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Top Chef Masters, Finale spoiler?

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So....I'm first? Really? I really thought it was going to be Many Sue...

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  1. well, that Saveur editor with the pinched face always talks as if he has the supreme authority, so perhaps he gave us some satisfaction after ruining many episodes, by pushing his 'personal chef' to the top. Floyd took the most risks in his dishes (the disparaging comments on his upma sounded pretty clueless or utterly jaded) with the least time to prep, stuck with poorly dressed fish for his middle course. He was consistently impressive each week and had little prize $$ to show for it. Mary Sue's dessert course did get the most raves from the hyper-critical diners. The chef who got saddled cooking for Greene was going to have the toughest time. Her food memory sounded pretty fuzzy, and perhaps her brain's endorphin triggers have been overheated too far, too often over the years of hedonism. des Jardins knew the pitfalls of re-creation and saw problems right away with the type and quality of the birds she ended up utilizing. [fried duck in itself isn't unusual at all, in Chinese cooking anyway, where there are a few regional variations on it].

    No complaints here with the result. Floyd maintained a marvelous attitude through the whole competition, perhaps best portrayed in the meal he cooked for the army officer's home coming, executing a seemingly simple meal flawlessly in a huge quantity, totally committed to serving the famiies.

    1 Reply
    1. re: moto

      I too felt the comments about the upma were clueless...I think someone described it as "simple and homey" as if that were a bad thing. Well, duh....its comfort food! And it was supposed to be a childhood memory; choosing a comfort food from teatime just made sense! Then he managed to add his own twist, and it looked delicious to me. Come to think of it, do they publish the recipes anywhere? I think DH would like some of that upma :-)

    2. I was happy with the results. I knew Traci was not in the running, and I figured it would be between Mary Sue and Floyd. I ate at Tabla once, and it was a fantastic meal. Too bad the restaurant closed, so I wonder where Floyd is now...

      4 Replies
      1. re: roxlet

        Floyd has been named as chef for Danny Meyer's North Cove restaurant opening (hopefully) this year near the World Financial Center (where I work so I am very excited about it). I would have been pleased with either Floyd or Mary Sue as the winner based on what we saw last night. - so yes indeed good result!

        1. re: Bloombee

          Can you say where, exactly? By the Applebees? Movie thatre? Up by the H.S?

          1. re: Bloombee

            I just googled it, and it will be called The North End Grill and will supposedly be in the style of Union Square. It will be in the Embassy Suites in Tribeca on North End and Murray Streets.

            1. re: roxlet

              Right by Chevy's or maybe it's replacing Chevy's. Thanks

        2. I'm happy. I predicted it last week. I posted this: From the start of this lackluster season I've pegged Floyd Cardoz as the best chef of them all. That's because I ate at Tabla, his NYC restaurant, quite a few times, and loved it. But don't rely on me. Check out what Top Chef judge Ruch Reichl had to say about this restaurant when she reviewed it in 1999.


          5 Replies
          1. re: Brian S

            I also predicted a "come-from-behind" victory for Floyd, on the basis of his great cooking abilities (not tomention teaching ability, as well).

            However, I was rather cheering for Traci.

            1. re: ChefJune

              Well, I was cheering for the Bruins last night - and it WORKED! ;-)

              Didn't watch the finale either as I lost interest in the TCMs this season, but I guess I'm glad for Floyd, although he barely registers in my brain. I remember Mary Sue and Traci; wish Naomi had been in the finale.

              Interesting - all three TCMasters have been guys.

              1. re: LindaWhit

                And with only one guy in the final four...

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  I was too and drinking too much beer. I totally forgot about TCM but when I got home somehow I flipped to it and watched for like 5 minutes and then woke up at 5 am.

                  Ill watch it on demand.

              2. re: Brian S

                Unless you ate at all the other chef's restaurants you have no basis for saying he was better than they are. You loved his restaurant -- you might have loved theirs as well.

