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Apr 6, 2011 11:22 PM

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."

        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" 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.