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Top Chef All-Stars - Ep. #15 (Finale Pt. 3) - 03/23/11 (Spoilers)

We're getting there - just two more episodes!

After Tiffany's left the Stew Room, the remaining three talk about how good a competitor she was. Mike is pleased he's winning; Richard isn't worried that Mike's on a streak. As Richard said - Mike's won 2 challenges on his seasons of TC; Richard's won 8. :-)

Padma and Wolfgang Puck meet them in the kitchen...Their last Quickfire will be choice of seven Classic Quickfires from seasons past. And each chef gets to choose for another chef what their challenge will be!

Since Mike won the last EC, he chooses first:

Mike gives Antonia = Canned Foods
Antonia gives Richard = Hot Dogs
Richard gives Mike = One Pot

Antonia isn't pleased with what Richard chose for Mike, but we'll see!

Antonia goes with a Curry Coconut Soup with Shrimp and Andouille and spices.
Mike makes Pork and Beans (pork shoulder and black beans) with a spicy chili paste
Richard makes Curry Wurst with homemade Roti Bread and a Spicy Ketchup

But what's this? Padma shows up in the kitchen EARLY! Rut-roh! And sure enough - there's a twist....each chef gets to assign a classic Top Chef twist to another!

Richard gives Mike = cooking with no utensils or knives
Antonia gives Richard = Cooking with one hand
Antonia takes = cooking in a double apron...and she gets to cook with Carla!

Mike doesn't seem to have a problem, as he used a pressure cooker as his "one pot" - so he's standing around doing nothing. Meanwhile, Richard's having issues with trying to cut limes with one hand, and Antonia seems to be doing well having Carla by her side.

Wolfgang and Padma taste the items - he *really* seems to like Richard's dish, but it was a bit too ketchupy. He liked Antonia's soup, but very highly spiced. Mike seems also to do well.

The winner is Mike yet again! He wins $5,000. NOW Richard seems to be feeling the pressure (not that he doesn't always feel the pressure!)

They head out to The Cloisters the next morning, and meet up with Puck, Masaharu Morimoto, and Michelle Bernstein. They are to create a Last Supper for each.

Mike chooses Michelle Bernstein - AND gets to assign the other chefs! He gives Morimoto to Antonia, and Puck goes to Richard. He's definitely playing the game! Sure enough, however, Padma says there will be another twist - which will be revealed later. And for the first time in a LONG time in Top Chef, only TWO of the chefs will go on to the actual finale!

Richard for Puck - Goulash, Spaetzle, and Apple Strudel
Mike for Bernstein - Fried Chicken, Biscuits and Gravy
Antonia for Morimoto - Miso Soup, Picked Vegetables and Sashimi

Back at the hotel, Mike says he has it the hardest - both Antonia and Richard disagree with him. Antonia said her dishes are the toughest, and if she pulls it off, it will be kudos to her. Richard says Mike has the easiest, as he's not dealing with different cultures. Mike says he's never made biscuits before, and Antonia said "you will tomorrow!" He said "Nope, not doing that - I'll be doing my own thing" and Richard says he'll be doing the same thing with Puck's Last Supper.

THIS is going to be interesting!

Tom Colicchio shows up in the kitchen to talk to them - even *he* thinks that Mike picked the easiest dish! He thinks that Richard, who can break down a dish, might be able to manage this task easiest. He said if Antonia can pull off making Morimoto's dish, she can compete.

But it turns out the hamachi is bad - almost rancid! She has to go with tuna. Richard cannot get the lid off the pressure cooker; he knows he cannot choke in this round!

Melanie Dunea, who wrote "The Last Supper" joined the judges at the table.

Antonia serves first - Tuna Sashimi, Pickled Daikon, and Miso Soup. Soup was too salty, per Morimoto, and Gail Simmons choked on the tiny piece of scotch bonnet pepper on her tuna sashimi - effectively wiping out the taste of the tuna.

Mike is up next - he made Fried Chicken with Pea Puree, Egg Yolk Empanada, and Mustard Gravy. The batter on the white meat wasn't crispy (perhaps because he chose to sous vide the chicken first?), and Morimoto's white meat was dry, but most seem to like it.

Richard made Goulash with Spaetzle and Frozen Sour Cream, with Apple Strudel with Frozen Tarragon Cream and Ras al Hanout. This is one where everyone seemed to really like the dish (including Morimoto!) Puck said his mother would have liked this dish - high praise! I'm thinking it's going to be Richard who gets the "win" of being named first into the finale.

Padma calls them back into the dining room - and Tom announces that Richard is moving on to the final round!! YAY Richard! BUT - that envelope comes out again! Rut-roh! Richard's glad he's through to the finale - he can see Michael and Antonia are super nervous.

Padma gives the envelope to Antonia - who reads "You have one more challenge to see who claims the last spot in the finale." Tom said they have 45 minutes to create one bite - 7 diners, 7 bites. Antonia and Mike scramble back to the kitchen (while Richard just kind of stands there! LOL)

Mike is sweating in his beef tenderloin and lobster tail. Antonia seems to be hung up on curry flavors - she's using group and curried coconut flavors - a Seared Group with Coconut Lobster Broth. Mike ends up with a "surf and turf" - Tempura Lobster and Beef Tartare with Red Chili Potatoes with two sauces - a Chimichurri Sauce and a Olive Caramel Sauce.

After trying them both, Padma polls the judges - they're evenly split - three to three, until they come down to Wolfgang Puck. He like Antonia's flavors (although Tom thinks that the curry flavor was too overspiced), but he likes Mike's preparation. Who's it going to be? It could go either way! (Kind of hoping for Antonia!)

We're back...Mike looks like a deer caught in the headlights. And who's it going to be? It's Mike who gets the win - Antonia is to pack her knives and go. :-( Sorry to see her go.

Preview shows the earlier kicked off cheftestants coming back to be sous chefs....AND at the end of that preview, I *think* I see who Padma tells "You ARE Top Chef!" I won't say how, but I think I know. At least I *hope* I'm right! LOL

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  1. thanks so much for the recap - I will be checking in to see how the rest of the episode goes. My kids love Top Chef, so I record it & then we watch it together at an earlier time. I have to know what happens, so I read your posts!

    10 Replies
    1. re: elfcook

      Thanks very much! I only have one more to go, thank goodness!

      1. re: LindaWhit

        This is better than the DVR, do you want to recap the NCAA games for me? :)

        1. re: Phaedrus

          ROFLMAO! Ummmm....no. ;-)

          But I'm going to take that as a compliment, Phaedrus.

          1. re: Phaedrus

            why do that? all you have to do is watch the last two minutes and youve seen the whole game

            1. re: mattstolz

              not when my beloved Aztecs keep me on the edge of my seat through double overtime!

          2. re: LindaWhit

            What do you mean one more to go...you are not planning to watch TC Masters 2??

            1. re: LJNew

              Isn't it masters 3? Pretty sure already had 2 seasons.

              1. re: LJNew

                one more to go for TC8 - Masters is a separate thing altogether. and as Cherveny pointed out, it'll be the 3rd season of TCM.

                1. re: LJNew

                  One more for TC8. I don't do write-ups for TCM seasons. :-) But yes, I will watch.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    Oh - OK.
                    Thanks for getting the ball rolling with these posts anyway. I am sure there will be some posts for TCM as well.

                    TCM 3 then, folks.

            2. This will be interesting...the wait is killing me!

              1. aaahaahhhhhahhhhhhh!!!! I am so bummed. I really wanted Antonia to win it all. The rest will be anticlimatic, Mike, Richard, who cares-

                16 Replies
                1. re: karenfinan

                  Well, maybe *you* don't care, but I know I do! (And I think there are many others who do as well!)

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    I care! I really, really, really wanted Antonia to get in there with Richard. I've never pulled so hard for a contestant from my couch! That being said though, I want Richard to win it, he deserves it.

                    1. re: Angel Food

                      I would have loved seeing Antonia be there with Richard as well. I found her much more likable this go-round than in her season and liked her food a lot more as well.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        nooooo.... I really wanted a Richard v Antonia final episode finale! boo! mike really played ithe game well this episode - darnit! :)

                  2. re: karenfinan

                    I don't care either, Blais vs. Antonia would have been a lot more interesting and I've had about as much of Mike as I can take for one lifetime. The way they conducted that episode was ridiculous.

                    1. re: tofuburrito

                      Mike's ideas are more interesting (caramel olive, wtf?) - I think he very deservedly will face Blais in the final.

                      1. re: fame da lupo

                        I am not so much a fan of Mike's personality but I agree that he's a more worthy competitor to Richard (duck). He was much more imaginative last night. I was kind of astounded that Antonia went for curry *twice* last night.

                        1. re: DGresh

                          and not just curry, coconut milk-based curry...i think she even used peanuts [again] in the one-bite challenge. it sounded like she was repeating her canned food QF dish! i'm certainly no fan of Mike's, but based solely on his performance the past few weeks i have to agree with you that he earned a spot in the finale over Antonia. ugh, i hate that i just had to say that.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            have to agree with both of you, on everything you've said.

                          2. re: fame da lupo

                            Did anyone else gag a little when they heard "caramel olive"?

                            1. re: Nettie

                              the eater.com blog that GHG posted describes it as caramelized olives, which makes more sense, but it did sound odd. tho they seemed to like it, when paired with the food. i think Gayle said she hated it on its own.

                          1. re: karenfinan

                            I liked Antonia this season, but at least this way it will be very easy to root for Richard in the finale, if it was Richard vs. Antonia it would have been harder to choose.

                            1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                              They may both be really likable people, but Antonia is no match for Richard as a chef.

                              1. re: chicgail

                                I'd rate Antonia higher than Mike, but really, you are probably right in regards to both of them. This has been an odd season, I think Jennifer, Casey, Dale, or Angelo all could have been stronger competitors for the finale. As it is, Richard just needs to make sure he doesn't psych himself out and defeat himself.

                          2. I was hoping the twist was that Antonia and Mike would have to cook each others dishes.....Antonia-Fried Chicken, Biscuits and Gravy and Mike-Miso Soup and Bento Box....would that have been more fair??

                            31 Replies
                            1. re: christy1122

                              Now THAT would have been a great challenge - but would take too long, I think. I think Antonia would have taken that one. :-)

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                I totally agree Linda.....she would have rocked it out! When they get to pick each other's "challenge", the ultimate twist would be to have to make the same dish as your competitor....I was disappointed with the "small bite" challenge.

