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Top Chef Texas - Ep. #1 - 11/02/11 (Spoilers)

We're baaaaacccckk!!! I might be a bit rusty in recapping, and I'm working on a new laptop, so please bear with me.

It's going to be a confusing first couple of episodes, as there are 29 initial cheftestants who think they're going to be competing....but 13 will be eliminated early. How hard would that be to show up in Texas only to be sent home with 12 others before you really got to show your stuff? I know it's happened to *one* other cheftestant in seasons past, but this is going to be a bloodbath.

Tom Colicchio, Padma, Gail Simmons, Hugh Acheson, and Emeril Lagasse are the judges.

So - 29 cheftestants show up at The Alamo. They all realize there are too many cheftestants to actually compete - it's always said that everything's bigger in Texas and so is this first challenge! Padma tells them they'll be split into 3 groups - and they'll all complete in their group challenge to earn their spots in the Top 16.

A whole pig is the main ingredient that Group 1 sees walking into the TC Kitchen. Emeril Lagasse and Tom C. are there to meet them and explain the challenge. Tom asks them to introduce themselves and give a bit of a background on themselves....There's a chef who works with Joel Robuchon, a couple of chefs who work with each other at the same restaurant in Chicago. Good pedigrees from what I'm hearing.

Tom C. and Emeril will be walking around while they prepare and cook from sub-primal cuts from the pig (they have one hour to cook), and will keep an eye on how they butcher, prepare, and how they work in the kitchen. There's a chef who runs a vegan restaurant who said "This is my worst nightmare!" working with pork. He hands off the butchering to another on his team. Smart move. :-)

Right off the bat, the 22yo Tyler from California seems like he would be the irritating "Marcel-like" cheftestant - at least IMO. He claims he knows how to butcher, BUT he's totally butchering the piece of pork he's trying to cut up. Tom Colicchio is alongside when Tyler passes over the tenderloin to another cheftestant (her choice of meat), and both he and Emeril are appalled at how poorly the chops and tenderloin were being broken down - and Tyler is GONE! Tom C. tells him to get outta there - Tyler is told to pack his knives and go!

Tom Colicchio goes to the cheftestant who was going to use the pork tenderloin, and there's literally 3 oz of tenderloin to use. Tom tells her "never trust anyone else who you're competing against!" LOL

The chef from Spiagga in Chicago is preparing a dish that looks REALLY good. Lots of the cheftestants are realizing how difficult it is to prepare and plate within the hour they had to cook...and sure enough, one is sent home with very poor plating of his soup.

Majority rules on how the chefs get a TC coat. If all judges say no, they're out. If two judges say they're in, they get a coat. However, if the judges are undecided, the cheftestants also have a chance to "be on the bubble" and get a chance to cook in yet another challenge to win a coat.

I can't wait to see some of these dishes put up on the Bravo website (PLEASE Magical Elves, PLEASE put all of the recipes up on the Bravo website!) There were several dishes in Group 1 that I'd like to try making.

And those that have already received their TC coats from Group 1 get to go to the TC house and check things out - but they have to wait to see who else shows up.

For Group 2, Gail Simmons and Tom Colicchio are the judges. Group 2 goes through their introductions, and then they get to see what they get to use - there's a table with lots of ingredients - rabbit, sea urchin, sweetbreads - but ALL in Group 2 have to choose the SAME ingredient. They choose rabbit as their ingredient. One of the cheftestants tells a story about his mother raising rabbits and his sister naming them, and every once in awhile, one would disappear....and "chicken" would appear on the dinner table. LOL And one chef compares himself to Richard Blais and Michael Voltaggio. This ought to be interesting to see if he survives!

One chef loses track of time and doesn't even get the rabbit on the plate - yup, she's gone. Keith in Group 2 is funny - when Tom asks what he's thinking, he said "I'm too big to pass out!" Sure enough, having watched Gail enjoy his dish, he's through to the Top 16. No passing out for him. :-)

And here comes the Blais/Voltaggio comparison cheftestant, Chris...his technique seems to be very good and Gail said his is the best cooked rabbit of the day. So he's in.

In the in-between, those on the bubble are trying to figure out why they didn't make it through - and they realize that many of those who have made it are heavily inked - and the 4 of them in the Bubble Room don't have a lot (or any) tats. So one of them uses a Sharpie and draws one on her arm. :-) And we come back to Judges Table, and the last from Group 2, Chuy Valencia, who I liked from his earlier comments, makes it through as #11.

Looks like Group 3 is next week - and they have no idea how many have made it through OR how many are on the bubble. What do we see in the previews? Someone's got blood all over their hand. That doesn't bode well.

So that's it for tonight's episode! I hope I got most of what went on - the NAMES of the cheftestants will have to come later, as they're not even up on the Bravo website.

Enjoy, everyone! We're in for a bumpy ride! LOL

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  1. Good stuff, so far. I'm following Emeril, Hugh, Tom and BravoTV on Twitter.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Manassas64

      I don't think I could handle the tweeting! But what are they saying?

      And oy - the Voltaggio brothers are doing Samsung home appliance commercials?

      1. re: LindaWhit

        They weren't saying much tonight in their Tweets, just basically re-affirming their decisions and comments about the food.

    2. OK, So I have to say this since we are back in the Top Chef Game... but DAMNNN! Chris Crary is HOT!!!!!!!! Its gonna be a great season! :D

      4 Replies
      1. re: porkbutt03

        LOL! *HE* was the one I thought might be going out, comparing himself to Blais and Voltaggio. :-) Guess we'll see how he does.

        1. re: LindaWhit

          I think ChrisC's the one who also started the episode wanting to stay in the episode as long as possible just to look at Padma...coming across as focused contender, huh?

          Keith is the big guy who didn't pass out -- a foodie friend of mine in Wilmington (NC) knows him, so I was glad to see him make it through!

          1. re: momjamin

            Yes, Chris C. *is* that particular cheftestant who said he wanted to just look at Padma. Way to stand out. :-)

            Glad your friend's friend made it through, momjamin!

        2. re: porkbutt03

          i'm with you. :) he can stay in.

        3. FYI, if you go to Bravo's "casting videos" -- you can scroll on the right to get names and faces, even if you don't feel like watching all the videos.

          1. Nice job, Linda - the layoff and new computer haven't hurt you a bit. Thank you and please keep up the good work. (BTW: I don't bother learning any names until the 3rd or 4th episode - no use wasting brain cells remembering people who leave early, since my brain is pretty full as is.)

            1. Linda, I still think they had 30 chefs, 3 groups of 10, but since Tyler got the axe before even cooking and getting his food judged they start out with 29 contestants. Since we don't know any of the contestants yet, any comments about them will be pretty superficial. Fortunately for me, I have a superficial comment. I'm glad the vegan chef is gone. I wouldn't wish to have to listen to the vegan point of view all season long. As to Tyler, the kid that butchered the pig butchering, it sure is easy to see that he is young. An older person with more experience might lament the fact that they have not mastered butchering or that maybe they should have brushed up on that before arriving in Texas, but no, he just continues to say how good he is and how much they will miss him. Come to think of it, age might have little to do with it because Marcel Vigneron isn't so young and he has the same attitude, no humility.

