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Top Chef All Stars Reunion Show

Did anyone watch? i watched as i chowed and FB'd, half listening.... I was surprised to hear at least 2-3 other chefs back Elia up with regard to her rant against Tom. Jen, Dale Levitsky, and Casey all either spoke up or were nodding in agreement with Elia. Tom seemed a tad defensive... and I thought it was a bit poor spirited to in the end chalk it up to the judges sending Elia home first. What do you think?

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  1. Seemed like the majority of the chefs were more with Tom, shaking their heads at Elias sugestions. Natural for Tom to be very defensive, especially on topic of using quality ingredients. That's something that not only hurts pride, can hurt the core of his business. The biggest defense I heard of Elia was dale supporting Elias criticism of Tom doing ads for diet coke, saying it was a bit of a sellout. Elias point was it's a very unnatural product, dales point was how Tom, being a famous chef is seen as a bit of a role model, thus should be careful about carelessly endorsing brands. Toms main point was he endorsed it because he used it personally and sold it in his restaurants.

    Who's right and who's wrong? On the corn fed vs grass fed beef, will tend to side with tom when he says he uses grass fed, unless Elia comes up with actual names of who said he didn't (or others come forth with proof). But, as far as endorsing so ethng with diet coke, I especially take dales point of being a role model, need to carefully evaluate when/what to endorse and how much.

    Toms point near the end was good too, anytime one speaks with the press, be careful and try to edit yourself, as it's very easy for things to be taken out of context and blown out of proportion.

    All opinions IMHO of course. :)

    11 Replies
    1. re: Cherveny

      Elia seems to be saying that Tom should NEVER use corn-fed beef, and that if someone of his stature and fame would do something like that, it would open the way for others to give it up, thus changing the restaurant industry, cattle industry, etc., etc.

      I can't decide how i feel about the diet coke thing. Tom's point that he draws the line at things he doesn't do himself - i.e., he drinks diet coke and sells diet coke at his restaurants, so it's ok for him to be a spokesperson for it. I drink D.C..... somehow i don't like a famous chef pimping it. can't explain, just doesn't sit right. but again, i drink D.C. not at all logical, i know.

      1. re: Cherveny

        Well, he said he'd never NOT served corn-fed beef - which really confused the issue. "We still have grass-fed beef. [But] we've never not served corn-fed beef in the restaurant." http://www.tvguide.com/News/Top-Chef-...

        I think his point of not being able to have a steakhouse only serving grass-fed beef was hyperbolic, but I also think it's his choice to make. The Strip Club in St. Paul sells only grass-fed beef and they seem to be doing just fine.

        I thought it was admirable Elia stuck to her guns. While Tom said it wasn't personal, his demeanor said it was personal, indeed.

        1. re: MplsM ary

          Tom said it wasn't personal "until Elia made it personal"...so yes, in his view it was personal. I agree with ChefJune below...seems it could be a career ender for Elia...

          1. re: sibeats

            You are totally right.

            I think it's funny how indignant everyone gets over Elia's behavior. She's still young enough to see the issue as black and white, no grey anywhere.

        2. re: Cherveny

          I did get to watch it, and I agree with Cherveny - it seems more of them were looking at Elia as if to say "Are you KIDDING me? You're shooting yourself in the head right now!" Spike, Jennifer, Richard, Marcel and many others were rolling their eyes at Elia's comments. I agree with ChefJune below - she made it (and continued to make it!) personal with her attacks on Tom C.

          As for the Diet Coke thing; I was initially surprised to see Tom shilling it; and if I did drink the stuff, it would make no difference to *me* that he was doing a commercial for it. I certainly wouldn't buy it because Tom Colicchio was doing a commercial. However, it's really no different for *any* celebrity, chef or not, who are doing advertisements. Interestingly, there are still a lot of celebrities who only do commercials overseas so as not to tarnish their image in the U.S. Can't quite figure that out with the availability of those commercials online now, but whatever.

          Quite frankly, I think Elia did herself a huge disservice. Was she really well-known in the chef industry before Top Chef? I'd think she got a lot more doors opened to her by appearing on the show, and taking on Tom C. is just plain stupid - *especially* since she's trying to open a restaurant of her own in L.A.

          As for the rest of the show - loved the outtakes at JT (so when we think Padma is a bit tipsy, she probably is! "I had TWO Gins and Tonics!" LOL) Glad to see Jennifer Carroll realize she went completely overboard with her explosion and expressed regret at her comments (something Elia would be well served to learn). Also liked that Gail Simmons said she was very surprised none of the cheftestants had yet gone off the deep end like Jen did in the previous seasons of TC.

          Oh - and I was hysterically laughing at the Rap Master Marcel tuneage the Elves put together. THAT was pretty damn funny!

          I found it fascinating how many of the cheftestants said they'd do this again.

          1. re: LindaWhit

            Did you also notice that Karla was one that did NOT raise her hand on whether she would do it again. I would have liked to see Andy ask those who said they wouldn't do it again WHY?

            1. re: LindaWhit

              i could have sworn Jen was nodding her head in agreement with Elia and/or Dale L. I'd watch the show again, but the whole thing to me was cringe-worthy - and NOT just the Elia/Tom match.

              Hope you enjoyed your first Wednesday in forever off Linda!