                              2. re: christy1122

                                I was thinking the very same thing. Antonia having to do a Bento Box for Morimoto - maybe a trained Japanese sushi chef would have had an outside chance ...

                                1. re: bobbert

                                  That's overstating the difficulty in this case. There's nothing insanely hard about miso soup, pickled vegetables, and sashimi. As Japanese food goes, those aren't super challenging preparations. The bigger problem was that it was out of Antonia's comfort zone. Technique-wise, Richard's assignment was probably harder, though more familiar to many Westerners.

                                  On top of that, her mistakes should have been pretty easy to avoid in the first place, even for someone untrained in Japanese cuisine - she got too much salt in her miso soup (understandable, but taste your food) and garnished her tuna with chunks of raw scotch bonnet pepper (what the hell was she thinking?) You don't have to be a trained sushi chef to avoid these problems.

                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                    She must have been thinking, very wrongly, that the Scotch bonnet pepper would take the place of wasabi for the sashimi. As for overly salty miso soup, I agree that she should have tasted it. It's easy enough to fix. I wish Mike had gotten cooking with one hand - can you imagine trying to get the lid off the pressure cooker?
                                    I was sorry to see Antonia go. I'll be rooting for Richard next week. I don't think I could stand it if Mike won - he's insufferable enough already!

                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                      The difficulty is in who you're making it for; perhaps the greatest Japanese chef of all time. That an absurd quickfire could lead to such a huge difference in the challenges the contestants had to face led me to the conclusion that Top Chef jumped the shark last night.
                                      I also think that skin falling off fried chicken is a much greater error than slightly salty miso soup.

                                      1. re: tofuburrito

                                        I couldn't agree more on that one. Getting the skin right on fried chicken is critical!

                                        1. re: tofuburrito

                                          I totally agree on the Chicken....I thought it was doomed when Michelle said the Chicken was not crispy...

                                          1. re: tofuburrito

                                            They edited it to make it seem like the miso was more than slightly salty - e.g. Gail's rush to her water glass.

                                            1. re: fame da lupo

                                              IIRC that was in response to the Scotch Bonnet, not the soup.

                                              1. re: Pylon

                                                yep, she chugged water after that scotch bonnet.

                                                1. re: edible complex

                                                  and started coughing....it seemed to me there were mixed reports of whther the skin was crispy or not. something about the white meat? Also, I still don't get why he souvied(sp) it first.

                                            2. re: tofuburrito

                                              Morimoto is no more illustrious than Wolfgang Puck - don't let the lines of cookware and airport food and cheap chicken stock fool you. The man has been huge in American cooking for decades. I don't know who between the chefs was the hardest to please - that's based on their personalities, which I don't know. But Puck is no man's sous chef.

                                              "I also think that skin falling off fried chicken is a much greater error than slightly salty miso soup."
                                              ______
                                              Depends on how salty the soup was. If it was inedible due to salt, that is typically a much bigger problem on Top Chef. It didn't quite seem that excessive (who knows though?), and it's an easy mistake to make since miso soup should be a little salty.

                                              On the other hand, adding scotch bonnets to tuna sashimi is much less understandable. Too salty miso soup or loose crust on fried chicken are both errors of execution I might expect from a decent chef in a timed contest. Adding scotch bonnets to tuna sashimi is a clueless amateur move.

                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                I think she was thinking scotch bonnets would take the place of wasabi, but their types of heat are very different, and the level of heat is so high on scotch bonnets, you REALLY have to be careful using them. Wondering if the hamachi switch out to tuna at the last minute flustered her a bit, which, in such a stressful situation can often lead to mistakes in judegement being made.

                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                  I have respect for Wolfgang as well as Michelle Bernstein but I think Morimoto was the toughest draw. Very few chefs can create as Morimoto does and as good as Puck and Bernstein are there are a lot of chefs who can do what they do.

                                                  1. re: tofuburrito

                                                    Morimoto probably was the toughest draw, but not by as much of a margin as people are making it out to be. And that wasn't because Morimoto is more masterful (or whatever) than Puck, but because Japanese cooking was probably less familiar to the chefs, and also less able to be fudged with Western techniques - the basic techniques and philosophy of Japanese cooking can be a bit alien to Westerners, more so even than other Asian cooking traditions.

                                                    Still, as Japanese food goes, her assignment wasn't that hard. It was common, simple preparations that most people who've eaten Japanese food would be familiar with.

                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                      I agree but I think if she had executed it perfectly she still probably wouldn't have won unless the other two both had major errors. I don't dispute Mike won fairly in accordance with the rules, what annoys me is that at this stage of the competition my preference would have been for less gimmicky challenges.
                                                      I think it is possible for the competition can be fair and entertaining. When one chef is practically eliminated from a chance at winning before the challenge even begins I don't see what the point is.

                                              2. re: cowboyardee

                                                Japenese food is very simple, deceptively so. Because they do things so simply they demand that the foods are season subly and unobstrusively so that the taste of the food comes through. What tastes bland to us may taste perfectly seasoned to a Japanese palate. I think the scotch bonnet is also a matter of competing palates. The essence of sashimi is to taste the fish with very little adornment or dressing.

                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                  Sashimi is best with nothing on it, I can't imagine using one of the world's hottest peppers as its accompaniment.

                                                  1. re: fame da lupo

                                                    But if that's how she served it Morimoto would have been happy and Tom would have said, "she didn't do anything but cut up some fish. She was in the very difficult position of having to make something uncluttered while at the same time adding her own interpretation and keeping the non hard core sushi people interested.
                                                    Contrast that with Blais and Mike who both were free to interpret their own versions.

                                                    1. re: tofuburrito

                                                      The point is, there is no interpretation needed. How she really could have wowed people is by her knife work and how well she presented the aesthetics.

                                                      There is a saying in China: he adds legs when he paints snakes. meaning the person is overembellishing, that is what I think the scotch bonnett did to her dish.

                                                      This is what makes her challenge more difficult.

                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                        I agree but I think if she does it perfectly it comes off as boring to most of the judges in comparison to her competition. It also makes it impossible to put her own spin on it.

                                                      2. re: tofuburrito

                                                        "But if that's how she served it Morimoto would have been happy and Tom would have said, "she didn't do anything but cut up some fish."
                                                        ______
                                                        I am fairly certain that if she had found a nice piece of fish and cut it well and served it unadorned at the right temperature, Tom would have praised her confidence and her understanding of Japanese cuisine. I'd bet that Tom has great respect for and understanding of Japanese food.

                                                        On top of that, if she absolutely HAD TO season and garnish the fish, why on earth would she pick scotch bonnets to do it? That's a terrible idea.

                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                          I agree it was a bad idea but she didn't have the luxury of turning a biscuit into an egg filled epanada because it better suited her abilities.

                                                            1. re: tofuburrito

                                                              It may have been the extended judge's table clip from bravo.com - Tom said she could have taken liberties with the soup - not tried to make a dashi if she didn't know how, used a mushroom broth, etc. Also, even if she made miso soup traditionally, she could have added a special touch or two to it without destroying the integrity and effect of miso soup - that was a good opportunity for her to garnish a bit and distinguish herself.

                                                              I agree that sashimi was a problematic for a competition for the reasons you stated, though I still think at least Tom would have given her high marks for delivering a nice, well-cut piece of fish simply (fans, on the other hand...)

                                                    2. re: cowboyardee

                                                      That's kinda the point. I'm sure she could have made the "basic" sashimi that one see's in 99 of 100 sushi places but, to make something "special" for Morimoto, she had to try something different and take a risk with an unfamiliar cuisine. The guy at the kiosk in the food court at the mall can slice a piece of raw tuna as well as anyone, so what's she supposed to do? She took a shot at it and made some mistakes.
                                                      The good part of the challenge is that they seem to have realized that part 1 might not have been totally fair so they gave Mike and Antonia a second chance with an even playing field. That made up for any unfair advantage/disadvantage any of the chefs had in the 1st part of the challenge.

                                                      1. re: bobbert

                                                        It's not just that she garnished the fish (which is supposed to be the star). It's also that she chose an absurdly hot pepper to do it, when almost any other choice would have been more subtle and allowed the fish to shine more. It was anathema to Japanese cooking to treat raw fish like that.

                                                      2. re: cowboyardee

                                                        It's true that the menu for Morimoto was relatively simple, but for that reason it required pristine, perfect ingredients and it appeared that the hamachi Antonia initially wanted to use was not sushi-fresh even if it was sushi-grade. It was also much more difficult to "adapt" such a menu with creative cooking methods or alternative ingredients. Scotch bonnet just wouldn't work as a substitute for wasabi, but Antonia may have felt compelled not to use a prepared wasabi. Agreed, Antonia's was the most difficult challenge, and I, too, wish that the end-game plot-twist had been for Mike and Antonia to swap menus.

                                                    3. re: christy1122

                                                      I was thinking they'd have to redo their dish to address the JT critiques...but perhaps that would be too easy...

                                                    4. I knew Richard won this EC from the intro. When Richard said Mike has won two ECs in two seasons while he has won eight, I looked it up. That quote from Richard was from after the judging because Richard does have eight wins, but that includes this one. Although the wikipedia chart isn't giving him a win, simply an 'in' and in fact Tom said he was safe and in the finals, not that he was the winner.

                                                      23 Replies
                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                        Oh, NICE catch, John! And I just checked out Wikipedia after reading your post, and it looks like it's been updated - Richard has the "win" for tonight's EC.

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          Actually, I think I'm going with 7-1/3 EC wins for Richard. His first win this year was the team thing from the museum episode where he, Angelo and Marcel made some kind of fruit salad.

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            I don't know when they did it, but the Wikipedia site now has Richard with an 'in' instead of 'win'. In the episodic descriptions they point out that no winner was declared, that Richard was the first chef announced as continuing to the finale, but no winner was declared.

                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                              Interesting - I'm still seeing it with the green WIN. I suppose that's cached info. And I still think it was a "win" - first one to be named in the finale? That's a win.

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                Does Bravo have a similar page where these details are posted? I supppse the Wikipedia entry is being done by an avid TC viewer but I don't know much about it. I do know that they did not declare Richard the winner. They didn't have a high and low group so 'in' seems to be the most logical description. I'm sure Richard agrees with you.