              (One of the female contestants has Grayson for a given name. When I was a kid we had a cat named Grayson).

              4 Replies
              1. re: John E.

                So, I was curious about this 29 vs 30 thing, and went to bravo's site -- the casting videos are listed, and there are 29 of them, including Tyler's. I think his is just so arrogant, they couldn't not put it up.

                Linda -- fabulous job, as always! What a whirlwind!

                1. re: momjamin

                  i'm rethinking this whole 30 vs 29 thing. I'm letting it go. My OCB nature (just a touch of OCB) really wishes it to be three groups of 10 each but it looks like I might be wrong. Is it possible that someone did not show up in Texas and they decided 'eh, close enough'?

                  1. re: John E.

                    John E., if it helps you to sort things out, I can tell you that there were definitely 9 chefs competing in the second round and 10 chefs in the first. So, I'm thinking the remaining 10 will compete in the third, making a total of 29 :)

                    1. re: yummfood

                      Yeah, I understand but I still find it a little bewildering. I also wonder how they decided how many from each group to select. I assume it was luck of the draw but contestants in the last group have worse odds of making it than members of the first two groups although not by much.

              2. Anyone know why poor Padma never seemed to end up with any dishes in front of her (and they never showed her eating -- plus she only commented on a couple of chefs)?

                2 Replies
                1. re: waldrons

                  It wasn't clear (at least to me) whether she had input as to whether someone stays or goes. Mostly she didn't say anything, but once or twice she did.

                  1. re: waldrons

                    I rewatched the episode a short while ago. Padma Lakshmi did eat from the dishes, she usually shared the dishes with Tom Colicchio, and was definitely shown doing so various times.

                    She also did vote, 5 times IIRC as shown on the broadcasted tape, and her vote appeared to count.

                  2. Tyler Stone...the first one off. First of all...he's not a real chef and has never worked in a restaurant. I don't know how he got on...but just watch, he'll end up with a show on Food Network. ugh

                    74 Replies
                    1. re: melly

                      If anyone has any doubts about whether the producers have a big say in who stays and who goes, this should quiet them -- this guy is just the kind of arrogant ass who'd make a great "villain," and Tom sent him home 15 minutes into the first episode.

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                        I thought the exact same thing. I could almost hear the producers groaning as Tom sent him packing. Tom kept his outward cool, but I thought I detected Tom growing quietly enraged watching the kid hack away at a perfectly good piece of meat. His smile stretched thinner and thinner.

                        It also illustrated the level of competition. I'd venture that there are plenty of chefs out there who aren't any good at butchering. But here, it's such a capital offense that there was no need to try the dude's cooking before sending him home.

                        1. re: cowboyardee

                          This was pretty basic butchering, though, since it was already broken down into primal cuts. It was obvious to me (and even more obvious to Tom) that Tyler was nothing but hot air. I'm glad they didn't waste any more time on him and his delusions of grandeur.

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                            True. I'm just saying that there are a lot of chefs (especially those who haven't gone to culinary school) who have never broken down even primal cuts. Some restaurants do that and others don't. And if you were preparing to go on TC, that probably wouldn't be one of the first things you think to work on.

                            Not saying the kid was anything near the master he clearly thought he was.

                            1. re: cowboyardee

                              <And if you were preparing to go on TC, that probably wouldn't be one of the first things you think to work on.> If you wanted to be taken seriously on the show, it would be! Basic butchering is --- well, basic!

                              Tyler was definitely irritating. and after Tom burst his little bubble, I was able to laugh at him. I was worried we'd be putting up with his narcissism for at least a few weeks.

                              Interesting that eleven spots have been filled and the third group hasn't cooked yet. Looks like a good possibility the cheftestants "on the bubble" won't get that second chance to cook next week.

                              1. re: ChefJune

                                "If you wanted to be taken seriously on the show, it would be! Basic butchering is --- well, basic!"
                                So? Sharpening one's knife is basic as well, but it hasn't come up as a contest on this show before. If you're going to be on, the smart thing to do would be to focus on cooking on a timer, making some impressive desserts, familiarizing yourself with the basics of whatever major world cuisines you're weak in - you know, the kind of stuff that routinely gets people sent home on this show.

                                "Looks like a good possibility the cheftestants "on the bubble" won't get that second chance to cook next week."
                                Not a chance. They'll probably be competing for only one or two spots though. Should make for an interesting episode where only the winner gets to continue on in the contest.

                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                  <"Looks like a good possibility the cheftestants "on the bubble" won't get that second chance to cook next week."
                                  Not a chance. They'll probably be competing for only one or two spots though. Should make for an interesting episode where only the winner gets to continue on in the contest.>

                                  Are you one of the Magical Elves? There are only 5 slots left, and 10 chefs who haven't cooked at all. Extremely possible that 5 of the last 10 will make the cut. That would leave no room for the "bubblers."

                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                    If that were the case, the whole bubble thing wouldn't have made it past the editors. They'd just have edited in Padma saying "PYKAG" to the contestants on the bubble and that's the last you'd hear of em.

                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                      I have to agree with cowboyardee on this one. I think that there will be at least 6 bubble cheftestants cooking a second time for only one or two slots left open.

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        In the preview of next week's episode, it looked like just the 4 current bubble cheftestants standing before judge's table.

                                  2. re: cowboyardee

                                    They have had to butcher meat in the past including an entire small pig on at least one occasion.

                                    1. re: John E.

                                      I don't remember that challenge. When was it? All I remember is them having to french a big rib chop. Of course, they've had to break down fish many times as well.

                                      Beyond that, I just don't remember butchery ever being a do or die type thing in of itself. And getting back to my initial point, it's not that I think knowing how to butcher is an unfair thing to ask of these chefs. It's just that that wasn't always the case. I'd bet probably half the contestants on season 1 wouldn't have had any experience breaking down a primal cut (even so, hopefully they'd manage to make a little less of a mess than Tyler did). Or on season 2 - if you found out that Mike 'fry cook' Migley(sp?) or "I make soup a lot" Betty, or even eventual winner Ilan had little or no experience with butchery at the time, would you have been surprised? The point was just that the bar has been raised.

                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                        I don't think that his not knowing how to butcher was his downfall as much as his arrogance in believing that he knew how to when he had no clue. And, even as he struggled, he didn't seem to realize how badly he was doing. A better chef (or less arrogant, might be a better way to put it) would have stepped back and let someone else do it.

                                        I can't remember who did it but one guy (I think it might have been the vegan one) was butchering his piece when another guy stepped in and took over. At some point, you have to know your weakness and when to step away. Butchering was part of this challenge only if the chef chose to do so.

                                          1. re: chowser

                                            My take on this was different. I thought Tyler intentionally botched the butchering. It was evident in his comments and the smirk on his face. He was thinking he could sabotage the tenderloin chef and get away with it.

                                            1. re: mucho gordo

                                              Poor strategy, if that was the case because he destroyed his own chops in the meantime.

                                              1. re: chowser

                                                Absolutely! I chalk it up to immature, youthful arrogance.