              1. re: mariacarmen

                cringe-worthy is a good way to put it

                1. re: mariacarmen

                  According to an interview, Jen and Elia became very close. So it wouldn't be too surprising to see Jen supporting her buddy. I also think there may be a case of sour grapes because they were booted off so early. But Jen took it a lot better than Elia, whom I think still holds a huge grudge.

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    Yes, unlike Elia, who dug her heels in, Jen admitted that she regretted her behavior.

                    1. re: roxlet

                      She admitted to disappointment in herself, something Elia is incapable of, spewing blame in every other direction and pointing fingers. I was so glad she left, she's such a whiny crybaby.

            2. I couldn't believe Elia went that route again. She had a clear chance to tell Andy she didn't wish to revisit the topic. A potential career-breaker, imho. How does she know she will never need Tom's good will again?

              38 Replies
              1. re: ChefJune

                Padma even GAVE her that chance, saying "Elia, you don't have to respond!" and yet she did. Will be interesting to see how she continues to do in the industry.

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  Elia, despite her obvious anger and inability to self-censor, is a very talented chef. And in the way of all pop-culture things, this will probably be a blip on her professional radar; no big deal at the end of the day, and unremarkable in about a week or so. Chefs are known not to be of even temperament as a rule, and I don't see TC instigating a "blackball" on her - he has more class in his game than that. She may never be a celebrity chef after this, true: but she'll have a career built on her history in this industry, and I don't think this interlude will play into a negative slant in the long run.

                  1. re: mamachef

                    I never suggested that Tom C. would instigate a blackball of her in the industry. I agree - he takes the higher road, unlike Elia. But she could very well have done that for herself. Time will tell.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Hey, dolly: I wasn't speaking at you because you certainly did not suggest such a thing, and I don't believe that you ever would. :)

                    2. re: mamachef

                      Publicly attacking those who brought you to the dance, so to speak, is indeed a career dampener in the restaurant industry. It's like bad mouthing your last employer on a job interview - or on every job interview for the rest of your life. Not many people looking to hire her will trust her, and she's not respected enough (or most likely wealthy enough) to jump straight into the chef-owner game.

                      The most telling detail was the reaction of her fellow contestants. They were very uncomfortable. And it wasn't because they all love diet coke or they can't stand conflict - it was because they didn't like watching Elia damage her career like that, just being stubborn. It was like watching a train wreck (a minor one where no one actually dies).

                      1. re: cowboyardee

                        Thanks, cowboy - your first paragraph sums it up nicely. And there's a short video from the Reunion show on Bravo's site that again shows reactions from many of the chefs when Andy starts discussing Elia article comments.

                        1. re: cowboyardee

                          All good points; all well-received.

                      2. re: LindaWhit

                        Padma even GAVE her that chance, saying "Elia, you don't have to respond!"

                        I'm pretty sure that that was Casey that said that. (Wow, four thats in one sentence!) Anywho, I had to rewind it several times and it's difficult to see because Casey was leaning over, but I think I saw her lips moving.

                        1. re: dmjordan

                          I can't believe there were contestants, including Elia, who thought it would or should not be discussed. Her slams were as public as can be, aimed at destroying the show's and Tom C's integrity and to smear his businesses. Tiffani Faison looked very disapproving, too.

                          1. re: mcf

                            As well she should. It was ill-mannered and in very poor taste.

                            1. re: roxlet

                              You think it was ill mannered and in poor taste for Andy to raise the issue on the reunion? Tiffani appeared to be disapproving of that, not of Elia.

                              1. re: mcf

                                Andy's job is to stir the pot. He does this in all his shows, and it constantly amazes me how his guests get lured into the most lurid confessions. Elia should have just refused to be engaged. In this case, who did her rants benefit? It just made her seem ill mannered. And lets not forget that she originally started it -- without Andy's prompting.

                                1. re: roxlet

                                  Yes to all. Elia has shown no capacity for self awareness, personal responsibility or self control. I agree that, especially since she had no regrets, that Elia should have just refused the discussion, saying she'd said all she had to say in the press post elimination. But Andy wouldn't have been doing his job if he hadn't addressed such a hot button issue coming out of the season. She's just dumb and insolent, IMO.

                                  1. re: roxlet

                                    "Andy's job is to stir the pot. He does this in all his shows..."

                                    The other Bravo shows exist to showcase bitchiness, loudmouthed lack of self-awareness and pointless fighting. There is no reason to watch them otherwise. I'm not sure Andy has ever really gotten the point of Top Chef, any more than he did Project Runway - that it's a talent competition, not a catfight.

                                    This was doubly frustrating to watch. First, it was unpleasant and went on for what felt like forever. Second, and even worse, really, was that the whole argument was obviously heavily edited. I would have liked to hear the ACTUAL statements made by both Tom and Elia about corn-fed vs. grass-fed, etc., but instead the editing left out the actual substance of the disagreement (Tom's explanation of WHY he feels he couldn't run a steakhouse serving grass-fed only, for example) and left in the bitchslapping. Why, oh why, would I want to watch five minutes of fighting without even being entirely clear about what the two sides were? What am I saying? Apparently tons of Bravo viewers are happy to watch hour after hour of fighting on the endless Housewife shows without really caring what the arguments are about. This is what Andy knows and loves and it's what he always pushes for on the reunion shows.