                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                  No, I've not seen anything like that on Bravo's site. The only place *might* be Monica Reyhani's blog (Team Top Chef) - but all she says is "Richard had a seemingly easy time with it. He moved on to the finale. Mazel tov, Richard!"

                                                                    1. re: Cherveny

                                                                      Interesting - so they are saying Blais "won" the EC. (And just shows how bad their website is - I never even noticed the scorecard in the listing of links - I just go to the blogs.)

                                                                      However, I also noticed that they say "The Last Supper" is Episode 16, while it's actually Ep. 15. They skipped right over that number. :-)

                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                        They also skipped over the quickfire winners on episode 13. It must have been too confusing to them to have 5 quickfire winners, 2 of whom were not actually this year's contestants.

                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                  And I still think it was a "win" - first one to be named in the finale? That's a win.
                                                                  ~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                  agreed. the judges clearly chose his dish over the other two - how is that not winning? silly.

                                                                3. re: John E.

                                                                  Seems like a question of semantics. Technically speaking, Richard did not "win", but functionally, he won.

                                                                  1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                    Agreed. He was the only one after the dinner to be IN. Both others still had to compete for a spot. I seriously doubt that they chose him randomly to not participate in the one bite round.

                                                                    1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                      But since scores are not kept, it doesn't really matter. Although Richard really cannot claim it as a win since he was not actually declared the winner. Have they done this before?

                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                        If Richard claims it as a win, are you gonna write him an angry letter?

                                                                        I'm with LurkerDan - all semantics. Richard won.

                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                          Nah, I don't care that much, but it is curious because they have been precise in the past about actually declaring winners and losers (PPYKAG).

                                                                4. re: John E.

                                                                  ok, i don't understand. So, Richard didn't "win" this one, and the other two didn't lose either - i mean, what happened to the actual EC challenge for Mike & Antonia? The judges never judged them! I mean, they did, but then their two dishes were for naught, because M&A ended up being judged only for the last bite challenge, right? i'm not being clear, but do you get what i mean? I know they've done this before, but .....

                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                    I think the judges judged them and found their dishes inferior to Richard's, though they chose not to elaborate on whether Mike's chicken or Antonia's bento was worse. They were judged on their 'last meal' - that judgement was why they had to cook a single bite challenge and Richard didn't. From the descriptions and comments, I suspect Antonia would have went home anyway if they had to make a decision based on the 'last meals.'

                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                      I'm betting, if they didn't have the final twist, Antonia would probably still have lost. A couple judges mentioned couldn't taste the tuna because of the peppers, and not being able to taste the main protein of a dish is a pretty major flub.

                                                                      1. re: Cherveny

                                                                        I thought the "twist" was much more in her favor as well. Looked like Mike had her beat.

                                                                  2. re: John E.

                                                                    Very good eye.

                                                                    I had figured out that Antonia lost this episode when she started talking about losing her season before the finale. She started crying. I thought that was odd - that she should have gotten over it by now, that there was no reason to cry about another season if you were about to possibly win this season. Then it occurred to me that she was crying because she lost again, and the interview was taken after the judges table (likely she was talking about getting eliminated this season in the first place).

                                                                    Two big slips in one episode - the elves are getting a little sloppy.

                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                      I thought the same thing about the tears.

                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                        I was trying to play that game as well, but thought that Mike was too demure (bet you never thought that modifier would describe Mike Isabella) in talking about his one-bite dish.

                                                                    2. Linda, you must share what you *think* you see! Or at least give us some hints so we can speculate too.

                                                                      I know who I want to win it. I know who I think will win it, but I didn't pick up on the cues you did. This sounds good.

                                                                      47 Replies
                                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                                        OK - watch it again - and watch the direction of where Padma is looking when she says "YOU are Top Chef". Again - I'm HOPING I'm right! LOL

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          I hope you're right too. I noticed that right away (along with how happy Richard and Tom both looked). I'm only hoping it isn't creative editing on Bravo's part. (Having watched WAY too many episodes of The Bachelor where they edit like crazy...)

                                                                          1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                            And NOW I'm freaking out, because I just read "Team Top Chef" blog at Bravo's site. Monica Reyhani says at the very end:

                                                                            "Next week we see Richard and Mike go head-to-head for the ultimate win. The episode is insane, and possibly even more heartwrenching than anything we've seen yet, so grab some blood pressure medication and a box of tissues because it's a wild ride."

                                                                            "heartwrenching"
                                                                            "blood pressure medication"

                                                                            ???????????

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                              Seriously, if Mike wins, this show loses all credibility forever. It's pretty damaged already from past questionable wins, but this would be the last nail in the coffin.

                                                                              1. re: piccola

                                                                                Why? He's outperformed his competition in the last three weeks.

                                                                                1. re: fame da lupo

                                                                                  Maybe so, but he coasted before then and I don't think he deserved to get that far. (Yes, this was also true of Tiffany, but she's not in the finale, so I'm not going to pick on her.)

                                                                                2. re: piccola

                                                                                  It may be just me, but getting tired of, every season, people saying "if contestant X loses, the show loses all credibility." Both are talented chefs, both have on days and off days. Yes, Rich has had more on days than Mike, but, this being a competition, if he does poorly on the final day, and Mike executes everything perfectly, then Mike would deserve to win.

                                                                                  1. re: Cherveny

                                                                                    And that's what happened to Richard in his season - he did poorly, Stephanie did great. She won.

                                                                                    1. re: Cherveny

                                                                                      Yes, but it's the first time I've said it. :) So there.

                                                                                      1. re: Cherveny

                                                                                        I agree. And if Mke does win, the criticism should be directed at Ricgard for not doing better just in TC 5 the criticism should be directed at Stefan, not at Hosea. Usually, whomever places second just made a slight error. For instance, if Bryan Voltaggio had used enough salt in his finale it is likely he would have won insteqd of annoying brother.

                                                                                      2. re: piccola

                                                                                        You didn't think Hosea winning already did that?

                                                                                        1. re: Parrotgal

                                                                                          Yep. But I didn't dislike Hosea as much as I dislike Mike.

                                                                                      3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                        when did Richard's wife have the baby?

                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                          It sure looks like they are doing Restaurant Wars for the head-to-head finale. My first thought was that isn't fair in an individual competition but then I thought the entire point of this competition is for the contestants to win $200k to use as seed money to open their own restaurant where they will have to rely on their employees.

                                                                                          My prediction is that Mike wins because he plays it safer than does Richard. I will say that Mike has stepped up his game and he bothers me just a little less in the Bahamas than he does on U.S. soil. Maybe he should stay there?

                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                            Actually, kind of like the idea of the final being a restaurant wars type episode, but with only one person with anything at stake on each team.

                                                                                            Doing a tasting menu competition is fine at times, but that only measures one part of a chef's talents. The difference between being a chef from being a cook is a chef is a leader of a team of cooks, organizing them to all execute their vision, repeatedly. To me, I think this may be a very interesting finale to watch.

                                                                                            1. re: Cherveny

                                                                                              "I think this may be a very interesting finale to watch."

                                                                                              I think that's why they are doing it this way instead of just having them cook "the best meal of their lives".

                                                                                        2. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                          Oh, Chic - Im surprised you missed it.
                                                                                          It almost semed TOO obvious, and I was shocked by its blatency (is that a word??)

                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                            Nelly, I hung my head is shame and then went back to re-watch the TIVO. There it was. Mea Culpa.

                                                                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                              and I was shocked by its blatency (is that a word??)
                                                                                              ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                              almost. it's blatancy ;)

                                                                                              if the editing elves are screwing with us on this i'm going to be devastated for him.

                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            "AND at the end of that preview, I *think* I see who Padma tells "You ARE Top Chef!" I won't say how, but I think I know"

                                                                                            I caught that too Linda, in fact I rewound (a couple of times actually) & told my husband to watch her eyes.

                                                                                            Rather sloppy editing this episode!

                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                              Yes, Richard was standing to the right facing her, and that's the direction she's shown looking in. But it *could* be edited that way to create more surprise drama. It was very obvious, plus they showed Blais looking very happy just before, didn't they?

                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                I will spit nails if it's the other one and the Editing Monkeys are going to do Richard wrong.

                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                  did I hear him say something like "this is a proud moment"? could it be about the baby?

                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                    Could we imagine Richard possibly looking that happy at any point during the show except after finding out he had won? Dude is piss and vinegar and black cloud 100% of the time before JT ends.

                                                                                                    1. re: fame da lupo

                                                                                                      I just can't believe that they'd broadcast the results so blatantly before the final.

                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                        Well, we really don't know for a fact that Richard wins, we are just speculating based on what we saw. It could be the elves playing us again. We won't know for sure until next week. BUT if Richard does win, it will prove once again that all you have to do is watch Padma as she speaks.

                                                                                                        1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                          What worries me is that they've done that intentionally to throw people off that Mike actually won.

                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                            That's my concern -- the preview is edited such that it *really* looks like Richard will take it. It makes you wonder why they would be so obvious. But Padma's "gaze" may take place after Richard and Mike have gone to the stew room while the judge's deliberate, and then come back and stand in a different order.

                                                                                                2. re: chicgail

                                                                                                  Top Chef AllStars Finale: Richard vs. the D-bag.
                                                                                                  Where is Bourdain????!?! If Bourdain was here, do you think we would have the same chefs at the finale? It doesn't look like he will be in the finale JT either from the previews.

                                                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                    take note of the fact that Mike is on the left and Blais is on the right, and then watch Padma's eyes and see if you can pick up on which side they shift to when she says "you are Top Chef."

                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                      :::vbg:::: Ahhh, ghg - you see through my eyes. ;-)

                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                        my hunch is compounded by Tom's demeanor - genuine smile on his face, twinkle in his eyes...and i honestly believe he wants our boy to win.

                                                                                                        of course this could all just be projection on our parts because we want so badly to see a Blais victory! :)

                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                          Tom looks almost giddy...which we haven't seen in a long time.

                                                                                                          1. re: edible complex

                                                                                                            yes! thank you, glad it wasn't just me - he looks pleased as punch at JT.

                                                                                                            1. re: edible complex

                                                                                                              Twinkle in Tom's eye AND him looking giddy? I'm thinking I'm really going to LOVE next week's finale if that's true!

                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                Oh please oh please...I'm going to be really ticked if the promos are teasing us. At least, if my ticker doesn't go out first!