                                                1. re: chowser

                                                  I can't remember the exact words he used, but it seemed that the last straw with TOm C. was that the chops looked horrible. I wonder if he still would have been immediately ejected if his chops looked good while the tenderloin was destroyed. I wonder because when Tom C spoke to the woman w/the "tenderloin" he didn't seem too sympathetic.

                                                  1. re: viperlush

                                                    I think it's her fault, too, for letting a complete stranger butcher her cut of meat. Maybe that's the lack of sympathy. The other chef stepped in when the vegan chef started destroying their cut.

                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                      Yeah, it was pretty dumb of her to not at least check his progress or watch his first cuts to make sure he knew what he was doing.

                                                2. re: mucho gordo

                                                  If so, he feigned cluelessness amazingly well. He wasn't making much progress on his own chops, best I could tell.

                                                  1. re: mucho gordo

                                                    I think the smirk was him desperately trying to save face.

                                                3. re: cowboyardee

                                                  what was it-- season 5? when richard blais lost to stephanie izard, and lisa wassername also ran... the finale meal involved the 3 contestants breaking down a whole pig-- remember, dale t, who was sous-ing for stephanie, left the pork belly out at room temp overnight in the tropical climate?

                                                  the same season saw the bigger set of chefs go to a meat locker and break down beef carcasses. i remember being somewhat surprised that spike was said to be very proficient at the beef breakdown.

                                                  again, i may not be recalling 100% correctly and i just watched the episodes once, but i am a huge nerd and was paying rapt attention, so i think i'm getting it right!

                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                    Thanks. I remember Dale leaving out the pork belly, but not the rest of the episode.

                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                      Yes, season 4 was in Chicago, and fairly late in the competition (i.e., only 5 chefs left) they had a beef butchering challenge -- break down and clean some number of tomahawk chops. Spike was impressive -- I think he had a butcher in his family? But then he went on to be eliminated in the same ep for using frozen scallops.

                                                      Part one of the finale had them butcher a pig and use at least a couple parts in the elimination.

                                                  2. re: John E.

                                                    In Top Chef New York the first thing they did was meet the chefs outside somewhere and do a basic knife skill challenge. The loser left immediately. If Tyler stayed it would have been an insult to the integrity of the show and the other chefs who worked hard and take this seriously.

                                                    1. re: LikestoEatout

                                                      True. And Colicchio did the right thing. No question.

                                                      But at some perverse level, I'm going to miss the dude's self-righteous and unfounded arrogance. And my inner response of, "who do you think you are?"

                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                        While I'm seriously GLAD Tyler's gone, I do understand your perverse level, chicgail. :-)

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          I have a feeling someone else will step in with assiness and save the season ;o)

                                                4. re: ChefJune

                                                  I was thinking the same thing...but maybe the 3rd group has a lot of "instant PYKAG-ers" for making dumb mistakes like a few of the contestants in the first couple rounds. Whatever the case, the "bubble" folks are probably going to be competing for..well..not a lot of spots.

                                                  I just wish they would hurry up and narrow it down to the 16 so the real Top Chef competition can finally begin.

                                                  1. re: yummfood

                                                    Not to mention, the preview showed the "bubble" contestants cooking and in front of the judges, and it was definitely different footage than in this episode.

                                                  2. re: ChefJune

                                                    I thought that too. What's going to be left for the bubble folks? One spot?

                                                  3. re: cowboyardee

                                                    But given the cut containing the tenderloin, a chef should be able to identify the tenderloin and remove a reasonably facsimile. This kid wasn't even thinking about getting the other contestant her tenderloin, he was just trying to figure out how to hack the whole thing up.

                                                    1. re: babette feasts

                                                      There's no denying that he made a real mess of it. As someone who's admittedly never butchered any large sections of meat, I like to think I wouldn't screw it up that bad. OTOH, it's likely that time constraints and panic were factors - time's running down and the kid realizes he's not even close to liberating his chops, so he starts cutting wildly and aggressively. Guess he probably couldn't even identify the tenderloin, which is pretty lame for a chef... but again, it's never been PYKAG criteria on its own before either.

                                                      As Chowser pointed out, perhaps the most ridiculous part of the whole thing was that he volunteered for the job in the first place, as though doing his first ever butchering on national TV under strict time limits with Tom Colicchio breathing down his neck was a good idea. But watching a contestant's hubris get brutally slapped down has always been one of the things I love about TC.

                                                      ETA: in retrospect, I'm wondering if he'd still have been sent home before presenting if he had just admitted that he had no idea what he was doing and asked one of the other contestants for help before ruining the meat. Like I said above, I thought Tom seemed visibly annoyed by the whole ordeal - that probably wasn't so much because Tyler was incompetent (bad) as it was because he was unwilling to admit how incompetent he was (worse) and was willing to ruin a nice piece of meat in order to keep up the charade (much worse yet). I'm sure he was on notice as soon as it became clear that he couldn't butcher and probably wouldn't have made the final 16, but I'm thinking it was these other culinary sins that got him the ax right then and there.

                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                        " But watching a contestant's hubris get brutally slapped down has always been one of the things I love about TC."

                                                        This is so true--such schadenfreude. I was afraid, with bad his edit was, that he'd stay on the show just for ratings. I was glad to see them cut him, so quickly. He still didn't learn, though.

                                                        Not all the contestants butchered so it would have been easy for him to step back and let the other chef do it. He never had to admit he couldn't but really, he probably still thinks he can. Cooking for rich celebrities means nothing. We've seen how celebrities can be as judges on TC--clueless.

                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                          <Cooking for rich celebrities means nothing.>

                                                          and even that is in question. a commenter on Tom's blog mentioned Tyler was actually a "caterer in Sacramento, CA". Not a city known for "rich celebrities. lol

                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                            But that's not what his web site says ;)

                                                            And if you're interested, you can even sign up for his newsletter:

                                                            Might be amusing, but I restrained myself from doing so, as I did not want to feed his delusions of greatness.

                                                            1. re: gaffk

                                                              I think this sentence from the bio on his site says it all: "One of Tyler's future goals is to have his own syndicated TV cooking show."

                                                              Of course it is. The kid's 22, and he doesn't want to cook, he wants to be a celebrity.

                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                Oh, now that I've seen that, it clicked, that he does remind me of one of the contestants on last seasons "Next Food Network Star"....
                                                                Same cocky attitude and annoying face....

                                                              2. re: gaffk

                                                                A visit to his website tell me one thing: the kid has a PR agent working his/her tail off for him. It sucks to have to tell greatness stories about someone who doesn't live up to them.

                                                                1. re: chicgail

                                                                  Maybe we'll be lucky and get him back for Andy's wrap up show :D

                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                    Yes, but as long as he pays the publicist as well as he pays his butcher . . .

                                                                    1. re: babette feasts

                                                                      He had no idea how to do it but he did it in 3 1/2 weeks. He doesn't let his ignorance get in his way of anything, from writing books to butchering a pig! I wonder how these chefs feel being mentioned in his bio:

                                                                      "He has worked with the former executive chef of the White House Walter Scheib, the California Culinary Olympic Team and some of the country's great chefs such as Morimoto, Boulud, Trotter, Danko, Richard and Symon. "

                                                                      I'm going to start writing my bio down like that, too. The L'Academie de Cuisine has many guest instructors who come and teach large classes. When I take them, I'll have to remember to say, "I studied under Patrick O'Connell's head pastry chef...", "Mentored by Nick Maglieri..." and so on.