                            2. re: dmjordan

                              Oh, I really think that was Padma telling her she didn't have to respond.

                                1. re: Angel Food

                                  Nope, I just replayed it, and it was nothing like Padma's voice, it was Casey's.

                                2. re: dmjordan

                                  Sounded like Padma to me. Either way - she CHOSE to respond and still was an idiot in her response.

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    Do you still have it to re-listen? Elia IS an idjit.

                                    1. re: mcf

                                      No, I watched it live and don't have a DVR. But thanks to ghg for the call from the senior judge in the box upstairs. :-)

                                      And yes - idjit (or eejit as I spell it) is a perfect definition of she who is Elia. :-)

                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                      didn't know who to respond to here, so i just clicked on a random box within the "debate" about who said it :) i just rewound that particular moment 3 times to be sure, and it was *definitely* Casey - from the side you can see her mouth moving along with the statement.

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        That plus Casey's manner of speaking is very distinctive, her voice and her elocution. I knew before I (more modern word for "rewind") :-) took a few looks just by listening.

                                        1. re: mcf

                                          I disagree. To me it sounded exactly like Padma whose voice I think is very distinct. I thought Casey was just leaning over to get a better view of the trainwreck in progress.

                                          1. re: Bart Hound

                                            I have not rewatched the episode, but at the time I thought it was Padma.

                                            1. re: LurkerDan

                                              I never even considered it to be Padma, I thought it was Casely from the moment I heard it.
                                              I only saw it once.

                                            2. re: Bart Hound

                                              How many times have you listened to it or re-watched?

                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                          Seen/heard it once and thought it was Padma right away. Doubt very much it was Cassey.

                                          1. re: Withnail42

                                            Just watched it again. It was Casey.

                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                              Let me save you some time: Was not! Was so! Was not! was so! Not! So! Not! So!

                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                Wonder if someone asks Padma on twitter if she would tell us definitively yes or no.

                                                    1. re: sommrluv

                                                      It's SO Casey. Just played again on slo mo, watching her mouth the words as she leans toward Elia secretively, despite being miked. :-)

                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                        Casey or whomever, Elia wouldn't know good advice if it came up and bit her in the fanny!

                                        3. re: LindaWhit

                                          Actually, I TIVO'd the episode and watched it back.Several times. Can't argue with the evidence. It was Casey, not Padma who leaned over and told Elia she did not have to respond to that.

                                          1. re: EAH

                                            I concur, EAH. When I first watched the episode, I was certain it was Padma. But I re-watched that bit via DVR over the weekend and agree it was Casey.

                                      2. Corn fed beef can still be natural and humanely raised, but it also has a much different taste. I doubt Tom's shopping at the local A&P for steak.
                                        Elia had every right to say what she thought, but she was a little pig-headed. Dale just tried to diffuse the situation with some explanation of where she was coming from.
                                        Tom was right that she shouldn't have made it personal and since she didn't back off and continued to lecture him was made him mad.
                                        As far as Diet Coke, who really cares if he gets paid to do a commercial? The whole show is a shill for something, filled with product placements, so why are we now so shocked that the host of one of the more popular cable shows did a spot for one more product? No one pays you or me to hawk Diet Coke on television because no one wants to see us. I'd bet that every one of those chefs would give anything to get on a commercial, probably regardless of the product.

                                        1. All that confrontation was unneccasary and totally killed it for me.

                                          I like the Carla video clip. Hoootee Hoooo!!

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                            On superficial level, was sad to see Carla de-poofed her hair though now.

                                          2. I used to be an Elia fan, but her sour grapes attitude disappointed me. While I understand the Diet Coke thing, to attack Tom for not using grass fed beef or fresh ingredients is juvenile and just plain stupid.

                                            How about the Jamie segment? She really didn't have much to say about her lack of cooking.

                                            I lol when they asked Dale about buying the engagement ring and he said he didn't get the check yet!

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: lawgirl3278

                                              I had hoped that Jamie was going to explain herself, although her lack of an explanation for her nonexistent cooking spoke volumes. I was never a big fan and now I am even less of a fan.

                                              I was also surprised that they didn't bring up the whole scallop thing.

                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                Ha, ha! But then they'd have to talk about gnocchi!

                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                  ,<Ha, ha! But then they'd have to talk about gnocchi!>

                                                  fwiw, I just got a GREAT recipe for Ricotta Gnocchi. such soft little pillows. You can sauce them with anything. ;)

                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                    And I was surprised that she raised her hand when Andy asked if any of the chefs would want to do another season. I can understand some of the other chefs who want "redemption" or the additional exposure, but she just looked bored and disinterested this season.

                                                    1. re: viperlush

                                                      With the amount of money being thrown around for quickfires and wins, I'm surprised every chef didn't raise their hand.

                                                  2. re: lawgirl3278

                                                    I lol when they asked Dale about buying the engagement ring and he said he didn't get the check yet!
                                                    yes! i'm surprised no one else mentioned that. those challenges were filmed *months* ago, it's a bit surprising that Bravo hasn't ponied up yet.