                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                  does anyone know if Richard's wife had the baby during the filming? I wonder if all the twinkles and giddiness is for the baby and not about the win...editing pysche!

                                                                                                                  1. re: edible complex

                                                                                                                    Born Feb. 5th of this year. IIRC, he said when he got to the Bahamas that his baby daughter wasn't born yet. But Richard *was* there at the birth, so not sure he'd leave/come back in such a short time frame.

                                                                                                                    http://www.usmagazine.com/momsbabies/...

                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                      Holy cow Blaise looks about 20 lbs healthier in that pic!

                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                          He's clean-shaven -- is that a good sign? ;-)

                                                                                                                          1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                            LOL! Good point, momjamin - forgot he had said when he arrived in the Bahamas that he wasn't going to shave until he won. :-)

                                                                                                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                              I went back and re-watched the previews and also caught it also. But I don't care. I'm still looking forward to seeing Richard perform and be recognized for it.

                                                                                                            3. re: chicgail

                                                                                                              Well, Padma looks right and who is standing on the right? Blais.

                                                                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                Oh no....the previews to the finale make it look like Richard wins for sure.....but it sounds like his excitement is about the baby....could the preview be so obvious?

                                                                                                              2. AND at the end of that preview, I *think* I see who Padma tells "You ARE Top Chef!" I won't say how, but I think I know. At least I *hope* I'm right! LOL
                                                                                                                ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                ha!!! i rewound & replayed it 3 times to see if i was right...i hope we both are :)

                                                                                                                to be perfectly honest, i wasn't all that invested in the one-bite challenge because i was just so relieved that Blais was officially in the final two...and i'm sure it did wonders for his frame of mind to know that he was the clear winner in that EC.

                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                  You and me both, ghg - I would have liked Antonia to be in it, but I'm just happy Richard's in the finale.

                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                    i'm not ashamed to admit that i did my happy dance when he (we!) got the good news :)

                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                      A quick fist pump and a "YAY!" from me! (And then back to typing! L OL)

                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                        Me, too. Now I hope he starts eating again so he doesn't look like a castaway 3 months out for the final.

                                                                                                                    1. Mike is so full of bullsheen his eyeballs are brown. He said he was going to do something no one else would do when making his final bite. He then proceeds to make a surf and turf with lobster and beef tenderloin. Yep, nobody has done that before.

                                                                                                                      37 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                        he also said in the confessional that he assigned Antonia Morimoto's Last supper because that was the most difficult one...and then tried to feed her that line of BS that he chose Michelle Bernstein for himself because *hers* would actually be the biggest challenge. pfft.

                                                                                                                        i do wish Antonia had made it to the finale instead of Mike because his attitude pisses me off. but either way i'd be pulling for Blais to take it all, as i have been since Day One.

                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                          he wanted Antonia out because he didn't want to lose to her.

                                                                                                                          1. re: edible complex

                                                                                                                            my point was that he was talking out of both sides of his mouth regarding who had the most difficult last supper to prepare.

                                                                                                                            1. re: edible complex

                                                                                                                              Mike absolutely didn't want to lose to Antonia. I didn't like that Antonia's fate was determined by Mike. It should have been a fair and square knife draw for the EC.

                                                                                                                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                              I suspect that he chose MB because she was a woman and he was less intimidated by her than he was by either Morimoto or Puck ("she's a woman, after all, what's the big deal?").

                                                                                                                              I also think he thought could charm her, not just with food, but with his own *manly* ways. Was I the only one who thought he was flirting with her when they talked?

                                                                                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                If that was flirting, it was so subtle that it would be impossible for Isabella to pull off. So I would say no.

                                                                                                                                1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                  Didn't Mike say as that he cooked for her or something like that when they were in Las Vegas? I think she must have praised him then and his ego is confidant she would again.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: foodseek

                                                                                                                                    He actually said she criticized his dish in his season, (for over-spicing) and he wanted redemption.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                    He didn't do well on the prior challenge when she was judging so he wanted another shot. It's sad to see that people don't pay attention and then slam Mike.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                      Umm, that's what he claims. Is it true? Based on the way he's been all season? Don't think so. He still took the easiest route, not the hardest, as he claimed to Antonia. The slamming is justified, IMO.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                        it has nothing to do with paying attention. i heard what he said, and i actually almost would have believed him...until he started talking out of both sides of his mouth. i don't doubt that he liked the idea of getting a chance to redeem/prove himself in MB's eyes, but i don't think he would have commented about it or chosen her if he didn't think she was the easiest one.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                          Yikes, Worldwide I am not slamming Mike just mistaken in his confessional antidote on Michelle and Las Vegas-sorry for the mistake. Regardless, I prefer Richard because throughout this competition I would like to try the food he prepared.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: foodseek

                                                                                                                                            My response was to Chicgail's completely baseless assertion above:
                                                                                                                                            ***
                                                                                                                                            I suspect that he chose MB because she was a woman and he was less intimidated by her than he was by either Morimoto or Puck ("she's a woman, after all, what's the big deal?").
                                                                                                                                            I also think he thought could charm her, not just with food, but with his own *manly* ways. Was I the only one who thought he was flirting with her when they talked?
                                                                                                                                            ***
                                                                                                                                            I don't doubt Mike thought he got the easiest job, but that's his perk for winning the QF. And I didn't see anything that suggests he thought MB is easy because of her sex.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                              "she's a woman, after all, what's the big deal?" doesn't suggest to you that he thought MB would be an easy pick because of her sex?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                umm how about when he called her a "good female chef". The most unpleasant thing about this season for me is the "boyz rule" attitude of most if not all the male contestants and Mike's unrelenting sexism. If you replace woman with oh say Asian, or Blackin his many statements- no way would he get away with his comments- but because he is overtly sexist rather than racist he gets away with it. He may be a good cook, but I for one don't enjoy watching him at all.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: karenfinan

                                                                                                                                                  With exception of Mike Isabella, I'm having trouble coming up with instances where the male chefs were saying they were better chefs just because of their gender. Can you point out the scebes in Top Chef that I missed?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                    Primarily I am going by what Carla and Antonia have said, and the scenes showing the segregation of the chefs into male- female.
                                                                                                                                                    also, Richard and Dale have been vocal about the best chefs being the guys.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: karenfinan

                                                                                                                                                      You would need to point out specificic episodes or at least quotes because off the top of my head I can't recall too much talk about male chefs being better than female chefs. I've heard talk about specific chefs claiming to be better than others, (Jamie comes to kind) but I don't recall gender being the reason. I have however heard many people hoping for a female Top Chef winner. That's the most blatant sexism I have seen on the show.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                        I've been waiting for someone to mention that. I personally don't care that it is said, but it always makes me wonder why the people who get up in arms about sexism on the show ignore those comments.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: donovt

                                                                                                                                                          ok, frankly, I think a gender studies class might be in order. No, really. In a nutshell- when an entire group of people are shut out, in this case because of their gender, for untold generations-they are happy to see one of their own make it. Historically women have not been allowed to be equals in the professional kitchen of all places, when women were the home cooks almost always. Now some of us see gender divides, and hear Carla and Antonia discuss their perception of a "boys club" atmosphere. We get cranky-especially those of us of a certain age, having put up with sexist crap for a very long time./end rant

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: karenfinan

                                                                                                                                                              Even if you feel justified, it's still sexist.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: karenfinan

                                                                                                                                                      The "good female chef" is what got me--I would think that any woman would be insulted by that.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Nettie

                                                                                                                                                          It's unquestionably insulting and patronizing and based in "oh, she's a good chef -- considering that she's a woman."

                                                                                                                                            2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                              "He then proceeds to make a surf and turf with lobster and beef tenderloin. Yep, nobody has done that before."
                                                                                                                                              _______
                                                                                                                                              He made beef tartare with lobster tempura, and combined that with chimichurri sauce and some sort of caramel olive sauce.

                                                                                                                                              That doesn't exactly put him up into Ferran Adria's class (or even Richard's), but by the standards of Mike and Antonia, that's fairly creative.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                And what happened to the cold/hot problem everyone had with Tiffany's dish last week? Very disappointing!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                  Putting the cold tartare under the hot tempura, whose heat is captured within the tempura shell if you know tempura, is much less of a heat issue than placing cold ceviche (?) on top of a hot soup.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                    This was done right and Tiff's was done wrong. Hot + cold in the same mouthful can be a good thing - that's what Tiffany was going for. Instead she added the ceviche to her soup too early and got lukewarm ceviche that should have been cold and room temp soup that would have been better hot. If she had served the ceviche on a spoon over the soup so it mixed only right as people went to eat it, there would have been a very different effect, and one much more like the effect Mike used very well in this challenge.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                      But, though I love beef tartare and shrimp tempura, I don't find the idea of a hot shrimp on top of the beef tartare appealing. I like my tartare well-chilled, and for some reason, the idea of something hot on top of it kink of skeeves me out.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                        It may not be appealing to you. I'm not sure how much I would have enjoyed it myself, But at least it was presented as intended. Tiff's dish last week failed in execution (on top of being at least equally odd as a concept - ceviche in soup).

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                          You're right. And that one didn't appeal to me either!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                            Plus, wasn't it a cream based soup? First question in my mind was wouldn't the acid in the ceviche curdle the cream based soup?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Cherveny

                                                                                                                                                              I think coconut milk doesn't really curdle the same way as regular milk when acidic ingredients are introduced.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                Ah, if it was just Coconut milk, then yes, acids and it mix fine. I'd thought shed put some actual dairy into the soup, which made me question her sanity then with the ceviche. :)

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Cherveny

                                                                                                                                                                  She might have. I'm not sure exactly how she made it.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Cherveny

                                                                                                                                                                    there was an open container of heavy cream on her prep station.

                                                                                                                                                  2. WAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                    1. Random thoughts:

                                                                                                                                                      -- What happened with Bourdain? Did he just have to go shoot for No Res? It seems odd that he would be the official special judge for half the season, then leave without fanfare and not come back. Also, I know he had some sort of falling out with the show 4th season over advertising or product placement or something. Did something happen again?

                                                                                                                                                      -- I'm wondering why Mike chose to cook the chicken sous vide before frying it - what the intended effect was. I could see doing it that way if you use a tempura batter or something. Or if you intend to crisp up un-dredged but dried skin in smoking hot oil. But, as far as I can tell Mike didn't do either. It's not necessary for normal fried chicken, and it just seems to complicate things in a timed contest.