              3. I am very happy for Floyd and I screamed with joy when they called his name. I , too enjoyed his food at Tabla and he seems like such a nice and caring guy.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mrsjoujou

                  Agree with you 100%. I miss Tabla, but look forward to trying his new restaurant. Does anyone know when it will open?

                2. They way they've been editing the show in the last few episodes, I was pretty sure Floyd was going to win. But I would have been happy with any of them.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    Definitely--their showing Floyd saying, "I always come in second behind Mary Sue" was a dead giveaway.

                  2. Knew it was going to be between Floyd and Mary Sue. Glad Floyd won. Always to bridesmaid Floyd made it to the top. Kudos to all

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      Hear, hear.

                    2. I like Floyd, but I wanted Mary Sue or Traci to win.

                      1. All I can say is that Mary Sue was robbed and it was all Oseland's fawning fault. Mary Sue had consistently outcooked Floyd throughout the entire season evidenced by the number of times Floyd came in second to Mary Sue.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: araknd

                          i disagree - mary sue ahd one great dish and 2 good ones, it seemed.

                          more to the point, past performance is never supposed to come into play in top chef. each competition is a fresh start with all contestants on an equal footing. she could have won every challenge going in to this, and still it wouldnt matter if floyd was better that meal.

                        2. Ended up happy to see any of these three win ... and the finale was the first episode where we really got to see them cook ... it was so refreshing after this awful season of gimmickry.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Siun

                            I agree--I liked seeing how well they all cooked, how well they all worked together and worried about each other, the respect they all have for each other (and with past top chef masters), how this came down to their cooking their best interpretation. I would have been happy to see any of them win.

                            I do think, though, it's unfair for each to have to cook a different memory. I think it would have shown a lot more, as comparisons go, if they'd all do the same memory. And, it would have been great to see their different interpretations of the same dish.

                            1. re: Siun

                              It is really such a shame, too, because this season could have been chock full of drool-worthy amazing dishes if it weren't for all the extra twists and turns and gimmicks they threw at them this season. I found it almost disrespectful to this season's chefs, which especially annoys me since these chefs were such a nice and likeable bunch.

                            2. While I did not see every episode, I am glad they got rid of the numbering/scoring system they previously used. I thought Mary Sue Milliken should have won.

                              I did see an episode where Floyd went on and on how bad red meat is just prior to one of the others serving red meat. As I recall it was Hugh Acheson that Floyd annoyed. While Hugh may have gone a little overboard in his reaction, he was correct in that it was a thoughtless thing fir Floyd to do. I think it might have been part of a team competition as well.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: John E.

                                I'm pretty sure it was the other Indian chef, not Floyd, that did that. Can't remember his name off the top of my head. ETA: His name was Suvir.

                                1. re: dmjordan

                                  Exactly - that was not Floyd - it was Suvir Saran:


                                  1. re: Siun

                                    Wow that's a little embarassing. As I stated, I did not see all the episodes. I should have realized it was someone else because Floyd was so nice in the last three episodes. Actually, all three of the finalists were quite likeable. My apologies to Floyd.

                                    1. re: John E.

                                      I agree, it was refreshing to see all three being very supportive of one another. I would have preferred Mary Sue but then , I have been a big fan since the Two Hot Tamales days and just like her quiet professional demeanor.

                                      1. re: John E.

                                        Especially given that Floyd served oxtail and short ribs for the finale...

                                2. Here's an interesting piece by Ruth Reichl about Floyd and judging TCM:

                                  16 Replies
                                  1. re: roxlet

                                    Speaking of Ruth, her hairstyle (and especially color) rub me the wrong way. I just looked her up and she's into her 60s. I know I shouldn't judge but the girly girl hairdo just bugs me.

                                    1. re: DGresh

                                      When you get older, you'll understand.

                                      1. re: Brian S

                                        actually I'm not much younger than her.

                                        1. re: DGresh

                                          I resent her hair because I'm losing mine! :-) Just kidding - I love Ruth, and wish they'd replace James with her.