                                                  3. Right or wrong, I do think that Tom has a bigger responsibility to make a statement with the "products" he sells in his restaurants. Especially for the prices he charges. To me, it's like restaurants taking a firm stand on NOT serving seafood that is not substainable. Everyone has the freedom to serve what they want. Doesn't mean they should. Frankly, I'd never heard of him prior to Top Chef. Also realize, this show was heavily edited, and not "live". There was no way BRAVO was going to have Tom looking bad. I agree with C.Hamster, the whole matter was uneccessary.

                                                    1. Even though the segment on Antonia being the Black Hammer was kind of s rehash, I still LMAO. Poor woman won't live that down amongst her fellow chefs.

                                                      I thought Steven was remarkably low profile as was Marcel.

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                        I LOL at that, and pretty much every time Antonia was on screen. I've become a fan this year, I think she's very warm and also extremely funny, especially on the topic of Mikey.

                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                          Stephen was non-existent except for a few camera shots while at the Reunion.

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            IIRC, Stephen had "his" reunion show moment in S1, when he apologized to Candice. I don't blame him for keeping a low profile in this crowd.

                                                            1. re: momjamin

                                                              But there were no questions for either him or Marcel - from Andy or anyone. I wasn't concerned about *him* keeping a low profile - I'm just fine with that as I'm not a fan of him anyway and thought he was way out of his league with this A-S group. There was just *nothing* from him except a few camera shots. When questions were asked, he just seemed to sit there.

                                                              Granted, Marcel at least got his Rap Master Marcel treatment from the Elves, so there was some focus on him. :-)

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                Yeah really didn't need to see that Marcel rap junk.

                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                  I thought it was fun and he was good natured about it. They kept the Marcel hate to a minimum.

                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                              The one time I noticed that they cut to Stephen was when someone used the word 'eccentric' and suddenly there he was.

                                                              1. re: Withnail42

                                                                Ding, ding, ding - we have a winnah! LOL

                                                          2. I think that the point Tom was making was that Elia chose to take her loss personally, and that is why she started venting. He pointed out that he had been to many of the cheftestants' restaurants, and would never speak publicly about the meals he ate at them. He also pointed out that the decision to oust Elia first was one that was unanimous, but that, for some reason, she had placed her misery at his feet. The issue about the grass-fed beef was a really dumb one to raise. Some people don't like grass fed beef, and might not eat at a restaurant that exclusively sold grass fed beef. I think it's a acquired taste, and might not be what you're looking for when every fiber of your being says "steak!!" As far as selling out by doing a DC commercial, that comes under the heading of the pot calling the kettle black. I think that there might be a case to be made that appearing on TC is also selling out. Are you a real chef, or do you just play one on TV?

                                                            It was an exceedingly stupid thing to do, IMO, but whether or not it has an impact on her career remains to be seen. At the end of the day, watching TC is of fanatical interest to a relatively small group of people, and I doubt highly that it would prevent a members of the general public from dining at her restaurant.

                                                            And I was so happy to see the scenes with Carla and to hear about how much everyone on the show liked her. If I am not mistaken, she was the only chef that had something like that said about her.

                                                            Another thing that I thought was interesting was that, although Richard professed that he didn't believe that Mike stole his recipe, and that he would do it completely differently, the expression on Richard's face when the issue was raised told a different tale. He looked soooo pissed.

                                                            That montage of Mike acting grossly, kind of grossed me out. Publicly farting, belching loudly, rubbing his privates, well, you can't make that stuff up, and edited together, it painted quite an unappealing picture.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                              Thank you. You made my points far, far better than I did.

                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                Good point about the Mike montage. Really, REALLY unappealing. His wife must love that for all to see. But he obviously doesn't care.

                                                              2. I was disappointed that they even brought the Elia controversy up...the show was mostly good natured ribbing to that point. Considering Tom's status on the show there is no doubt that the situation was discussed beforehand and he gave it the go-ahead. I can see him now shaking his head in resignation and saying something like "if she wants to shoot herself in the foot so be it"! And that’s exactly what she did.

                                                                Elia may not have sealed her fate but she most certainly bit the hand that fed her and made it that much harder on herself by sticking to her guns. If she was so offended by Tom's diet coke commercial why no mention of the Carl's Jr. spot featuring Padma? What obviously began as the ranting of a sore loser became something so much more thanks to her foolish pride. It reminds of the words to a song…“Stupid girl…all you had you wasted…stupid girl.”

                                                                16 Replies
                                                                1. re: LiveRock

                                                                  Well said, LiveRock!
                                                                  I cringed, too, when the debacle started. Elia could have chosen a much higher road to travel, but she didn't. I find it pretty careless to give yourself bad publicity as you're about to open your own restaurant. I would think that she would want to set herself up with good press, so that people are encouraged to come out and support her...rather than write her off as the cheftestant who's busier spreading her sour grapes.

                                                                  1. re: LiveRock

                                                                    I was disappointed that they even brought the Elia controversy up...the show was mostly good natured ribbing to that point.
                                                                    i've never seen any of these shows besides the TC ones, but from what i've heard, the reunion shows for other series on the network usually involve a lot of tears, name-calling and arguing on...i assume they brought it up to stir the pot and add some drama to an otherwise tame and very G-rated show.