                                                                                                                                                      -- I know I'm gonna get some flack for this, but I was glad to see Antonia go. Not because I dislike her - I just don't find her compelling as a Top Chef Contestant. Let's see:

                                                                                                                                                      Richard - very creative cook; much of his food showcases techniques or ideas that are new and interesting to me; sometimes overthinks a dish, and other times pulls off a masterpiece; nice enough of a guy, but neurotic...... compelling.

                                                                                                                                                      Mike I - He's a douchenugget. Might be secretly a douchenugget with a heart of gold, but is more likely a douchenugget with the heart of a douchenugget. In the finale, I either get to watch his hubris and self-aggrandizement be punished and crushed in a very satisfying manner, or else he wins in which case the thread on chowhound will be a LOT of fun. He makes a far better villain that Antonia....... compelling.

                                                                                                                                                      Antonia - her strength as a competitor is her execution, meaning she makes the same dishes a moderately adventurous home cook might make to impress a boss or a date, but presumably hers look and taste better. That's respectable, but doesn't translate into interest in her cooking style or a fascinating subject for TV. Also, while she is likable enough, she's nothing special in the charisma department, at least on TV....... boring.

                                                                                                                                                      So bring on the Mike vs Richard finale. I'm pumped.

                                                                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                          +1: "douchenugget with the heart of a douchenugget" made me laugh out loud.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                          OK, have to say I *loved* reading your paragraph about Mike before 8am, cowboy. And I do have to agree with you on the douchenugget terminology. And I'm hoping for major, major crushing of said douchenugget. :-)

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                            LOL! brilliant assessment of Mike. and i just may have to 'borrow' douchenugget if it's okay with you - great word :)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                              If you google the word 'douche' joined on to pretty much any other word, I'm sure you'll get some hits. And while I am not consciously ripping anyone off, I'm sure I'm not the first to use 'douchenugget' either. Feel free to spread the word, GHG.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                  I've used douchenozzle in the past. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                      Ha. That's because that was (is?) an actual real thing.

                                                                                                                                                                2. The cynic in me tells me Mike was chosen so there is a good guy/bad guy thing in the finale, which you would not have had with Antonia.

                                                                                                                                                                  O.K. not just the cynic, the rational part tells me the same thing.

                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                    Deciding eliminations based on storylines and the desires of the producers hasn't been Top Chef's M.O. before. That includes this season. I very much doubt the judging was rigged. The whole good guy/bad guy thing can easily be accomplished with editing alone - no need to fix the contest.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                      When Richard and Stephanie beat Jamie in the finals for their season, it was the two good guys pitted against each other in the finals.

                                                                                                                                                                      I think from a TV producer's perspective that would be smart and rational, but I really think that Colliccio and the judges have free-reign to pick who they think is best on TC.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                        Well, they beat Lisa, not Jamie (diff season, same crossed arms), and all 3 of them were in the final cook-off. (Antonia was eliminated in part 1 of the 2 part finals.) In fact, the editing made it seem like Lisa came in 2nd rather than Richard, and only the judges' blogs indicated that Richard was clearly ahead of Lisa. I think the judges can pick based on food, and have lots of integrity about those choices. But that doesn't keep the editors from telling any story they want to.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. I've really enjoyed this season. But I am currently fighting a serious case of TC fatigue. These finals just seem to be dragging on and on.

                                                                                                                                                                      16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                        You and me both, Withnail. Hence the way I started off this recap. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                          Linda, I would not blame you for being fatigued but from all your fans out her in "chowland" we would not know what to do without the recap. I watch the show, read your recap, then watch the show again and catch all the things I missed. You have an uncanny ability of typing,watching and not missing a thing. I can't wait until next week and hopefully see Richard win.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foodseek

                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks very much. I'm always worried I'm missing something (and I often do) but I'm glad it's being enjoyed!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                              Lin-da! Lin-da! Lin-da! Lin-da! Lin-da! Lin-da! Lin-da! Lin-da! Lin-da!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                louder...maybe you can get her to change her mind about recapping TCM ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                  Not a freakin' chance in H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks! I'm MOVING in mid- to late-April. I'll barely have time to *watch* TCM3 vs. recapping it. Someone else will have to take the baton pen and run with it. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                  (And thanks for the "Jer-RY!" cheers, Phaedrus! LOL)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                    ha! i know, i was just messing with you :) i'm *so* excited for you re: the new place...though i don't exactly envy you the actual moving part ;)

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                          I'm pretty freaking sick of this show at this point and whenever they gave the last two another bite to make, I just rolled my eyes. While Antonia's bite seemed to be better (to me), she seemed to do the worst last supper and thus was the right choice to go home. This has been the longest season ever. Wonder if they'll add any stupid cook while riding a bike in a wind tunnel "twist" for the finale. I don't even care if Mike wins.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                            Did she do worse at the last supper? Maybe. I guess that they had this extra challenge planned all along, and it wasn't because of a tie? I think it was pretty close, though because there were things wrong with Mike's dish too -- the coating on some diners' chicken was flabby, and Morimoto commented that the chicken was dry, while Antonia's main problem seemed to have been the soup.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                              I felt like Morimoto was less happy with his meal than Wolfgang and Michelle were with theirs. Yeah, hard to tell.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                Morimoto's usual demenaor falls short of effusive.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                  yes....he didn't say much, and it was about what seemed a minor detail. Something like..."it was nice and hot"?

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                              Me too! I always thought I couldn't get enough Top Chef, but this season seems really long & drawn out.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                                                                                It wouldn't feel that way if every challenge between restaurant wars and this week's challenge hadn't been such stinkers.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                Second that - TC finale fatique...I don't recall the finales being so dragged out before, or is this a function of TC All-stars vs regular TC?

                                                                                                                                                                              3. I was watching with the DH, and I have to say that he completely called it. As soon as they announced the challenge, he said, "One bite? He who fries something will win," and he was right with Mike having the tempura lobster.

                                                                                                                                                                                For me, my alarm went off when DB Mike won the Quick Fire. I knew that if he had an advantage, he would do his best to scuttle Antonia.

                                                                                                                                                                                I think I echo many of the posters here when I say that I hope, hope, hope Richard wins. I like DB Mike even less after this challenge, and I hate the idea of the boys club, something that Antonia mentioned last night as well. Sorry to see you go, Antonia. I loved your food and I really liked you.

                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                  What I found interesting was that Mike said exactly what Richard's said in the past - he wanted to win battling against the best, i.e., Richard. But I still found it interesting that he gave Antonia the most difficult Last Supper to get *her* out of the competition. (Still stunned that he actually said out loud that HE had the hardest Last Supper!)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, if Richard's the best, why pull out the big guns against Antonia? You'd think she wouldn't be a threat.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm bummed Antonia's out, especially because it means Mike's in. I don't believe this "heart of gold" thing. He may be fun to hang out with (based on what other contestants have said) but people always put their best face forward when they want to be liked. I think the stuff he says and does in private -- stealing the concept for a dish, etc. -- is a better gauge of character. And yes, I know they're heavily edited, but as others have mentioned, it can't be edited if you don't say it.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, indeed. In order to battle against "the best," it seems that you have to get rid of the competition. Clearly he was afraid of Antonia and had to do what ever he could to take her out. Mike is a DB, no two ways about it, and I think I speak for many on this board when I say that I truly hope he doesn't win. It will be a sad TC day if he does.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. When they pulled out the single bite, my first thought was a dessert. Yes, it's the kiss of death, but they just had 3 plates of food. Something light and sweet might have been a perfect fit.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I was also expecting a much smaller product, something along the lines of "one bite." If you need a fork and a knife, it's not one bite.

                                                                                                                                                                                    So my thought was to do more of an amuse-bouche. Pack the bowl of a wide, shallow spoon (like you get with miso soup very often) with a graham cracker and butter "crust", maybe some kind of cherry or raspberry filling in the middle, surround with chocolate mouse, a little whipped cream on top, maybe dust with cocoa for a bitter layer.

                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                      That would almost certainly lose, unless the opponent's dish was fubar. Desserts need to be seriously impressive to win at such a late stage.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: fame da lupo

                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, probably. But if I was the diner, I think I'd appreciate it.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I recall an episode of IC where they tied and had to go back and create 3 more dishes. The winner was the one that went with lighter fare, realizing the judges had already eaten 10 dishes at that point.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                        re: the one bite issue, i was surprised to see them both put out such large offerings. and i think Mike won because all the components of his dish were more harmonious as one bite...at least that was the sense i got from the judges' comments, particularly Gail's.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                          I thought the same thing for the one last bite. And, who wants a big bite of steak tartare and lobster tempura? Did anyone eat it as one bite? Everyone seemed to eat it in pieces.