                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                        (chowser, this isn't directed at you, or anyone really) It's a good thing he was booted, can you imagine how much we'd be talking about him if he STAYED??

                                                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                          And, sadly, I'd have been leading the pack. See, I think this is why TCJD didn't get the responses (LindaWhit's excellent summaries aside), just not enough wacky contestants. I'm not going to confess how much time I've just spent at his site to figure out what he really is about.

                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                            I kind of wish they had let him stay . . . I can envision LindaWhit's thread going to 1,000+ posts every week he was on.

                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                              Thank freakin' goodness he DIDN'T stay! LOL

                                                                            2. re: chowser

                                                                              Okay, I have to say it pains me, PAINS ME, that this dufus associates himself with these folks because I love both Walter Scheib and Nick Maglieri.

                                                                              I worked with Walter Scheib, too (I was a secretary in the sales & catering dept at the Capital Hilton Hotel when he was the chef there). Sadly, none of his greatness rubbed off on me. But he made a mean lobster bisque that to this day I have never had its equal.

                                                                            3. re: babette feasts

                                                                              I'll bet it is full of wisdom garnered from his culinary education when he was 13. It may be worth a purchase just from a humor standpoint.

                                                                              1. re: gaffk

                                                                                This guy make Stephen Aspirino and Spike Mendelsohn look like shrinking violets.

                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                  Thanks . . . I just spit Yuengling out my nose :{

                                                                                2. re: gaffk

                                                                                  This is one cheftestant that I *do* want to see on Andy Cohen's Reunion show. I want to see how Tom deals with weeny little insufferable Tyler during that show. :-)

                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                    I believe Tom C will effortlessly and efficiently do to Tyler what Tyler couldn't do to the poor pig.

                                                                            4. re: ChefJune

                                                                              "caterer in Sacramento, CA". Not a city known for "rich celebrities."

                                                                              That's what I was thinking.

                                                                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                It's amazing what a PR person with a "turn-of-phrase" can create out of nothing.

                                                                                1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                  On the other hand, Sacramento is the capital of a state with plenty of celebrities, so who knows what kind of political event he might have carried a platter of hors d'oeuvres around.

                                                                                    1. re: momjamin

                                                                                      Yes...I can see that....working politicall events. Are those folks rich? I guess folks who want something from them are.

                                                                                      BTW, for those not familiar, Sacto is a long way from the celebrities of So Cal; even folks from SF seem to think it's far!

                                                                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                        Sacramento is a one hour flight from LA and a two hour drive from the SF Bay Area. It is the capitol of the state with the largest GDP in the US.

                                                                                        There is plenty of business going on there and lots of affluent people who either live there, live in the adjacent resort areas, or who are in town regularly for state business. It's not a backwater.

                                                                                        1. re: pamf

                                                                                          Apologies if I offended, and I agree.! I live 30 miles west,in a town "backwater" by comparison.....but most people seem to head the other way for rich celebrities. Now there IS that Four Seasons in Tahoe ..

                                                                                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                            Not at all offended. In my experience, people often associate California with either LA or SF and do not realize how large and varied our state actually is.

                                                                                            30 miles west of Sacramento puts you pretty close to Napa Valley, and we all know that that is just a wasteland when it comes to good food and wine. </sarcasm>

                                                                                            1. re: pamf

                                                                                              Not IN Napa, but close, and that's where I always head for an impromptu dinner out. Think Nutree.....a bit of a wasteland as far as buying food at restaurants go, but WONDERFUL for growing it.

                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                            I think he lives in So Cal, but I guess he could have hung out in Sacto.....ok, Sacto is a celeb hang out.

                                                                                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                              He hung out there when he had to (i.e., when state business dictated).

                                                                          2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                            Me too. I was cringing watching him with the hack saw. All I could think is that i could do better job of butchering it & I've never even done it! Hell I certainly couldn't do any worse :)
                                                                            I'm glad her got sent home right off the bat. I don't think I could stand to watch or listen to him for an entire season.

                                                                            1. re: jcattles

                                                                              I liked when he said he was not used to butchering a pig, and Tom said "what HAVE you butchered?" and he said "....not a pig"....or something like that.

                                                                      2. re: melly

                                                                        He was brought on for pure 'disaster' value. The guy is such a completely self deceptive cretin that he would make good TV.

                                                                        He clearly had no idea what he was doing. But he said he knew exactly what to do with the pig. I also felt the Tom was trying very hard to keep his cool in the face of such complete incompetence. It did look like Tom was going to lose it when when asking Tyler why he made such a mess and wastage the answer was along the lines of "well there not much time so you have to go in and grab what you need.' exactly the wrong thing to say to a chef.

                                                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                                                          Can you say....KENNY from season 1?

                                                                        2. re: melly

                                                                          The sentence "I have an unlimited budget, so I always get exactly what I want from my butcher" should be followed with "So, I know how to order but not how to do it myself."
                                                                          DH and I wondered instantly if this was the elves giving us the hubris/eliminated edit or the hubris/wow-he-can-back-it-up edit. They gave us the second version for pretty boy Chris.

                                                                          1. re: lrhr

                                                                            Yeah, that's where I thought he was going with that statement. I'm guessing that he wanted to look like he knows everything and is "Master of the Kitchen" by offering to break it down? I wouldn't have wanted to waste the time butchering when I didn't need to. Unless his whole goal was to screw over the other contestants, which obviously back fired on him. I like the vegan guy who said that he was in over his head with the butchering and the chef that then took over the job.

                                                                            It is a shame that he was sent home so quickly. He was more obnoxious than Marcel/hung/Spike w/out any of their talent. He really was comic relief.

                                                                          1. Yay - i'm loving it already.

                                                                            we were eager to see the two "vatos" vato-off against each other, but one vato vatoed the other off already.

                                                                            i like that the have a guy named "Chuey" competing.... ese!!

                                                                            the only two who seemed potentially annoying (well, so far) are gone already - vegan boy and sparky.

                                                                            so far the woman with the Robuchon cred seems to be the most experienced/talented.

                                                                            Big tall dude - i keep thinking some of his beard's gonna end up in the food.... not appealing! but his story is touching - making it back from a life of drugs/prison.

                                                                            in the first group - the raviolis looked amazing - which one was that, does anyone remember? the one who cooks at an Italian restaurant in Chicago? she had pork cheeks, right?

                                                                            Thanks Linda, stellar job as usual!

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                              Hugh Acheson's blog is up and runs down the chefs we've seen -- with names and dishes. The tex-mex ravioli was Nyesha.

                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                THAT'S the one I'd have loved to have tried! I've never made fresh pasta but that entire dish looked good enough to try doing so! LOL She's the chef from Spiaggia and works with Top Chef Master Tony Montuano.

                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                  Nyesha is NOT the chef at Spiaggia. That's Sarah. Both made ravioli. Sarah's were filled with a pork skin stuffing. Nyesha's were the Tex-Mex ones. She's from LA.

