed if I was the winner or runner-up of this episode and nobody got eliminated. The cheftastants generally know that if they win an EC, they move up a least one slot, now the EC winner could get eliminated next and go home 5th.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It feels like a cop out. They weren't perfect dishes. There was even a comment by Tom to Chicken Lady along the lines of "there were some issues with the vegetables, but overall a great dish." So not perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I expect to see a winner and a loser. I didn't get that. I feel cheated. I know it has happened before (with the RW a couple of back, for instance), but for AS, they are all supposed to be good dishes. It should be hard. That doesn't mean they should get to duck the question and hope two people screw up next time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chicken lady?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: fame da lupo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That's a reference to Carla Hall.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fame da lupo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            that is his condescending, deragatory name for one of the contestants, Carla Hall

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: karenfinan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              not to start trouble or beat a dead horse, but this is precisely what i meant last week when i said people were being so sensitive and defensive. the "Chicken Lady" name came from the observation that during the Target challenge she was running around the store like a chicken with its head cut off - it's a common metaphor, and not intended to be condescending or derogatory...at least that's not my intention when i use it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                well, he has made his strong distast for Carla very clear,and to me it does sound condescending and deragatory. Would he say that to her face? No, most likely not. Anyhow, we see it differently.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: karenfinan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  not trying to get you to see it my way, i just wanted to make my personal intention clear. when i repeated the term at some point i wasn't saying it to be mean, i actually just think it's a lighthearted, good-natured joke...and i assumed that's how Pylon meant it as well...though i could be wrong ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Spot on, GHG. It's all in good fun. And yes, I'd say it to her face. Otherwise, I wouldn't say it here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Lighten up, Karen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      and i think carla would laugh. :) why i like her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: karenfinan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i agree with GHG, i think some of us also saw it as just a funny, silly way for some to refer to her - much like some referred to Marcel as "a wolverine". but NOT at all the same as when some referred to him and/or Mikey as a "douche".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    WHOH, huiray, whoa......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i like her. but i get why you don't. that said don't you have to admit she was way less chicken ladyish tonight? and the orange salad was smart and looked good considering. and she used liquid nitrogen. come on... gotta give her some love (ok at least respect) today. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Without question, she got a much better edit this week. Like I said, I was hoping she brought a strong finish to the EC, and she did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As far as the QC, I don't know how good it was (not getting a bite), but it was a smart play to do something in the opposite direction of everyone else. Credit where due.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But it does not make her less Chickeny.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. for anyone who doesn't already read the website www.skilletdoux.com, Carla's husband is a frequent contirbutor- no spoilers what with the very strict contract Carla has with Bravo, but interesting behind the scenes perspective.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: karenfinan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            link is invalid due to the comma. here's a working one:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.skilletdoux.com/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Silvestri's blog is up on Eater, and it's another gem...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://eater.com/archives/2011/03/03/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i laughed so hard at this line i was choking:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Mike's feeling frisky and mashes up some hot dog buns with sour cream and cheddar cheese. It's a "peasant-style" bread soup. He calls it "peasant-style" because only someone who craps in a hole and worries about leprosy would eat that soup."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I like the reference to Lost: "The boat is your clock, and Penny is your constant."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And about Richard: "Richard makes a crazy bahn mi sandwich. How does he boil the hot dogs you're wondering? Oh just with the MRE pack he keeps in his knife kit at all times. Are you kidding me? This guy is Richard Blais Dean Anderson. A total winner."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                thanks for the Lost explanation - i've never seen the show so i had no idea what he was talking about!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                BTW, he's obviously young if his frame of reference for Zelda Rubenstein is "the littler old lady in Teen Witch." hello, Poltergeist?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I know - I saw her and thought "Teen Witch? WTH is that?" I immediately thought Poltergeist as well (but with Zelda being MUCH older!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: goodhealthgourmet