                                                                                                                                                                                          My first thought was dessert, too--something that would melt in your mouth. If I'm on death row, I want Jacques Torres to make my last bite.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                            Except none of them is a pastry chef, so it would probably have been far more risky to do dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Linda - I saw a note above about your suspicions, and had to look away. The last 3 seasons have been spoiled by them showing Padma announce the winner, and you can tell where she is looking. I've been skipping all previews this year to avoid it. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I wonder if Mike used Alex's recipe for the pea puree in his EC dish ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                              Ha, ha! Worked like a charm if he did!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                Pea puree strikes again...its baaaaack.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Ok is there anyone out there who predicted that Mike Isabella would be a finalist when the competing chefs were announced for All Stars? Whoa.....who'da thunk?
                                                                                                                                                                                                Most of us figured Richard would make it, but Mike????
                                                                                                                                                                                                Personally, I wish Dale T had made it to the end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                                                                                                  i hate to swim against the tide but i predicted kevin last year and i bet mike would be in the finals (i chose richard to win the whole thing and continue to hope that richard wins). I would point out that several blogs have said the other contestants like Mike a lot, so I'm not sure that he's quite the a-hole he is edited to be (might be for drama?). The reason I felt he would make it to the end is he kept upping his game: he was almost always in the top three, he tried new things, and he showed guts in his choices. Antonia too often stayed within her comfort zone. She could have, for instance, done her own take on a bento box, just like Richard did with the goulash.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm not one of the Mike haters, really he doesn't bother me too much. I think he's just a rough around the edges kind of guy & I agree that alot of other contestants seem to like him. He certainly knows how to play the game. I think he skated along in the middle for his season & most of All Stars, but he does look like he's working harder & did some research for the finales.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't have any strong feelings about who wins anymore. Everyone I was rooting for are gone. Like I said above, I'm just ready for the season to be over. I feel like they dragged it out too long & maybe started with way too many contestants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mike spent the entire season comfortably placed between the top (pressure and expectations) and the bottom (fear of failure). Then in the last 4-5 weeks, he steps it up and starts to down challenge after challenge. Sounds like the San Antonio Spurs strategy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dale and Richard would have been a great finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. At the beginning, I certainly would not have predicted Mike would make it to the final 2, he didn't impress me during his season. But I will say this: he deserves to be there. He hasn't just skated by, and he has shown dramatic improvement, making interesting food and not playing it safe. Not a huge fan of him, but congrats to him for making it there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    But my pick to win it all from the very beginning was Richard, and hope I was right!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. So sad to see Antonia go down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I see the other cheftestants were in the preview for next week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not only am I rooting for Richard to win, I'm hoping Mike gets stuck with either Jamie Lauren or Elia as his helper(s). That would ddrive him totally mad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      He clearly prepared for this final round, but if he's that good, why was he phoning it in earlier or in Season 7?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      27 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                        My hope is that Richard, as the winner of the last EC, gets to pick his team first, leaving Mike with Elia, Marcel, Jamie, etc. Oh, that would be sweet! Or, he gets a team made up entirely of the females. I would pay money to see that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm hoping they bring back some of my old favorites to assist them:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Preeti, Betty, Leah, Stefan, Howie, Sandee, Ariane, Jamie, Mikey (TGIFridays), Easy Ed Cotton, Ash, Lisa F.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I do hope you're being facetious. :-) If not, I think they'll only get to pick from the All-Star cheftestants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Would love to see Mikey come back. Even though he's not all that great of a cook, he was always one of my favorites just for pure comedic value :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                A rodent can hope can't she?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Seriously, it would be a lot more challenging, not to mention fun to watch, to bring back some of the other contestants than it would be to see Carla and Fabio sous-cheffing and Marcel picked last, yet again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  How about a show where they brought back the first two chefs eliminated in each season so we can get to know them and their abilities. We might just find out that Marcel is not the biggest douche ever to appear on Top Chef. (That designation rightfully belongs to Ken Lee TC 1).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I do remember him, he was belligerent!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That guy was scary. Felt like he was going to end up stabbing someone if he competed much. But, I think TC should pick up one thing from him. He kept saying that if Irish chefs didn't like your food they'd just -bamf- flip the plate. Instead of just saying PYKAG, TC JT should end with flipping the losers plate of food. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                if they come back, i hope richard says mike can have them all!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                "My hope is that Richard, as the winner of the last EC, gets to pick his team first..."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                rox,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Check out the preview video on the Bravo TC web site, they have to pick their team "blind". Each of the 15 eliminated cheftestants has to make an amuse bouche, then Blaise and Isabella do a blind tasting and pick their team from that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kmcarr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, you ruined my little fantasy of misery for Mike! The only rub is Jamie Carroll -- she'll probably make scallops, lol! And Fabio will make gnocchi!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Right! I just watched that preview and they were really chagrined. I'm looking forward to next week's finale!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Exactly!! I'm sure for many of the chefs their style or "signature" will be all over their plates so Richard and Mike can make pretty good guesses. My advice for them, DON'T PICK THE PLATE WITH THE FOAM!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        They should both make sure to avoid the amuse that has foam on it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ha, ha! You're right! Who else is predictable like that?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But what if someone spits on one of the other dishes. It'll look just like Marcells foam.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Cherveny

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Then I guess it would be time for a DNA test!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: kmcarr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I am of two minds here. One, I love the idea of doing there are certain to be some surprises. Two though, different people work better with certain personality types not to mention the chefs don't necessarily need a creative sous chef but a skilled one (there isn't always a difference but there can be). Ultimately, I think I like the idea, I just hope it doesn't screw Richard over!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gastrotect

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          well, at the very least i think he gets to work with his beloved Fabio again - i'm pretty sure i saw Mr Gnocchi working with a tank of liquid nitro in the previews.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fabio probably made gnocchi as a secret signal to Blais.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I wondered if anyone might be trying to communicate anything to Richard and Mike. For example, in the preview video, I didn't get the impression that they all wanted to be there, competing for the chance to help someone else win $200K -- they weren't rushing around the kitchen frantically like in a normal QF. Is there an incentive, like the previous season winners could win in that first QF in the Bahamas? Would anyone throw it so they could sit out? Or put a foam on it to make the finalists think they were That Guy? OTOH, will they make signature dishes to give away who they are, like scallops or gnocchi? 'Cause ultimately, if I were Blais and Mike, I wouldn't care if they made something extraordinary for a one-off challenge, I'd want to pick my team based on who I thought I could work with and who could execute my vision. That being said, this could be a very interesting twist on the knife pull!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Secret? I don't think it would be much of a secret.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Do you mean Season 6? I'm not sure that Mike phoned it in on his season, I think there were far more talented chefs on that season to compete against. As to All Stars, maybe he was just playing the game coasting by to make it to the finals?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Phoning it in? I don't think he was doing that ever. You don't get this far "phoning it in". He won a couple of QFs before he started winning the ECs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Why is he doing better? I don't know, maybe he's evolved as a chef, maybe he's gotten better at the competition aspect of it. I don't see how you can insinuate that he's not good, just prepared, after his performance these past few episodes. Preparation is not a substitute for talent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Season 6 for Mike - and the level of talent on Season 6 was such that they overwhelmed everyone else. Kevin Gillespie, Bryan Voltaggio, Mike Voltaggio and Jen Carroll. Can't get any better than that, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tiffany and Antonia were the only people I really liked in the remaining group and now they are both gone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Now I'm pulling for Richard only because Mike is a jerkface.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Geez, Linda - your recap skills are amazing. No wonder you were asked to recap the NCAA games, too! Hahaha!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was so sorry to see Antonia go. She is so very talented, and wanted this win so badly. I do have to agree, however, with whoever stated above that Mike will make for a more interesting finale. Good guy/bad guy, you know. And, while I hate to admit it, Mike has definitely stepped up his game. I was much more impressed with his dishes this season than in his original season. But I'm still very much rooting for Richard to take it all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Just on the EC alone, Mike had a huge advantage in picking Michelle Bernstein because she had no emotional connection to her last supper. Puck and Morimoto both picked dishes that were cooked by their mother's in their childhood and had huge emotional and memorable connotations assigned to those dishes. Michelle on the other hand had no emotion and memory attached to her dish, it was simply as she said "food we never ate." So Mike was basically able to go whatever direction he wanted while Richard and Anotnia were more constrained.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Based on that, kudos for Richard for being so attuned to what Puck actually wanted. Same to Anotnia, she tried to replicate Morimoto's mom's food but didn't succeed technically.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Boo Mike! (and flacid, non-crispy chicken = ewwwwwwwww) Go Richard!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                22 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gmk1322

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I wouldn't say she had no emotion or memory of the food she chose. It appeard they showed a photo of her eating fried chicken with her father..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I thought it was huge, and that it had to be a turkey leg, but i know, not thte point...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: gmk1322

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Michelle on the other hand had no emotion and memory attached to her dish, it was simply as she said "food we never ate."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Actually when Michelle & Mike were discussing her last meal, she said fried chicken was something her family never fixed at home & her memories of eating it were of her father taking her out. She must have some emotional connection if she picked it as her last supper. I wouldn't think people just pick a random meal for their final dinner.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Now as for taste, she might not have a real connection to a certain recipe so Mike did have that flexibilty. IIRC she said that it wasn't what she was expecting, but she was pleased with what he came up with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gmk1322

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You missed a lot of what Michelle said. It was "food they never ate" *at home*. She said that it was food that her parents (maybe just her father) would take her out for as a child. She stated specifically (and they even showed a picture) of how blown away she was when she had her first fried chicken at the age of 5 or 6. Sure sounds like an emotional connection, albeit a different one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gmk1322

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Good Lard! fried chicken is a religious experience! when done right, OMG!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gmk1322

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I also don't think Mike's chicken was flacid. One comment was that the breast was dry. Another was that the crispy breading didn't stick to the chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gmk1322

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            How can anyone possibly compete against someone's mom who hand picked through the rice to make sure they were all uniform???