                                                                                2. And once again, two Seattle chefs crashed and burned right out of the starting gate. I'm telling you, we don't get no respect. There really is some decent food here, honest.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: acgold7

                                                                                    3 seattle chefs crashed and burned: Vegan (soup), Simon Patenet (he said on the show he's at 22 doors, believe he's now at Tavolata), and the gal from Spur. 2 of the three were for poor/non-existent platting. I believe there is one more seattle person coming up in group 3

                                                                                    1. re: dagoose

                                                                                      Damn, I missed Simon. What crappy luck we have.

                                                                                  2. Great job, Linda! This was a tough one to parse with so many new faces all at once.

                                                                                    IMO, this is a way for the producers/Bravo to squeeze 2 extra episodes out of the season without having to change the basic format of the show. In week 3, Top Chef Texas will begin.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                      And HOPEFULLY we don't have a 4-part finale again. :-)

                                                                                    2. OK, here's a quick spoiler guide, thanks to Acheson's blog! Any extra details from my memory are suspect.

                                                                                      Chris Crary -- in (the one who compared himself to Blais and Volt and likes to look at Padma)
                                                                                      Chris Jones -- in (from Moto, Hugh Grant floppy hair)
                                                                                      Chuy Valencia -- in (booyah, biatch)
                                                                                      Dakota Weiss -- in (Acheson thinks she probably cries a lot)
                                                                                      Heather Terhune -- in (grits and ribs)
                                                                                      Keith Rhodes -- in (big guy who didn't pass out -- chicken fried rabbit)
                                                                                      Nyesha Arrington -- in (tex-mex ravioli)
                                                                                      Richie Farina -- in ("VP of Team Moto", worried about "salty palate")
                                                                                      Sarah Grueneberg -- in (worked for Joel Robuchon)
                                                                                      Ty-Lor Boring -- in (Acheson suspects he'll be the beloved weirdo of the season)
                                                                                      Whitney Otawka -- in (rabbit sugo)

                                                                                      Edward Lee -- bubble
                                                                                      Grayson Schmitz -- bubble
                                                                                      Janine Falvo -- bubble (the one with the Sharpie tattoo)
                                                                                      Molly Brandt -- bubble

                                                                                      Colin Patterson -- home (the vegan who didn't plate well -- lost the tip of the foam thing)
                                                                                      Nina Vicente -- home (ran out of time in plating)
                                                                                      Simon Pantet -- home
                                                                                      Tyler Stone -- home ('nuff said ;-)

                                                                                      3rd group:
                                                                                      Andrew Curren
                                                                                      Ashley Villaluz
                                                                                      Berenice deAraujo
                                                                                      Beverly Kim
                                                                                      Chaz Brown
                                                                                      Jonathan Baltazar
                                                                                      Kim Calichio
                                                                                      Laurent Quenioux
                                                                                      Paul Qui
                                                                                      Lindsay Autry

                                                                                      So, 11 already in, 4 on the bubble, 10 more to cook for 5 spots -- maybe the 4 won't even get a chance to re-cook.

                                                                                      30 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: momjamin

                                                                                          I was disappointed that Simon got sent home already. There was just something about him that I liked from the get go.
                                                                                          My top three so far are Sarah, Nyesha, & Keith. Not crazy about Dakota or Chris, but maybe they'll change my mind during the season.

                                                                                          1. re: momjamin

                                                                                            thanks for this momjamin, but one correction: Nyesha Arrington is the one who worked for Robuchon, she made the other ravioli dish. http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/20...

                                                                                            It was Sarah's ravioli that intrigued me the most.

                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                              Thanks! Sarah also had recognizable names to drop (Tony Mantuano), and I was remembering she had pork skin, not that it went into ravioli.

                                                                                              1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                momjamin: the pork skin DID go into her ravioli. And they loved it. ;)

                                                                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                  Understood, and thanks for the fixes -- lots of details, lots of people, lots of pork ;-)

                                                                                            2. re: momjamin

                                                                                              With 11 chefs in already and 10 left to cook this is totally setting up a 1 spot bubble cook off. If I saw the previews correctly The Korean Chef from Kentucky looks to be trying to cook while someone is working on his hand. Maybe 6 chefs for one spot?

                                                                                              1. re: Alex318

                                                                                                I think the previews also showed them telling the Korean that he didn't make it during the bubble challenge.

                                                                                              2. re: momjamin

                                                                                                Just as a correction, Colin Patterson isn't a vegan (well, maybe he is, but his restaurant isn't). His restaurant is vegetarian, not vegan. HUGE difference, IMO. And having looked at the menu of his restaurant, it looks pretty darned good and I think it's a bit of a bummer that he was eliminated.

                                                                                                1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                  In describing himself he said he was a vegan chef.

                                                                                                  1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                    Finally watched this Mon. nite. Not sure why people in this thread are so against the vegan chef. Of course butchering a pig wasn't 'his #1 thing to do. But he didn't seem so obnoxious to me and I was sad to see him go. Sorry to see the neck tattooed self taught guy get sent right home. And I was actually kind of sad that the 22 year old didn't get to make a dish.

                                                                                                    It also seems unfair that the last group and the bubblers have so few spots open to them. Hopefully they don't do it this way in future episodes.

                                                                                                    I agree with Soup Kitchen about that guy Chris's ridiculous shades on top of his head while wearing his glasses, but I like him overall. Not into half of them being from Chicago, it seems like one city is always stacked. What about Philly, Boston, Miami, New Orleans, and a million other places?

                                                                                                  2. re: momjamin

                                                                                                    iirc--i think keith rhodes, who did not pass out, actually did a rabbit leg confit, & the chx fried rabbit was done by one of the doomed seattleites, and it didn't even make it onto her plate-- thus elimination........right?

                                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                      Hrm...you could be right. It seems like Keith did at least a trio, so he could have done both? The one that didn't make it on the plate looked fried, but not necessarily chicken-fried, IIRC. Keith is southern, thus my remembering it being his...

                                                                                                      1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                        One of Keith's dishes was the chicken fried rabbit.

                                                                                                        1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                          Nine dishes are showing up at Bravo's website:


                                                                                                          Unfortunately, Keith's recipe(s) aren't up.

                                                                                                          1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                            hey just caught part of a rerun & everyone is right-- keith rhodes did a trio-- cold rabbit loin w corn, chx fried rabbit, & a rabbit leg confit. the judges actually had most aired positive comments about the cold loin prep.

                                                                                                            the lady who *just* did chx fried rabbit wasn't able to get it on the plate so she was gone. the fact that some folks did much more elaborate preps or were able to present well-composed duos or trios within the time limit, like rhodes, really shows the experience gulf between themselves and chefs who couldn't get much done at all, or who went simple and safe. thinking of sloppy-soup boy here too. i feel this way about most of the "bubble" folks, honestly. cruise-ship-molly in particular i'm not interested in seeing stay in the competition. i think she just recycled her favorite squash soup recipe and threw some pig cheeks in it, rather than bringing anything special to the table.

                                                                                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                              My feeling with cruise ship chef is that she put out her absolutely best dish, what she's known for, did what she thought was a great job and was on the bubble. Does she think maybe she's out of her league here when her best couldn't get her a chef jacket?