                                          I'm glad Floyd won, even though I was rooting for Mary Sue.

                                        2. re: Brian S

                                          Speaking of age, how old is Mary Sue? The way she carries herself and her general energy level plus appearance I was guessing around 40, but some of the things I'm reading about her career make me think that can't be right, like the sous chef she has who looks older than her but has been with her since he was 16, and the 25 years with Susan Finegan.

                                          1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                            She seems to have gotten her start back in the late 1970s, so she's definitely older than 40. http://marysueandsusan.com/about/abou...

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              best i can find she was born in 58. would make her 52-53... but her age is super hard to find. interesting.

                                              1. re: AMFM

                                                That age would make sense - it's my age. And I started working in my field in 1979 after 2 years at secretarial school.

                                                1. re: AMFM

                                                  I thought you posted "her age is super hard to find interesting".

                                                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                    LOL. it was weird. normally a good google search and you can find just about anything. her DOB is a highly guarded secret.

                                                    1. re: AMFM

                                                      I thought exactly the same thing! Whenever I see a "simple" question, I have a little assignment to myself to see how quickly I can answer it-- This one I couldn't though!

                                                      1. re: DGresh

                                                        I tried the usual searches too and came up empty. Since she has appeard on TV so many times Mary Sue Milliken does have an imdb page. It lists her birthdate as circa 1958.

                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                          that's the one i found too. :)

                                                  2. re: AMFM

                                                    That sounds right. I met Mary Sue and Susan in LA in 87. They had been running City Restaurant for about 2 years, then.

                                                    They've worked together since 1979 at (the late, great) Le Perroquet in Chicago.

                                            2. re: DGresh

                                              @DGresh: I know it has nothing to do with food, but I SO agree about Ruth's hair. Every time I see her I want to grab a scissors and cut it off! (My bad.)

                                              btw: Suvir is a nice person, too. He just got a little carried away. and he is, after all, a vegetarian, even though he serves meat in his restaurant.

                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                Women "of a certain age" need to take a few inches off and lighten it up a few notches.

                                                As far as the show goes, I knew it was Floyd cuz of the spoiler in the previous episode's thread but would have thought Mary Sue was the winner. It seemed like hers got more wows but hard to tell. I agree with whomever said they all should have worked on the same memory.

                                                I loved when they said "Let's get in the Lexus whatever" and drive to the store. The product placement hadn't seemed so obvious for Masters.

                                          2. hmm..should the winner have been decided on the last meal? Maybe they should have factored in the other episodes as well as the finale meal. like a 50% finale, 50% other episodes..

                                            15 Replies
                                            1. re: samtron608


                                              its always been a competition by competition deal

                                              1. re: thew

                                                never watched the other top chefs.... first time watching the show..so just giving my opinion on it...thats all.

                                                1. re: samtron608

                                                  I've been watching top chef for years, and have always thought they should have a cumulative score factored in for the entire season. Too many weak chefs getting too far, or a chef who has been dominating and gets screwed by a particular challenge parameter.

                                                  1. re: nanobabes

                                                    i totally disagree.

                                                    at that level of competition i expect everyone to know what they are doing. so it comes down to each individual challenge.

                                                    1. re: nanobabes

                                                      I"m trying to think of any competition that considers past performance for the final and can't think of any.

                                                      If you want to go by cumulative score, then no chef should be eliminated during the season and the final three would be the ones who did the best overall.

                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                        YMMV. I think there could be some sort of design where past performance is factored in but still have eliminations. I think this structure is why we have Kevin win season 7 and Hosea win season 5 (?), both who were not front runners throughout the entire season. And how Mike I. and Tiffany F. made it to the finale of TC All Stars. I don't want to end up debating over whether or not they deserved to be there, and you can argue that they played the game well, but I just honestly want to see good food, with interesting concepts, and made with "love". I was so disappointed that I didn't get to see Angelo or Dale cook for the Ellis Island challenge.