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            When Puck talked about apple strudel, I was wondering how Richard was going to stretch the dough and was disappointed that he used premade dough. Why did he talk about not having recipes if he was going to use premade dough? Either way, so happy for him to have been picked early.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Why did he talk about not having recipes if he was going to use premade dough?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              actually, the fact that he didn't have a recipe or *any* experience making strudel is likely WHY he decided to use a pre-made product. i doubt he went into it already planning to take shortcuts, particularly since he made his own bread for the QF!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That was my other question--how did he make good hot dog buns in 45 minutes? My "quick" yeast roll recipe is kneaded for 5-10 minutes, rests an hour, punch down, shape, rest another 20-30 minutes and then bake. Am I wasting my time?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It was naan, which is very quick to make.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Actually, I think it was roti, which, unlike naan, is not even yeasted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I've never made roti but that would make more sense. Naan also takes me longer than 45 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I made biscuits today that took me over an hour. I have such respect for all the fast chefs out there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, I noted that in my original post:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Richard makes Curry Wurst with homemade Roti Bread and a Spicy Ketchup"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think Richard said that they weren't allowed to carry recipes, and he had never made studel before. I think he just played it safe and didn't want to ruin it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: boogiebaby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      strudel dough pulling is (understatement) *really wicked hard,* it's suicide for a novice to try to wing that at a competition, esp preparing a dish for the likes of w. puck, who know from strudel! strudel dough pulling artisans are a lot like the handmade noodle masters-- it's all they do. there aren't very many of them left, at least in this country, to my knowledge. a dying art.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah I watched someone pulling strudel dough (well) and it was an amazing thing. Not something you're going to "just do right" the first time, even *if* you had the right recipe for the dough, which he didn't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, which is why I was wondering if he was going to try it, especially w/out a recipe, in that time constraint. Why even mention not having a recipe if you weren't going to try to do it? Apple strudel is dauntingly hard if you make the dough; not hard at all if you're using premade.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Agree, I've done it twice and it wasn't pretty either time. I thought it miraculous that Richard was able to pull it off as well as he did but then the posts mentioned the premade dough (which I don't fault him for).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've only seen it done and it takes amazing skill. Kudos to you for even attempting it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. random observation that i forgot to post re: last week's episode (i watched it last night while waiting for the new one to start). when they showed the clip from Vegas when the chefs were being driven into the desert for the open fire challenge, i couldn't help thinking that Ashley Merriman would have been a great choice for this All-Star season...she was another one who went home far too early, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      She went home because Eli salted her gnocci (she undercooked the shrimp). If Elibhadn't done that Michael Voltaggio may have been sent home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        as i said, i thought she went home too early.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I liked her a lot, too. She really shone in that outdoor challenge, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I liked her, too. And, she had enough pride to take the fall without throwing her partner under the bus. She's one I'd like to see return.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Here's a funny quote from the Gawker synopsis:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "OK, I'm not going to say that any of the chefs on Top Chefs are misogynists, they just—well, the boys always think of the other boys first. When the boys talk about who their competition is, it's never "Oh, Carla is really good," or "You better watch out for Antonia," even though the two consistently won or were in the top in the challenges. It's always "Dale is good. Richard is good. Spike is good. Stephen with his fat ties and fatter faces is good. Wait, are there girls here?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The rest is here:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://gawker.com/#!5785356/top-chef-...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        35 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          that's the first Gawker entry i've read - have they all been that good? the comments about Pizza the Hutt and the Paramus Park Mall were *brilliant* - i had a key chain with that Bitch quote on it...and i got it at Riverside Square Mall, which is about 10 minutes away from Paramus Park :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, they are very funny. I particularly love that they call Tom "Tom Cohostio." I laugh every time I see that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i definitely giggled at that. i'll have to go back and read the old ones!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't know--I was surprised to hear Mike talk about how Tiffany was a great cook, a great chef. And, if he didn't think Antonia was such a threat, he wouldn't have been so thoughtful (not thoughtful in the nice sense but in that he put a lot of thought into it) about giving her the toughest challenges. You don't work that hard to handicap someone you don't think is competitive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Well, at that point, it was all over but the shouting, so I guess that he thought he could afford to be magnanimous. It would have been more credible had he said something like that while she was still in the mix.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                He certainly wasn't going to sandbag himself. So he either gives the tough one to Richard or Antonio. Given that he seems to be better friends with Richard, it makes sense to give the tougher challenge to Antonia. In addition, it makes sense strategically to give the tougher challenge to Antonia, who he views as a weaker competitor. At this point in the game, he just needs to out-perform one more person to get into the finals, so you sandbag the weakest contestant to make sure you get yourself into the finals. This ain't rocket science.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't think it's a matter of Mike being "better friends" with Richard vs. Antonia. It's more that Mike can't lose to a female.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Really? Did Richard discuss his ideas and share his notebook with Antonia? Antonia has asserted it's a boys club. So Richard and Mike colluded to get rid of Antonia? Richard teed it up for Mike when he gave the one pot handicap? If Mike can't handle losing to Antonia, then Richard is equally guity because they conspired? In my mind, there's no doubt Mike would rather throw the weaker player under the bus so he can make sure he advancse to the finals. I doubt he'd quit his job to compete for $200,000 and then suddenly not play strategically because he "can't lose to a female." He learned to cook from his grandmother. I know he has disparaged other female contestants but it's a possbility that he really doesn't think much of their cooking? Richard has said pretty much the same thing about Carla and Antonia's winning dishes - being too simple and not creative. If Mike's a troll then Richard ain't much different.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mike has made repeated comments throughout both of his seasons about the women in the competition being "lesser" than he is as a chef or the rest of the guys. The *only* woman he seemed to respect was Jen Carroll. Take it however you want to read it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And Jen is the only woman to outlast him. So he's not wrong, is he?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's pretty funny because his nemesis Robin outlasted Mike in TC 6.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Which pissed the living bejeezus out of Mike. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My bad - but there's no chance that Robin is a better chef than Mike, or is that argument on the table?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  She apparently was during the challenges in TC 6.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    So you're saying Robin is a better chef and Mike isn't sexist? IIRC, Robin was Eli's nemesis more than Mike's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I said neither. I was merely pointing out that Robin performed about the same as Mike on TC 6 abd she outlasted him. I would have to say that Mike and Eli picked on Robin about equally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Where did the question of Mike being sexist or not come from? I have never posted anything saying Mike is not sexist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Right, but he's talking about the specific women in the competition, not ALL woman chefs. There is a difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Carla was on WWHL with Andy Cohen last week and said there was definitely a sexist boy's club thing going on, in her view.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I know a lot of people think this, but I just don't see it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The only thing I took away from the episode was my bitter disappointment when I realized this wasn't the actual finale. This episode just lacked any zip for me. Especially with the "one bite". It was very obvious there was some twist coming. They fit an entire quickfire and dinner into 30 minutes, and the rest of the episode was the one bite faceoff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It would make sense to give the toughest challenge to your toughest competitor and get rid of that person first. Is his goal to make the finals, or to win?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You're assuming Richard can't overcome the obstacle. If Richard does, then it was for naught. On the other hand, sandbagging someone worse than you more or less guarantees you a spot in the finals. You can't win unless you get in the finals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is a good point, though probably a moot one - I doubt Mike is as gifted strategically as you are. You're right though - in a three way contest, the front runner gets to march on un-interfered with, while the bottom two (if they're smart) gun mercilessly for each other and avoid risking resources fighting the top guy. I learned that lesson a long time ago playing poker, and it's just as true here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Honestly though, I think what was guiding Mike was nothing beyond simple, basic spite. Not that I'm faulting him for it. But reading deep into his 'strategy' is probably misguided cuz, well, come on - it's Mike.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm not getting where this spite comes from. Did he say he hates women somewhere? Yes he thinks he's better than all the other female chefs but in two seasons, he's only been bested by 2 female chefs, one of which is Jen and the other is Robin (who no one would proclaim to be a great chef). Richard and Fabio have also made comments about the winning dishes from the female chefs being too simple and not creative. So I see two possibilities - (i) it's a true boys club as Antonia claims and all the guys are pricks, or (ii) that the guys are right in looking down at their female competitors . This doesn't translate into the guys thinking all female chefs are beneath them, just the ones competing on the show. Another point is that the guys practiced cooking Bahamian food/cuisine while we heard the 3 ladies profess they've never worked with conch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The spite I mentioned has nothing to do with sexism.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      He's a competitive guy. He seems to like to play spoiler and also to get under his competitors' skin. That's just his personality. With that in mind it should be no surprise that he's pick a harder challenge for Antonia, with whom he's always had an adversarial relationship.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That was my thought - if it were me, Richard would have gotten Morimoto.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That would have been interesting. Do you think he would have played it straight like mamma Morimoto or would we have seen the return of the chocolate wasabi?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That would have been interesting--I'd love to see that, actually. He could have done liquid spheres of tofu in the miso. I wonder how that would go over. Morimoto seems like he'd appreciate some MG, even if he doesn't do it himself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Based on his respectable and surprisingly authentic ramen earlier this season (the Jimmy Fallon episode), it would seem that Richard was probably the most familiar of the 3 with Japanese cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Another good reason to give him Puck (on top of what I mentioned above - that Antonia and Mike should be gunning primarily for each other)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i'm dying!! that thing is HILARIOUS! absolute funniest thing i've read about TC. SOOO many good lines:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "and one of you has to work with this rabid owl that I found lying in the gutter outside of the Atlantis resort."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "He puts a flat palm in front of his sternum, punches it with his other fist and bows deeply. Then he turns on his heels and walks away. That is what Antonia has to make for him: a ceremonial bow."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Mike is lumbering through the kitchen like the cankle that he is and he is just going to stack seven things on top of each other and call it a bite. For him, it's a bite. For any normal human it's like a large order of tortellini from the Cheesecake Factory."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i'm sorry, i could repost the thing, line for line, but you can (and probably already have) read it yourself. Thanks for that Roxlet, that was great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    more laughs here:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://eater.com/archives/2011/03/24/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    my favorites:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Padma pops back into the kitchen during prep to assign a classic Top Chef twist. So classic! I love going on road trips and scanning through stations and then coming across a classic Top Chef twist. It's like putting on an old pair of trick jeans."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "The Real World just got picked up for a 27th and 28th season, so maybe in a few years there will be an endless string of Top Chef/Project Runway Challenge seasons where they all live in a house and get wasted and punch each other and they are famous for only that. Let's hope!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Antonia says some vaguely xenophobic stuff about Morimoto. She is scared of him because he's foreign and quiet, mostly, a " Japanese warrior." I bet he knows karate, right Antonia? Be quiet."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "MIchelle appreciated it though. She thinks wistfully back to her and Mike's time by the bird bath and says "Mike grasped a lot of the parts of what I told him." Whoa. I bet he did."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I like this:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Our contestants must create a last supper for these three culinary icons, because after tonight, all three culinary icons will be dead. Who will kill them? Figuring that out is the Elimination Challenge. Actually, no one is going to die, and this show isn't over yet, so the only thing that actually deserves a Last Supper is my spirit."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      He's been complaining about how long this season seems almost since the beginning. I definitely feel his pain now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm so surprised that people haven't been reading these hysterical Gawker recaps all along! And I'm more surprised that I didn't think to post the link before this! My pleasure mariacarmen!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i can't believe that was the first one i've seen! next season you can post the Gawker links each week, and i'll continue to post the ones from Eater/Max Silvestri, ok?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm shocked at myself. and now at you! ( :
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          yeah, seriously the funniest thing ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Fascinating, the vicious Isabella-hate and mangling of his name going on here and in other places. (Ditto the grudging murmurs about him in the previous CH threads when his success wasn't just simply ignored, except for a couple of exceptions)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As for Antonia "getting the shaft" with having to make those Japanese food items - she has now stated that she has made dashi before, has assembled bento boxes before (just that she does not do it for a living), etc etc. She FAILED but not for lack of familiarity as some have indignantly proclaimed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Fascinating, the vicious Isabella-hate and mangling of his name going on here and in other places. "
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ______
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Does that mean you're a fan?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm not especially passionate in my disliking of Mike. Heck, he's probably alright in person, in small doses. But OTOH, you act like a jerkwad, you get called a jerkwad. For me, the turning point was when he stole Richard's chicken oyster idea earlier this season. No real way to spin that situation into some 'oh, he's just misunderstood,' rationalization.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Perhaps, more of a factor than him actually being disdain-worthy is the simple fact that people love seeing overconfidence and boastfulness slapped down. And our boy Mike is long overdue in that department.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          He pretty much brought the negative stuff onto himself. Blatantly steeling Richard's recipe was an inexcusably d**k h**ded thing to do. If he can do that on national TV makes you wonder what he is capable of when there are no cameras around.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Also whining that his fried chicken was the hardest menu was a much to take.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Couldn't DH be construed as d*** head? Why doesn't anyone say DW? Thats why i don't like acronyms.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                no darling wife. DH - darling husband. See!!! people need to spell out things!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: porkbutt03