                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                      I would kind of like to have Bravo show all the reunion shows back to back. I think some of them got even more uncomfirtable than this one, which is why they probably won't ever repeat them.

                                                                      I think two of the big winners from TC are Dale Tilde and Tiffani Faison. They didn't like the way they behaved on their TC first appearances and made significant changes in their personalities/behaviors which is not an insignificant feat.

                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                        i agree about Dale Talde & Tiffani. in fact, i have even more respect for Tiffani now after hearing her comments last night - she's definitely matured and become much more self-aware since S1. and i think we were all happy to see the evidence of Dale's evident growth throughout the All-Stars season.

                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                          Yes, clearly they must have watched themselves and not liked what they saw -- unlike Elia who claimed to not watch the show. I hope she watches the reunion!

                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                            I didn't like Elia's attitude since the Thanksgiving episode of TC 1. She moped during the entire EC and then went nuts with the chocolate. That's when she first let it be known that she had a problem with Tom's authority as a judge. She never should have returned with that attitude.

                                                                            Jamie to has stated she hasn't watched the show. She needs to at least watch the first six episodes. Elia only needs to watch one. ; )

                                                                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                            What is interesting is that during the reunion episode of Season 1, Stephen had his own mea culpa, talking about how he didn't like what he saw of himself on the show, and he apologized (and has been much nicer on TV since then). It took Tiffani a lot longer than that, it seems, but I left this show with a very positive opinion of her, which I did NOT have after season 1. She was definitely a "winner" this season.

                                                                            1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                              Tiffani was actually very gracious during her finale and in her reunion show. But everybody still piled on her.

                                                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                Are you kidding? During her finale treated her sous chefs (Dave and Stephen) like crap and they responded in kind. Didn't she walk off her reunion show?

                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                  Why? Because she told them not to leave their wineglasses on the line? She told them that it was OK to drink but not to leave the glasses on the line. David and Stephen acted quite unprofessionally and just gave her a hard time. And when the judges asked her about her sous chefs, she was very gracious about all the help they gave her, even though they showed up drunk/hung over.

                                                                                  She also walked off the reunion because she felt like everybody was ganging up on her for her past behaviors. True, she was a bitch for Season 1. But when she saw herself on TV, she realized that and tried to amend her ways. But the damage was done and not enough time had elapsed for some of the other contestants to forget.

                                                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                    Yea, Dave and Stephen did behave badly. I thought I made that clear. She behaved badly also. She talked down to them prior to the wine glass thing and they couldn't get past the way she behaved during the season. Walking off the set was not a gracious way to act on the reunion show whether you think she was justified or not. She didn't like what she saw and made significant changes. Stephen was still arrogant and Marcel behaved poorly again.

                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                      Why do you think she talked down to them? Because she had a set idea of what she wanted for the finale? Because she was authoritative as opposed to be collaborative like in her approach? I think those are just two different styles of leadership -- doesn't necessarily make one better than the other.

                                                                                      I felt empathy for her when she walked off the set. I'm glad that she was perceived differently this time around.

                                                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                        She really showed a lot of class by even admitting she did some things wrong. She reminded me of the blonde girl with the pigtails on that same season..the one who was screaming at Marcel all the time. She came on a holiday reunion show and apologized to Marcel on camera.

                                                                                        1. re: sommrluv

                                                                                          Marcel and Betty were season 2; Tiffani, Dave, and Stephen on S1. S2 made us appreciate the maturity of S1, Tiffani/Dave, Stephen/Candice, and Ken notwithstanding ;-)

                                                                                          1. re: sommrluv

                                                                                            she didn't admit she did *some* things wrong, she admitted to having been an *a$$hole.* She was just awful that season. I like her now, admire her self examination and candor.

                                                                                          2. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                            It's been a while since I've seen either episode but gracious is not a word I would use to describe Tiffani during TC1 and Tiffani herself has pretty much said the same thing. She has since TC1 consistently been gracious and has exhibited nothing but class with exception of the brassier incident during TC8 Episode 5.

                                                                        2. I also did not think most of the chefs were on the bandwagon with Elia - rather I thought they looked rather uncomfortable with it. I will give it a second look though if I can catch it.

                                                                          I think the whole grass fed beef issue is not a bad issue to raise, and certainly it would be admirable for Elia or other TC contestants could use their new celebrity to promote awareness of sustainability and healthy food industry practices...HOWEVER, it seems to me that Elia came off as petulant, vindictive, and immature in this questioning/attacking Tom Colicchio, especially in the context of theTC loss . She just did not seem willing to let it go. I don't think attacking him in the media serves to make this point well, rather it is seen as it has been - in the context of sour grapes and her elimination.

                                                                          I thought Jen came off somewhat better, but I think the comment herethat she and Elia became close friends maybe explains in part her behavior during her elimination tantrum. I thought she was graceless and bordered on obnoxious much in the same way as Elia. I was surprised to see this since during her season she had seemed quite different.

                                                                          I am guessing that Tom's endorsement of Diet Coke is probably a business decision
                                                                          (read:big bucks) as much as anything else. Hopefully he will use the money well and employ lots of young sapiring chefs and food industry workers.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: LJNew

                                                                            Toms' done more charity work for hunger and nutrition than Elia ever will. If Tom wants to endorse a product that he uses, more power to him. Corn vs grass fed beef - most places serve grain fed beef. Choosing one over the other shouldn't be a point of contention. I'd be more concerned over beef that's been raised on growth hormones.