                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                if she doesn't feel that way, she should! :) if it were me i'd almost rather be a "bubble" chef that didn't make it onto the show, than get on and immediately be eliminated in the first couple weeks. less extended judgement & shame, maybe?

                                                                                                                i agree-- i totally think her strategy was to make that soup no matter what, and just throw in whatever ingredient she wound up w (she got pig cheeks & stated she'd never worked w them before). --which is annoying and doesn't do justice to the ingredients (like the judges pointed out)/. she should cruise back to her cabin and let a more creative and gifted chef shine!

                                                                                                              2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                I think it's unfair to say that poor performance in this format equals "experience gulf". Sloppy soup boy's restaurant looks fabulous, actually. And most chefs do not typically have to prepare food in this type of setting. It requires a certain skill set and some luck too, but that doesn't necessarily translate to "more experience".

                                                                                                                So many people criticized "vegan" soup boy (even though he's not vegan) that I looked him up and checked out his restaurant's menu (it's a vegetarian restaurant, not a vegan one). He doesn't look like some beginner with that menu.

                                                                                                                1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                  Weird, I rewatched this episode yesterday (having already read somewhere up thread that he was vegetarian, not vegan). But he definitely identified himself as a vegan chef.

                                                                                                                  1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                    That's fairly weird, because his restaurant's web site is clearly just vegetarian, not vegan. http://www.sutraseattle.com/menu/

                                                                                                                    1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                      Maybe he eats vegan but cooks vegetarian?

                                                                                                            2. re: momjamin

                                                                                                              Shouldn't Laurent Quenioux be on Top Chef Masters? He's kind of a big deal in LA.

                                                                                                                1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                  I was thinking the same thing when I saw him among the video interviews. I thought he must be on as a guest judge then realized he's a contestant. Definitely a big deal here in LA. Will be interesting to see how he does!

                                                                                                              1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                Colin Patterson -- home (the vegan who didn't plate well -- lost the tip of the foam thing)

                                                                                                                That was a lie. He was pouring it out of a large metal bain marie into tiny cups and got shaky and slopped it all over. He should be out just for straight-up lying to Tom!

                                                                                                                1. re: babette feasts

                                                                                                                  Maybe he was pouring out of the bain marie because he lost the tip of the foam thing? We don't know that he straight up lied.

                                                                                                                  1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                    There was no foam canister. If there was, then he discharged it all INTO the bain marie, and was pouring from that. Well not pouring, he basically threw it at the cups. Going from a hugely wide-mouth vessel into a demitasse is awkward to begin with, add in nerves and hurry... The foam tip excuse was pure BS.

                                                                                                              2. Linda, you're back! Fantastic! Hope the new beau likes Top Chef more than my old man does... thought we might loose you to love

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                  Nah. He's not into it the way I am. He just knows never to call me on Wednesday nights between 10-11pm. ;-)

                                                                                                                2. Linda, awesome recap. As always.

                                                                                                                  Momjamin, thanks for the list!

                                                                                                                  To be honest, I hated the American Idol format.

                                                                                                                  1. Thoroughly enjoyed the episode last night. My wife and I camped out on the couch to watch together, she reluctantly as in her words it has become Top Caterer instead of Top Chef. This episode led to much pausing, rewinding and close examination from my wife (something new as she just returned from LCB in Paris) with her calling out who was professionally trained, who was not and who had "mad knife skills" or solid overall skills.

                                                                                                                    Our first impression of Tyler was wow, he looks rubbery in his face and there is something very unhealthy behind his eyes. Wife declares him to be a narcissist and we are both happy to see him dismissed in the manner he was.

                                                                                                                    Our favorite is Keith, love his demeanor, story and skills, plus I want to see someone that huge navigate a crowded and harried kitchen, should be interesting. Our least favorite was Dakota, I agree with Hugh, she does look like she cries a lot.

                                                                                                                    Looking forward to Episode 2! Loving the show so far.

                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: samlev

                                                                                                                      "Our first impression of Tyler was wow, he looks rubbery in his face and there is something very unhealthy behind his eyes.

                                                                                                                      My daughter said "he reminds me of someone" and my first thought was the young, mean guard in "The Green Mile", Percy. He just had that pompousness about him that turned me off from the first second.

                                                                                                                      Maybe he's a perfectly nice man in real life, he just didn't come across very well on tv.

                                                                                                                      1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                        yes! percy is exactly the character i was searching for...uncanny.

                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                            Wow! We didn't even make the connection until I saw this. Subconscious really coming through on that one....

                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                              Well, if you want that comparison to get even more creepy, google what good old "Percy" has been up to lately.

                                                                                                                              1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                                Whoa. He's 4 years older than his new father-in-law. (And I had forgotten he also played creepy scientist Horace in LOST.)

                                                                                                                                Yeah, that does make him creepier.

                                                                                                                                1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                                  Wow, creepy is right. Hmmm, good thing it's not the same guy, you know how hard we can be on cheftestants :)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                                    Yeah he is smarmy. Perfect example from the green mile! :D

                                                                                                                            2. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                              YES, that's the perfect comparison to Tyler - Mean Guard Percy! There was an "oiliness" to both of them.

                                                                                                                          2. Ah, Sister Linda is back. All is well with the world!

                                                                                                                            Very interesting spin on the start. I was thinking that since this is set in Texas that there would be a lot of meat themes going on with this season. So WTH was the vegan guy thinking?

                                                                                                                            BTW, I was dreading the FoodTV-azation of Top Chef this season, but it doesn't seem to be happening, except for the addition of Emeril, which is a good thing really.

                                                                                                                            1. Thanks LW for you recap.

                                                                                                                              This is an interesting take on the show. There seemed to be a greta deal of talent to chose from. I am looking forward to seeing who will be in the final cast.

                                                                                                                              I doubt Tyler learned anything from his early dismissal probably assumes they don't get him as he is so 'talented'. better suited for Next Foodnetwork Star or one of Ramsays shows.

                                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                OMG! wouldn't you just LOVE to see Ramsay chew him up and spit him out?

                                                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                  Have to agree about Tyler.He was Mr.Know - It-All from his attitude.Man did he butcher that pork.When he was ruining the pork, I thought about my grandfather,who was a butcher.Grandpa would have hit him upside the head with the saw if he had been alive to see that. Don't recall them using the bubble deal in the past with the contestants, or maybe I'm wrong.The house they are staying is either in Alamo Heights, or Monte Vista in San Antonio.
                                                                                                                                  It's one of those mansions from the 1920s or 30s that are common here.Lovely place.
                                                                                                                                  Still haven't figured out where their Top Chef Kitchen is in town.The meat may have come from H.E.B.Central Market down next to the University of the Incarnate Word on Broadway.
                                                                                                                                  It's a foodie's dream. I can't wait for the next show,which might invovle beef maybe,because beef is very common in barbecue here.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: HollyDolly

                                                                                                                                    They haven't called it a "bubble" before, but at least once they've had a challenge at the beginning and the chef who lost was told to PYKAG before they got to the "real" competition. This is just an expanded version of that concept. Now that I think about it, this at least ensures that the 16 cheftestants will be chosen for their talent, and not because the producers think they will be good TV.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: HollyDolly

                                                                                                                                      They may be using one of the show kitchens at the CIA, at least that was the rumor when they were here.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                      I think the talent is very high with this group. Granted, I've not *heard* of any of them, but I have recognized a few of the restaurants mentioned in their introductions. I'll be interested to see how it all plays out.