                                                        And it isn't always a level playing field for each elimination. The twists are often ridiculous and aren't reasonable expectations for a professional chef. I don't fault a chef for not being able to sprint around Target to assemble their crappy kitchen equipment and ingredients in time, or not being able to prep with sharp tools in a moving vehicle.

                                                        1. re: nanobabes

                                                          Neither Tiffani Faison OR Tiffani Derry made it to the finale of TC All-Stars - that was Richard, Mike I., and Antonia.

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            If you want to get technical, Richard and Mike I. were the only finalists. Still, Tiffany D. made it all the way to the Bahamas despite being on the bottom on almost every challenge. Either way, the point I'm making is that I see so many chefs I don't care about make it so far, and so many chefs I'd like to see much more of cut earlier. The main reason I posted was in defense of samtron, that having previous performance factor in isn't a totally crazy idea.

                                                      2. re: nanobabes

                                                        I disagree. It would make the finale less interesting, and less compelling TV through the season. For ex., it makes it much more interesting knowing that even though Stefan has kicked butt episode after episode, he can go home at any time. If it was cumulative, he could coast near the end knowing that he would not get sent home unless he blew it hugely.

                                                        1. re: nanobabes

                                                          The problem with cumulative score is that someone really strong could have such a big lead that the last few episodes are meaningless.

                                                          1. re: saeyedoc

                                                            I'm sure they never will incorporate past performance due to the same points LurkerDan made. It does makes for more suspenseful and dramatic television for their fates to be more up in the air every week. Which I buy into as well. I don't really care enough to design a system of elimination myself, but maybe some sort of points system (which I liked on TCMs before), with points only rewarded for the top group, or certain amount of strikes for being on the bottom ... either way, it wouldn't get adopted because it would change the structure of the whole show. It's not even a matter for me of who eventually wins, I'm just always interested in seeing what the promising chefs will put out every week, and get annoyed by the lesser chefs taking up screen time that could be occupied by some good food porn.

                                                    2. re: samtron608

                                                      Maybe the Superbowl should be decided that way, too?

                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                        cmon now...sports and reality tv competitions are a little different, no?
                                                        i guess im used to stuff like "Chopped", where the first 2 rounds are judged alone and the 3rd and final round they judge the whole meal in deciding the winner.

                                                        1. re: samtron608

                                                          Finales are finales. Most reality shows depend on the last challenge, not what happens over the course of the show.

                                                          This has been argued many times before here, for Top Chef, since you're new. I can see it either way but I do think if it's the final competition, it's fair to go by the performance in that episode. That's how it's done all along anyway in this show. People learn the game and improve. Those who learn and improve win.

                                                          1. re: samtron608

                                                            no, sports and reality competitions are not different at all, to my mind. Why should they be?

                                                            chopped is different as the same contestants do not carry one from one show to the next.

                                                      2. Floyd was my favorite to watch of the final 3, so I am glad he won. I wouldn't have minded if Mary Sue had won instead though. She seems like a lovely person, and her numerous wins indicate to me that she can definitely cook.

                                                        No one else has mentioned it, but I really enjoyed the little bit where Curtis cooked for them. I like seeing them all enjoy each others company.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: charmedgirl

                                                          It surprised me that Curtis was apparently such a good chef. I thought he was on shows because he looked good.

                                                          1. re: charmedgirl

                                                            Something Curtis wrote in his blog suggests that he cooked for them several times.

                                                          2. Been out of the country.... any one know what's coming up? New season of regular Top Chef? When?

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                              Casting was held earlier this year; no announcement yet on location of city or when it'll premiere.

                                                            2. Anyone know when or if Top Chef Just Desserts is coming back? I liked that much more than I expected to last year...

                                                              Uncle Ira

                                                              1. I've been checking the Indian press, and the big news -- apart from jubilation at Floyd winning -- is that upma, a simple, ubiquitous breakfast food, was a part of that win. If you Google "upma wins $100000", you'll get a lot of hits. The Indian Express had an editorial about traditional food's evolution. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/its...