                                                                            1. re: Bunson

                                                                              Ty. Also most (not all) "grass fed beef" is still finished off Corn fed.

                                                                              Great link here BTW

                                                                              I also think the term "grass fed" and "Organic" are used by people who do not fully understand the concept of what those things entail. It's just a really sounds good.


                                                                              1. re: Bunson

                                                                                I agree with every point you raised. Having spent many years in the ad business, I'm a little bugged by the descriptor words such as 'pimped', 'shill', 'hawked' (did I miss any?) when describing Tom's Diet Coke commercials. Diet Coke is a legal, mainstream product. In fact it is the second biggest selling soft drink after Classic Coke and befor Pepsi. There is absolutely nothing wrong with him doing a spot for that product.

                                                                                I had a boss once who used to say "Nothing happens until somebody sells something".

                                                                            2. Has nobody mentioned Padma's desire to motorboat Antonia? I had to do a double-take when I heard that. Seems if she wants to get into that, Casey would be the far better choice.

                                                                              51 Replies
                                                                              1. re: jackbauer

                                                                                i had to check out urban dictionary to find out what that meant! that was a funny moment to me.

                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                  I'm still stunned that Padma actually said it! Even funnier that she said "I just learned what that is - so happy I could say it!"

                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                    Yes, I did a double take on that!

                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                      I think she must've had two gin and tonics again. I could've used a spew alert. :-)

                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                          Great input, everyone! I agree with mostly everyone- Don't bite the hand that feeds you. More like fed you, TC won't feed you no more, Elia! BTW, just noticed that "TC" is interchangeable between Tom C and Top Chef.

                                                                                          I am not a chef and admittedly know scary little about food issues for a chow, but can someone explain in a nutshell what the big deal is about corn fed vs grass fed beef? Is it an animal rights thing, an environmental thing, what exactly?

                                                                                          I'm a girlie girl with a boyfriend but I have a huge crush on Padma. I even named my new car Padma. So my mouth dropped and I was quite excited by her girl-curious comments. I had to google 'motorboat' as well. I am kinda shocked she said it on tv! Does anyone else agree that Padma is just the combination of beauty, poise, brains, sweet nature, and humor? She's the bomb!

                                                                                          I love the montages on the reunion specials. I always enjoy the reunion special so much more than I expct because of all the great stuff they put together. I'm a film/video editor so it's kinda a perfect amalgamation of my life's great passions. :)

                                                                                          1. re: sarahbeths

                                                                                            Grass-fed cattle are allowed to roam to graze. The grass is a natural food for them, whereas corn is not. They're not built to digest as much corn as American beef producers feed them.

                                                                                            Whatever type of grass they're eating helps to flavor the beef. Some prefer it; others are too used to the mildness of mostly corn-fed beef - some people call it "gamey" when it's grass-fed. Granted, that's the way beef *used* to taste, but most everyone is more used to corn-fed beef nowadays.

                                                                                            Pastured meat usually is leaner, since the cattle *are* allowed to roam around. The meat then cooks more quickly (that's always a learning experience!) Corn-fed cattle are usually penned or confined in smaller areas, the corn fattens them up.

                                                                                            This is a good thread to read: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/400836

                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                              The grass fed beef is leaner because grass doesn't lend itself to putting fat on the cattle, not so much to the movement of the cattle. They tend to move pretty slow and stand and eat or lay around.

                                                                                              Somebody posted that most pastured cattle is finished off with corn (or a mix of grain) and they are correct. It is also true that not all beef finished with grain is a 'factory farmed' animal. I know beef producers that sell they animals to families, restaurants and meat markets/lockers. Just because a steer is fed grain doesn't make the meat evil to consume..

                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                Totally understand that re: feeding the steer grain doesn't make a bad beef producer. My stepfather raised two steers when he and my mother lived in central PA and "Sir Charles" (Sirloin + Chuck) was most definitely fed grass, hay *and* corn.

                                                                                                And thanks for the clarification about grass and not the movement of the cattle making for leaner beef.

                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                  I grew up in farm country before moving to tge suburbs. Almost 11 years ago we bought a farm in northern Minnesota for recreation, it's mostly woods, but we do have almost 100 acres of pasture and a local cattle rancher does not feed his cattle any grain. He sells them to a finisher. We get grain fed beef and it does taste different than the grocery store meat. The biggest difference is that it has a 'beefier' flavor, to coin a phrase.

                                                                                                  The reason the cattle get fat on grain is because of the vast quanities they eat, which is almost nonstop.

                                                                                            2. re: sarahbeths

                                                                                              For a thorough exploration of the difference between grass-fed and corn-fed beef, read Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma". It was a life-changer for me and for my husband.

                                                                                              1. re: judybird

                                                                                                and if you don't have a copy of the book on hand, here are a couple of short & sweet online pieces to peruse:

                                                                                                and some CH threads that discuss flavor, politics, processes, etc:

                                                                                                oh, and granted it's a few years old, but Elia might want to read the last part of the OP in the first CH link i provided! :)

                                                                                    2. re: jackbauer

                                                                                      OK, just looked it up. Um yeah. Anyone know where I can get some footage.....