                                                                                                                                      And Tyler wouldn't last a New York Minute with Ramsay.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                        And Tyler wouldn't last a New York Minute with Ramsay
                                                                                                                                        funny, he reminded me of that obnoxious, pompous young kid (Max, i think?) on Masterchef.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                          Max(?) was nearly sociopathic. Tyler was mostly just sad.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                            i didn't watch Masterchef long enough to find out/make that assessment - i only lasted about 2.5 episodes :)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                              I got you beat by about 2.5 episodes. Best I could tell, you didn't miss much.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                              No, he wasn't, he was just a snotty, privileged kid with a grand sense of entitlement. :-)

                                                                                                                                      2. had fun watching top chef chicago.... i mean, top chef texas ;-P with dh, who has boycotted in past seasons because "it's dumb." the kid who ruined that beautiful primal had him covering his eyes and shrieking like a 15 yr old girl watching "texas chainsaw massacre!" LMAO!

                                                                                                                                        looking forward to the season, should be a good set of competitors

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                          LOL soupkitten at your DH's description of the butchering. Damn. Wish I'd thought of that for the recap. ;-)

                                                                                                                                        2. Thanks for the great recap.

                                                                                                                                          The format of whittling down the chefs reminded me of Master Chef which started with 100? and also of Project Runway this year where the first episode determined who could actually be contestants on the show.

                                                                                                                                          I agree with others who spoke of what seemed to be greater talent than usually seen. Even with some of the eliminated chefs like the Vegetarian Chef/ owner. Many chefs working under very talented chefs including many from Chicago., many James Beard Candidates, best new chefs, etc. all kinds of accolades and many chefs/owners of their own restaurants.

                                                                                                                                          10 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: lenwood

                                                                                                                                            <Many chefs working under very talented chefs including many from Chicago., many James Beard Candidates, best new chefs, etc. all kinds of accolades and many chefs/owners of their own restaurants.>

                                                                                                                                            I like that unlike Next Top Model/X Factor/ etc. the Top Chef contestants aren't amateurs. But I do wonder if it was fair to have the chefs give their credentials before cooking. And if it gave those with the more impressive credentials an unfair advantage by intimidating those w/out.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                              "And if it gave those with the more impressive credentials an unfair advantage by intimidating those w/out."
                                                                                                                                              I'm not so sure I would call that advantage "unfair."

                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                Unfair as in giving a select group of the contestants an advantage over the others so early in the game.

                                                                                                                                                I know that the playing field isn't level (and I'm sure that the contestants know it), but for a contestant who is only a caterer/unemployed/ personal chef I wonder if it intimidated them. Who knows. It just seemed that a few of the contestants were distracted after the introductions.

                                                                                                                                                I think that it would have been more interesting if the contestants didn't introduce themselves in that manner. Let the contestants themselves determine what information they want to share w/each other. See if any decide to "play dumb", which ones stick their foot in their mouth and which ones have a reputation in the industry that make it impossible to fly under the radar. But of course still have the contestants introduce themselves to the judges and audience.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                  If you are going to get intimidated by another contestant's credentials to the point of it affecting the food you put on your plate, you shouldn't be there. Each chef had the option of introducing themselves as they wished. Some gave more info, some less.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                                                    I'm so & so....and I'm a Culinary Artist!

                                                                                                                                                    Really? Did they really have to add that? Totally made me roll my eyes. Yeah they're intimidated & probably won't last very long.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                                                      Chris Crary was the first to say it. but even funnier, the woman who introduced herself immediately after him said "I'm *also* a culinary artist."

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                        <Chris Crary was the first to say it. but even funnier, the woman who introduced herself immediately after him said "I'm *also* a culinary artist.">

                                                                                                                                                        ...and she's "on the bubble." ;)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                          i thought she was slyly poking a little fun at him, and the elves played it up in the edit of the judge's reaction, then his reaction. we chuckled. :)

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                            Of course she was poking fun at him!

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                    "Let the contestants themselves determine what information they want to share w/each other..."
                                                                                                                                                    Thing is, AFAIK that's what they've done every season prior. And also AFAIK, no one has ever kept the cat in the bag. I don't thing anyone by episode 6 of the season was just finding out, "wait a sec... Jen Carroll was sous chef at Le freakin Bernardin?! And M. Voltaggio has a michelin star already?!"

                                                                                                                                                    Generally speaking, chefs with a huge pedigree have earned an advantage, and they're gonna use it whether or not they state their creds formally during the first episode.

                                                                                                                                            2. the contestant bios have started to go up on the bravo website (just the ones we already know about, no spoilers), and there is an extended take of the "texas pig primal massacre" which i really appreciated. emeril was like: "i don't think he got it" to tom after tom repeatedly told the kid he absolutely had no business being there/serving his mangled chop, and the kid repeatedly flashing his cosmetically-enhanced smile and saying "gimme a chance." nope, tom basically told him to go home and learn to cook. most excellent.

                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                Just watched it. DEFINITELY most excellent. :-) He *really* thought he could get by with a "Next time it'll be better; just let me serve it and you'll see!" and give Tom Colicchio a toothy grin. Yeah. SO not gonna happen!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                  ugh . . . gaffk's productivity sinks when lindawhit's thread appears ;)

                                                                                                                                                  I loved the extended video of that arrogant young man vs. Tom & Emeril . . . so much better (or worse?) than on tv . . . theyare both truly disgusted at the waste and lack of talent.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                    LOL! Hey -if *my* productivity is going to suffer, I'm dragging the rest of you down with me. :-)

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                      Well, you don't hear us complaining too profusely about the drop in productivity, do you?

                                                                                                                                              2. i apologize if someone has already said this as i haven't yet given every reply a thorough read, but am i the only one who's bothered by the fact that the groups don't all get the same challenge? they've done this in the past, and i'll never understand why - it doesn't make for a level playing field.

                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                  I thought about that too and wondered why they deiced to go that way. Perhaps it was simply for the benefit of the TV audience. We at home won't be seeing 29(?) people do the same thing. Didn't strike me as unfair. Figure that they are all professionals (with one exception) who how good around cooking skills.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                    Definitely a little unfair, but then the show's playing field has never been completely level. The whole 'draw knives to see whether (and how) you're getting screwed this challenge' thing has been in play since the beginning.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                      I don't know all the reasons, but maybe one is that the judges' palates would get tired of 30+ pork dishes (more dishes than contestants to account for duo and trio plates ;-) -- I thought it was helpful for the judges, if not exactly fair for group 3, that the judges could make their decisions right away, rather than wait 'til the end and try to compare dishes they might have tasted quite a long time apart.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                        i considered palate fatigue...but they could have at least stuck with the primal cuts theme and just used other animals - a cow for the second group and a lamb for the third (or vice versa). just a thought.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Something I've just discovered at Bravo's website - they seem to have a Survivor-like "Redemption Island" called Last Chance Kitchen. Those chefs who are eliminated get a chance at redemption and get to unpack their knives to compete in a secret competition. What's at stake? A chance to get BACK into the competition.