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Or "damn husband" as the case may be. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Did you watch/read the recaps on the Top Chef web site about Mike "stealing" RIchard's recipie? Tom C, Tony B, and Eric R all said there was nothing wrong with this and they do it all the time. Bourdain even went on to say that if you didn't steal recipies (or were influenced by others) you were either a liar or a boring cook (something like that). They also commented that there was no such thing as "chef law" and they were surprised at the reaction of the other contestants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Anyhow, I love Mike. I think he's hilarious and an amazing chef. I'm sad he left Zatinya, but can't wait to try his new place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bart Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You are twisting Tom C's words, who also called it "bad form" on his blog - an understatement IMO. Tony B wrote no blog that week, so I have no idea where you're pulling his opinion from (source please). And Eric was talking some irrelevant nonsense about how chefs take each others' ideas all the time and are fine with it (I hang around with a lot of cooks - they're not all fine with it), as though the same ethics would apply to a cooking competition in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It wasn't against the rules. I know that. And I'm glad those illustrious judges took the time to point out there's no such thing as "chef law" for any bona fide cretins in the audience who might think there is a handbook and a tribunal somewhere out there. Come on - it was obviously a figure of speech, and the other chefs in the competition obviously weren't cool with what Mike did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Here's what it boils down to: it takes a raging asshole to pull that move on a competitor, much less a friend who only gave Mike the idea because he was foolish enough to trust him. It was a betrayal of trust. This ain't Survivor - it's a cooking competition. Things like personal integrity still matter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "Here's what it boils down to: it takes a raging asshole to pull that move on a competitor, much less a friend who only gave Mike the idea because he was foolish enough to trust him. It was a betrayal of trust. This ain't Survivor - it's a cooking competition. Things like personal integrity still matter."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                :::::::::::Applause:::::::::::

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Nice--but then, this is MIke. He's the one who mocked Richard Blais for helping other competitors and said he'd never do that in a competition. Or, as the Eater put it, it shows he's been raised in a barn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Whoops. If Bourdain didn't write a blog that week, I apologize. I thought my usual sources (those three) all agreed on the issue. I'm not that vested in shock and scandal of this henious atrocity to go back and research before making a quick post, so please forgive my error.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And do you really think Eric Ripert's opinion is irrevelant?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I finally caught up on the last many weeks of TC and Linda's great recaps (not the threads though). All I I have to say is...ugh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I had hoped for a Dale win over Richard in the finale.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Then I hoped for an Antonia/Richard finale.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Now, well, please be the best you can possibly be Richard. Please let the Padma glance in the previews not be some evil editing/manipulation from the elves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Wow!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I really enjoyed this episode!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Olive caramel sounded delicious to me, as did Mikes "bite"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Antonia's - not so much.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So sorry to see her go.....she proved me wrong - I thought she'd be one of the first to leave!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This was the first episode this series that brought tears to my eyes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I cried both for Antonia's and for the humility shown by Mike at her demise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Which brings me to my last point.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The contestant bashing and presumptions abouth the chef 'son this board are becoming almost to much for me to bear.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sure, Mike has said some idioic things, but some of the remarks here, are WAY out of line...presumptious and vicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  To further my annoyance, not one...not one remark -about how sweet Mike was towards Antonia when she left.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It touched me very much, and it angers me that you will pick on a small word he used like: "Girl chef" and blow it up, ...............yet he shows incredible kindness toward Antonia, and no one notices

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Shame on you, folks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  35 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's a pretty big brushstroke you took there. Maybe it was too little, too late. (And this comes from someone who didn't bash Mike too much, I think I even sort of defended him).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wow. Nelly, they're called opinions. Everyone's got them. And they're based on what Mike himself has said on screen. If he didn't mean the disparaging comments about female chefs, he wouldn't have said them, would it? I'm not sure if Mike's "humility," as you put it, was more self-serving than anything else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But again. We all see things differently. You're willing to give Mike the saint brushstroke. I'm not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But thank you very much for the scolding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm from Brookyn, so I grew up around guys exactly like him.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        He truly is a product of his environment.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        When he called her a "girl" chef - I laughed because thats exactly how those guys talked... it's ignorance - not maliciousness.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I imagine, those who havent grown up in the NE would perhaps just think :idiot, but I do see his soft side.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't think hes a saint - no one is....but I don't think he (or Marcel ) deserves the kind of bashing that goes on here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm sorry to sound like I'm scolding, but I'm POed!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was born in Brooklyn and grew up in northern New Jersey. So I heard it as well. Wasn't right to disparage women when I was growing up nor should it be now. Claiming ignorance to the comments he makes is a cop-out, IMO. Again - my opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Everyone sees things differently...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This board proves this point strongly!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It often amazes me how we all percieve words, actions etc of people differently

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ah well, that's what makes the world go round!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I sympathize with you NN - I've written that I think Mike has grown in the originality and risk-taking of his cooking and that many of the other contestants have commented on how much they like him, but each of us sees what we see. I like him and I think he's earned his way to the final two. Last year I picked Kevin to win and felt the board was so anti-Kevin that I couldn't even get where that was coming from: he certainly wasn't an abrasive guy. The notion that he won because Michael V. was his sous chef was so bizarrely unkind and off the wall, in my view, that I wondered how I could see things so differently from other viewers. In any case, we're all fans, and we are just "opinionating" because we don't get to be up there and actually eat the food and meet the chefs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks teezee!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sometimes, I feel I'm in my own bubble - it's nice to hear that you understand and have felt the same way!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree that Mike has grown in his cooking since his original season. I just don't like the Mike that has been presented on the show, that season or this season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Did you think the board was anti-Kevin? I was a big fan of his, and didn't find that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      yes i did find the board was anti-Kevin. i simply gave up on trying to figure out why so many board members attributed his win to his drawing Michael Voltaggio as his sous-chef. It was insulting to both of them to think that MV "cooked" or "invented" Kevin's submission and there wasnt a scintilla of evidence on the show to suggest it. Yet the disdain that was expressed was unpleasant and, imo, totally unfounded.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "i simply gave up on trying to figure out why so many board members attributed his win to his drawing Michael Voltaggio as his sous-chef."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ________
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I wasn't one of Kevin's detractors last season - I thought he was underrated by many fans throughout the season. His best dishes, even before the finale, looked quite impressive and worthy of a TC winner. Frankly, I was much less impressed by Ed's cooking, even though he had more wins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But at the same time, I'm surprised that you couldn't fathom why anyone would think having Michael Voltaggio in the kitchen doing your prep work and offering you suggestions and opinions (at least with his eyes if not aloud - remember Kevin and MV knew each other well) might have been a big advantage. I think the implication was obvious and fairly reasonable - that MV is a great cook, and potentially a big advantage when he's on your side.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Kevin Sbraga? I have the wrong Kevin. When you talked about MV, I assumed it was Kevin Gillespie in the same season. I think LindaWhit summed up well why the other Kevin wasn't as highly regarded, for the same reason Tiffany wasn't but still ended up in the finale. If you don't win, and you end up in the bottom often, it's harder to make a case that you belong there. I thought Kevin did skate by but he didn't bother me the way Mike has. I wasn't upset that he won--he came prepared and ready to win.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I wasn't a fan of Kevin, and I think the animosity towards him last season was the five "Lows" he got with only one "Win" before winning it all. It's just frustrating when someone seemingly skates by or who *should* have been voted off earlier in the season ends up winning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But we're not there tasting the food. This is just a viewer's viewpoint based on what we've seen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't recall how many lows Antonia got, and I liked her very much, but she only won two challenges and one quickfire as I recall, which wasn't much more than Kevin did during his season. If it was just about who won the most episodes, they could keep them all on and add up the totals at the end. But it's about who cooks best on the day that counts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: teezeetoo

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Antonia had 2 Lows, 6 Highs, 1 EC Win, and 4 QF Wins. A good bit better than Kevin Sbraga, who had 5 Lows, 3 Highs, 1 EC Win and 1 QF Win.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And yes. I've been watching from the very beginning. I *know* it's about who cooks best on the day of competition that counts. You're not saying anything that most of us don't already know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'll repeat my last paragraph from the post to which you responded: But we're not there tasting the food. This is just a viewer's viewpoint based on what we've seen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                you are giving antonia's record for season 4. i was referring to her record for season 8. I believe she won two challenges and either one or two group quickfires. apparently we like who we like: mike won significantly more often than antonia and kevin won less often than ed. neither of these facts alter who we prefer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mike didn't win anything until the finale as ECs go this season. Including the finale, Antonia had two wins in EC as did Mike so that's not "significantly more often" than Antonia.

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You were speaking of Kevin during *his* season, so I was speaking of Antonia during her original season as well. And as chowser said, Mike's not won anything before the All-Stars, and then not until the last two episodes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As for All-Stars, Antonia had two EC Wins, two QF wins, and 5 Highs, but also 5 Lows. Mike has had 2 ECs, 3 QF, and only 2 Highs and 2 Lows. The majority of this season, he's been smack dab in the middle section - just "In". I just don't see that as better overall.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      and for one of Antonia's "lows", she was cited as having one of the best dishes but was in the low group because of the poor dishes by her teammates. And along with her 2 QF wins, she was cited by Paula Deen as having the best dish in another QF, but didn't win because she was disqualified for not plating enough dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think both performed well overall, and deserved to be in the finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "I think the animosity towards him last season was the five "Lows" he got with only one "Win" before winning it all."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ______
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Just wanted to point out that one of those 'lows' was restaurant wars where Kevin personally made a great dish that likely would have won had he been on the other team.