                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                        Damn, there are a lot of people who had to look that up. Does it make me some kind of perv that I not only knew what it meant, but also know that it's quite possibly the most benign term on UrbanDictionary?

                                                                                        1. re: jackbauer

                                                                                          I knew what it was, have for years. Is that bad? ;-)

                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                              just kidding. i worked for almost 10 years with 8 very ribald men who had no censor whatsoever and I'd never heard it! heard a lot worse, tho.... some of it even food related!

                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                I'm sure I could make those men blush. :-)

                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                  Vince Vaughn does an AMAZING impression of a motorboat in Wedding Crashers.

                                                                                                  1. re: Bunson

                                                                                                    Yes. Anyone saying they had to look it up is basically saying they never saw Wedding Crashers.

                                                                                                    1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                      I should be embarrassed to say it, but I knew it before then, and don't recall it from the movie.

                                                                                                2. re: mcf

                                                                                                  I've known what it is for years too!

                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                    Same here. That's why my jaw just dropped when Padma said it! LOL

                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                      When you think about it, it really is bizarre! I mean, come on -- you are a well-known female celebrity and you say, on national TV, mind you, that you want to put your face in between another woman's breasts. Even if done in a lighthearted way, it's still weird.

                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                        I love the dichotomy..or is it false dichotomy or false dilemma?

                                                                                                        Can you imagine if Tom C. had made a similar lighthearted comment (and I believe it was lighthearted on her part) about a male cheftestant?..... Man whole other can of beans.

                                                                                                        Sorry these things amuse me ...no prob if this gets obliterated quickly.

                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                          Very much agree, roxlet! And chris2269 is *so* right - if Tom Colicchio had said it, can you IMAGINE the fallout?

                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                            OR - if Tom had said it to a female chef - YIKES!

                                                                                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                              When I heard Padma say it, I thought the term had another meaning of which I was unaware. It turns out she's just weird.

                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                i'm not a huge fan of Padma's, buy she has to be "weird"? she can't just be "silly"?

                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                  Maybe I should have posted that I found her statement weird. I already posted it was bizarre. It was both. It went waaay beyond silly into the weird and bizarre territory. As I posted before, it would be bizarre if Jamie or Tiffani and said it and it was more bizarre coming from Padma.

                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                    i don't find it incongruous with what i see of her sense of humor in general. it was a perfectly funny way to dismiss a ridiculous question.

                                                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                                                      Padma has a sense of humor? How did that escape my notice? :-)

                                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                                        I don't remember the question. I stand by my opinion that her statement was weird and bizarre. Whatever the question, I'm sure it could have been deflected with another, actually silly, response.

                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                          sense of humor, like taste in anything, is highly individualized.

                                                                                                                          she was asked if she would rather date fabio or angelo i believe. she said she's rather date the elia or casey, or she could just motorboat antonia.

                                                                                                                          it's clearly a joke.

                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                            Is it possible that it is the same-sex aspect of her response that bothered you more than other aspects?

                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                              Actually, the same sex aspect is not what bothered me. I think that she said it at all is what bothered me.What if Tom had said it? Would it still be funny then? It's not that important and doesn't really deserve this much discussion. I just think the statement made in that setting was bizarre.

                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                but she was asked a dating question - who would you date? which itself is a silly question to ask in a show that is about cooking. to me her response was in the same vein - silly. if it's remotely funny (and i'm not saying it is), it's because she's a straight woman supposedly wanting to do a silly act to women's breasts it's all silliness - it's not bizarre for her to answer a silly question with a silly response.

                                                                                                                                but you're right, doesn't deserve this much discussion. but that's what we do here!

                                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                  The question was silly, the response bizarre? A silly response would have been to say "neither, I'd rather date Marcel".

                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                    The only thing silly about that response is someone wanting to date Marcel.

                                                                                                                                    KIDDING PEOPLE, PLEASE DON'T TEAR ME APART!!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                      "The only thing silly about that response is someone wanting to date Marcel."

                                                                                                                                      That's why I wrote it that way.

                                                                                                                2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                  I thought it was a light hearted way to avoid picking one of the guys for a date. She has dated a number of famous men, and is in a custody battle for her daughter. Seems like she couldn't really have ment to come out on national tv...

                                                                                                                3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                  I still don't know why she said it. Even if Tiffani or Jamie said it it would be bizarre.

                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                    maybe she had a couple of "Gins and Tonics" before the show? :)

                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                      John E., I agree with you. And while you may not go as far as this, I'd even say I found her comments startlingly inappropriate. As a judge she is basically an authority figure. I'm not sure she'd have made the same comments if she wasn't well in her cups, as she clearly was.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Niblet

                                                                                                                        well, she's more host than judge, and i don't think anyone really sees her as an authority figure. Tom? of course. Gail? yup. Padma? not so much.

                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                          Frankly, I not only didn't find Padma's comment about Antonia off-putting or "startlingly inappropriate," I agreed with her.

                                                                                                              2. Really enjoyed the show. Great to see people laugh at themselves. It was a bunch of colleagues having fun as opposed to a bunch of people ready to compete.