                                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                        oooOOOOOooo!! Interesting twist! I don't know how I feel about this... it could help out someone who is really talented and just had a bad day!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                          there's a little blurb about the secret challenge in this article:
                                                                                                                                                          apparently it's only online...
                                                                                                                                                          but the article says it's similar to how Hugh Atcheson got back on last season after being booted.... i thought he got back on because someone else had a death in the family or something... am i wrong about that?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                            No death in the family - John Sedlar had just opened a new restaurant here in Los Angeles, and there were crises. So, he dropped out and Hugh returned.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nikkihwood

                                                                                                                                                              ok, thanks - but that's to my point - Hugh didn't have to re-compete at all to come back on, right?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                You are correct. !

                                                                                                                                                                And this secret challenge should be interesting.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                            "Last chance Kitchen" may mean no quickfire - just in the interest of time.

                                                                                                                                                          3. Interesting new twist for this season.

                                                                                                                                                            I hope there are at least two spots left for the bubble-chefs. I'd love to see both Grayson and Molly make it into the competition.

                                                                                                                                                            I hope to see Ty-Lor go home ASAP. His ridiculous hipster mustache and ridiculous (and what I assume to be a hipster affectation) way of spelling his name anger me.

                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                                                                                                                                              I don't like when shows bring people back who have been kicked off.

                                                                                                                                                              No second chances from me.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Manassas64

                                                                                                                                                                They haven't been kicked off yet. The bubble options makes sense - since the way it's set up the judges have to make the call of 'in or not' on the spot they likely don't want to risk sending someone home early who might be better than options from later rounds, but at the same time they don't want to use up all of their spaces without giving an equal opportunity to those who have yet to compete.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                                                                                                                                                Not affected at all in the way he spells his name, he is Danish and uses a Danish spelling. You can hear a very slight accent when he speaks and he also worked in Denmark for several years.

                                                                                                                                                              3. heh. i just realized that top chef contestant nyesha arrington is going to be prominent in the upcoming food network show chef hunter, as well! folks should be able to search for the spoiler if they want it.

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                  You know, I saw a commercial for that tonight, and when I first looked at it, I thought it must be a Top Chef commercial because I thought that was her, but then it became clear it wasn't Top Chef so I thought it must have just been someone who looked like her.

                                                                                                                                                                2. Am I understanding that the cheftestants didn't realize they may have quit their jobs for a one night stand?

                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                    That's a good question, but I doubt most restaurants would actually force someone to quit to appear on the show. Since the name of the restaurant that the chef comes from is mentioned fairly often throughout the show it's a lot of free publicity, especially if the contestant does well and doesn't make a donkey of themselves.

                                                                                                                                                                    I'd imagine most of the restaurants would allow for some sort of leave of absence, especially since according to a quote from Tom it takes only about 20 days to film the entire season.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. I finally saw the recording of the show. First, thank you Linda.

                                                                                                                                                                    As a Chicago girl I am really excited about this season and particularly interested in the strong representation of chefs from my city.

                                                                                                                                                                    So that you know, if you don't, Spiaggia is the premiere upscale Italian restaurant in Chicago. It is, indeed highly regarded and venerable. Sarah Guenberg, who works for Tony Manturano there must have great chops.

                                                                                                                                                                    The two guys from MOTO interest me. In the city that boasts Alinea, widely considered the best restaurant in North America and the one of the best examples of molecular gastronomy anywhere, MOTO shows up as a poor second. It is a bastian of MG, but not always in a good way. It will be interesting to see if the two (!) chefs (Jones and Farinia) from MOTO do things outside the box because it works or just because they are -- outside the box.

                                                                                                                                                                    Healher Tarhune is EC at Sable, which (even as she described it) is an amazing bar first and a restaurant second. The drinks menu has chapters. Much of the food is small plates, perfect as outstanding bar food. There are disagreements about how good or consistent the food there really is. When it is good, it is very, very good (truffled deviled eggs; veggie sliders) and when it is bad it is IMO just so-so (corn pudding brulee).

                                                                                                                                                                    The guy from Chilim Baum (Chuy Valencia) is one of many very skilled upscale regional Mexican chefs in Chicago who at one time worked with/trained with Rick Bayless at Frontera Grill or Topolobambo. We'll see if he can generalize his skills beyond the Mexican style of cuisine.

                                                                                                                                                                    I thought I saw another Chicagoan who is coming up next week, but I can't remember who and couldn't find it on the website. Can't wait!!!

                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                      When I was watching I was surprised by how many Chicago chefs they had and was it a fluke. So thank you for this post and descriptions of their restaurants. I guess having the two guys from MOTO is their way of having a "couple" this season. It will be interesting having two contestants with similar MG backgrounds.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                        The last time I was at Next I arrived early so I wandered over to the front window of Moto right next to Next and made a nuisance of myself by staring intently in at what they were doing in that teeny tiny "kitchen" area of theirs just behind the front window. One of the chefs (I think it was Chris Jones, IIRC) obligingly tilted one of the little pots they prepared stuff in so I could inspect the contents. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                        p.s. Max Silvestri has already called Chris Jones "Johnny Two-Glasses" and Ritchie Farina as "Headband Pencil". ;-P

                                                                                                                                                                        p.s.2 The 6th Chicago chef (due up next week) is Beverly Kim, chef de cuisine at Aria in the Fairmont Hotel. There is a chicago.eater.com article on the six with some potential spoiler-like stuff so I won't post the link here.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                          ahahaha i was going to flaunt my shallow cattiness by pointing out that wearing one's shades, atop one's bandanna-do, while wearing one's specs, in a pro cooking challenge, makes most folks who do it look like major doofus-tools. but dh already chastised my zealousness. . . oh well, cattiness prevails! :)

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                          Just noting that some of us Chicagoans feel that Chef Terhune's Sable is pretty wonderful for the food - and we eat there all the time. Having also eaten her food when she was at Atwood - and given her pastry work as well, I think she has an ideal background to do really well on TC.

                                                                                                                                                                          But then I also like Moto and just having the two Moto twins on makes me smile -

                                                                                                                                                                          Perhaps the common thread for me of Moto and Sable is the genuine pleasure these chefs take in the food they prepare and in serving it to us ... that joy makes it a very special art.

                                                                                                                                                                        3. Looks like this season is shaping up as Los Angeles vs. Chicago.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                              Silvestri is in rare form after that long hiatus - i was howling when i read his recap.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                me too. people with cubicle jobs should not read that at work.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                  I love his ending: "Welcome to Texas pew pew pew! (That is the sound six shooters make.)" :-D

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                    ...and I'll have to watch out for any wardrobe malfunctions that Chris Creepy may have in his front whenever Padma walks into the room. ((rolleyes))

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                      I laughed out loud when I read that part!!

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. hooray! we're back!!! I finally got to watch TC on Sunday afternoon - holy moly that was a lot of contestants! ITA that Tyler's smirking was just trying to cover up how badly he'd messed up that butchering. So glad Tom C just sent him packing! I'm looking forward to this week's episode. :)