                                                                                                                The 'bromance' segments were very funny. and I noticed that Fabio had his knee on Richard's leg for much of the show.

                                                                                                                Elia seems like a real pain unable to move on from proving that she's right. She was also a pain during her season as well. Richard and Mike said on the post finale interview show that they were both very uncomfortable the confrontation. Not them but the whole room felt awkward as well.

                                                                                                                I thought it was interesting that Tiffany said winning her season would have been a very bad thing for her by justifying her bad behavior.

                                                                                                                Padmas slurring her 'two gins and tonics' was very funny.

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                  Okay, I re-listened to that, and I could swear she said "gin" not "gins."

                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                    Actually I thought she said 'gin' But when someone suggested 'gins' thought it worked. Either way it looked like she enjoyed them.

                                                                                                                2. i could have done without the drama, but as i said in another reply, i'm pretty sure that's WHY they brought it up. Jen C did nod her head when Elia said that Tom could help small farmers if he only sold grass-fed beef, but Dale L was the only one who *verbally* supported Elia, and i actually cringed when he jumped into the mix and started talking about integrity - it just made the whole thing even more uncomfortable. as for Tom's comment about her being the first to go home, in pretty much every piece of coverage i read about her early exit there was some assumption/belief that her bitterness over being eliminated was the catalyst for the things she said about him.

                                                                                                                  i thought the rap, Hammering and Angelo montages were all hilarious, the rest of it was a snooze-fest.

                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                    My first thought when the Elia thing started was that it seemed like she went to Craft with every intention of digging something up that she could use (though there was some confusion as to whether she actually went into the kitchen to dig around; when Tom specifically asked her if she'd gone in the kitchen, she seemed to backtrack, or am I remembering that interchange incorrectly).

                                                                                                                    Smacks of extra sour grapes

                                                                                                                    1. re: cmvan

                                                                                                                      Oh no, she backpedaled VERY quickly! There was a lot of laughter from other chefs who were teasing Tom that he was trying to find out from Elia if the chef at Craft let her into the kitchen so he could fire him/her for doing so!

                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                        Yeah, Tom caught her in a lie about seeing the animals that were being broken down in his kitchen.

                                                                                                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                      I thought Antonia's observations were the funniest part of the show. Dale pissed me off with his whole integrity lasting the career insinuation. Who are they to decide who Tom C must be?

                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                        Somehow I missed that last night. Just saw it very funny!

                                                                                                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                          There's a lot more in video Bonus Clips at the Bravo site we didn't see. Here's delusional Marcel: http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/seaso... VERY interesting question from Tom C. near the end.

                                                                                                                          Other videos at the "All Videos" link allow you to see some behind the scenes to show you how hard everyone works on set...a day with the Associate Producer, the Talent Coordinator who works with Padma, and Sandee Birdsong (from TC3) and how she was instrumental in setting up two full restaurants in 10 hours for Restaurant Wars.


                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                            I knew you couldn't stay away Linda.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                              Well, now I never said I wasn't going to watch the Reunion show - just originally wasn't sure I was going to be able to actually see it!

                                                                                                                              And I'm still not recapping, Phaedrus. :::vbg:::

                                                                                                                      2. After I watch these reunion shows I always think afterwards "Boy, I could have skipped that" The best part was watching Elmo and Cookie monster behind the scenes. Is it only me who thinks that Andy dude doing the interviewing is annoying as hell? Isn't he the pres. of Bravo or something... shocking!! Hey Andy , give Dale his check!! I was SOO glad to see Elia gone the first episode- what a crybaby! Grass, corn feed-gotta make your customers happy -whatever goes-to each his own.

                                                                                                                        1. One thing I liked also from this reunion show was an extra bordain comment on marcels desert in restaurant wars that got chopped out of the episode, describing the powdered coconut portion as the white flakes of underarm deodorant that get stuck in your underarm hair. :)

                                                                                                                          1. I always enjoy the reunion shows and this episode was no different!
                                                                                                                            Elia, I dunno, time will tell if she damaged her career or not. I thought it was a shame, the way she acted.

                                                                                                                            1. I really enjoyed the reunion show. The editing was fun (ha, the bromance part was really funny). The Elia part was hard to watch. I didn't love Andy's interviewing style here, but I thought the cast and editing/special effects were very entertaining, despite the awkward interview style.

                                                                                                                              1. Elia strikes me as passionately idealistic and a little naive, especially with her comments about "coming to this country" with the idea of supporting grass-fed beef and local produce in something as monolithic as the American restaurant industry. From her comments, I read that she pinned her hopes on Tom Colicchio's example having the power to single-handedly reverse the use of corn-fed beef and is bitterly disappointed that he doesn't lead the way. While I agree that grassfed beef is a thousand percent healthier, better for the environment, and more humane, I don't see that any one chef has the power to change such a lucrative and deeply entrenched system.

                                                                                                                                (With regards to the E.coli issue - a horrible slaughterhouse industry is as much to blame, and the USDA needs to change its practices AND be given enough funds to ramp up enforcement of existing regulations. I remember an interview with a local cattleman who likened watching his grass-fed beef be loaded up to go to to the processing facility to "sending his teenage daughters off to a whorehouse.")

                                                                                                                                Padma's comments about the gins and tonics needs to be my new ringtone.