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Top Chef Texas - Ep. #2 - 11/09/11 (Spoilers)

So I guess this is Part 2 of Episode 1. Sort of the Finale for the Premiere? LOL

Those on the bubble are at least getting to know each other in the Stew Room, almost as if they were prisoners confined in one room. Oh wait - they kind of *are* prisoners confined to one room!

OK, we're into the 3rd heat of the cook-off to get into the Top 16. The remaining 10 cheftestants file into the TC Kitchen - Padma, Tom Colicchio, and Hugh Acheson are there to greet them.

AND......we have yet another cheftestant in love with Padma! Down, boy. :-) The Qualifying Challenge starts. Ten items on the table - again, they all have to decide which ingredient they'll be cooking with - BUT there is a cloche sitting next to each food item. They choose their ingredients, and then lift the cloches next to their individual ingredients. Underneath are kitchen timers - telling them each how long they have to make their particular dishes...and the times range from 20 to 40 to 60 minutes. Risotto in 40 minutes? Could be tough.

One of the chefs, Paul Qui, has 3 food trucks in Texas that's been featured on Bourdain's "No Reservations". The chef who got oxtails has 60 minutes, so she'll have to use a pressure cooker which she's not used before (I think). She's going to make a Filipino-inspired dish. Another chef has 60 minutes to braise a piece of bone-in veal - and she literally runs away from Tom Colicchio as he walks up to her to talk to her to try and keep her time to her cooking. Many run out of time and they have to plate very quickly - can't see who might make it through or who might be told to PYKAG before they go to commercial.

The 20 minute group is up - and the food truck guy, Paul, gets a chef's jacket - that makes 12 cheftestants! Mushroom guy gets put on the bubble, and one chef gets knocked out.

There are 4 cheftestants for the 40 minute group - and WOW...the guy who chose risotto rice as his ingredient *never* got anything on the plate. His time got out of hand, so of course, he's out of there. He said it's like Padma was breaking up with him - he wants his CDs back. Yeah, yeah, yeah - sorry - no more mooning over Padma for you! The 51yo from France, Laurent, ends up on the bubble thanks to Hugh and Padma. He's the only one in the 40 minute group that *might* have a chance.

Now the remaining 3 cheftestants 60 minute group is finishing up - the cheftestant who is making Filipino oxtail dish in the pressure cooker is having problem getting the top off....and then they cut to commercial. Guess we'll see if the lid comes off and she plates her food in a few minutes.

Another cheftestant, Lindsay, tells her how to get the lid off. Unfortunately, the oxtail isn't as done as she'd like. It ends up that Lindsay's braised veal puts her through to get a TC jacket - so that makes 13 cheftestants! The final cheftestant who had octopus also gets a TC chef's jacket. So we have 14 guaranteed. That means the 6 on the bubble are competing for the 2 remaining spots.

So we're at the FINAL Qualifying challenge...Emeril joins Tom, Padma, and Hugh for this final judging. The cheftestants are able to take whatever they can find in the TC kitchen and have 45 minutes to cook the final qualifying dish. Tiger shrimp, mussels, and scallops are being used. Edward chooses duck when he realized that everyone else is using seafood. (He's the one we see cut himself really bad in the preview as well.)

The in-betweener shows those who are already through picking their beds in the Top Chef House - the really big cheftestant (he says he's over 300 lbs!) gets one of the bunk beds. I really hope he's on the bottom bunk! LOL

And we're back...and they're showing Edward cutting his hand. I couldn't see *where* he cut himself, but it does look pretty bad. He continues to cook while the medic bandages his hand (he had immediately pulled on a glove but was still bleeding profusely, so they called in a medic). The medic had to walk around with him as Edward continues with his dish. His duck dish looks REALLY good (I adore duck!).

The seared scallops with a watermelon/bean/corn relish underneath also looks very good and Emeril seemed to really like her dish. Emeril also liked Edward's duck dish, although Hugh said it was slightly overdone the way he likes to eat duck. The bacon-wrapped shrimp with grits also was well received. Laurent's scallops two-ways wasn't as well received - the cooked scallop was enjoyed, but the tartare wasn't liked at all.

They have to go back into the Stew Room waiting for the judges to make their final decision. They all think that Jeannine is in with her scallop, bean/corn relish dish. We'll see!

And we're back at Judges Table...only two are going to get through. One is Edward Lee with his duck dish! I'm glad - I kind of liked him from the beginning and wanted to see what else he would come up with. Andrew, Jeannine, and Grayson are left to vie for one spot. Tom reviews all three of their dishes with them and then looks to Padma to tell them who's in and out - Andrew, an Austin chef, is out. Annnnd....? We cut to yet another commercial. Of course. :-)

And finally, the decision is handed down - Grayson is in, Jeannine is out. Grayson and Edward head to the house where they're greeted by the rest of the cheftestants. Grayson says in the confessional that she doesn't want everyone to think that she and Edward are lesser cooks than the rest of them because they had been on the bubble. I guess we'll see how that plays out in the upcoming episodes!

The previews show that they head to San Antonio first, and it looks like the intense heat takes its toll on many of the chefs (Tom has said in interviews it was 110 degrees in July while filming, and I have a friend who lives in northern TX and she can confirm how hot it was this summer!). Padma talks about making sure some mo-fo snakes are being put on some mo-fo plates! Padma! You were bleeped! Padma also explains the Last Chance Kitchen - which will ONLY be shown online.

And that's all she wrote for this episode - we have our 16 cheftestants!

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  1. I wonder how the whole "Bigger in Texas" format will work out for Top Chef? I am having a little trouble getting too interested in these first two episodes. I think the contestants' personalities are such a large part of the program that these elimination challenges to get into the contest are a little boring.

    1. do you remember what the girl who got booted off from the 20 minute trio cooked?

      ok, what is up with Edward's jaw? i can't stop looking at it when he talks. his duck DID look wonderful tho, didn't it?

      I felt bad for Frenchy - older, French - gone! ah well....

      It really must be a stressful experience, actually going through it. how does one "forget" the main portion of their dish - i mean the girl whose shrimp were overdone?

      That was fun, now i can't wait to see the real show start. Thanks again Linda, as always!

      5 Replies
      1. re: mariacarmen

        I felt bad for Frenchie too (he seemed very sweet) and it made me think think that besides loading up on one or two cities all the time, TC seldom has anyone over 30 on. Is it cuz those people don't try out for something like this? Where are the Robins (was that her name) and other older chefs?

        1. re: Joanie

          There have been plenty of over 30 contestants, but the nature of Top Chef is such that older contestants are not as suited to it.

          In any case, the funny thing about "Frenchie" is that he just might have been the most accomplished chef of the group. I saw other references to him by people wondering why he was even on this show, and that he was more suited to masters. Still, his food wasn't good enough.

          1. re: Joanie

            There have been a good number of people over 30 who have done well - Bryan Voltaggio, Michael Voltaggio (I think he was 30 at the time?), Richard Blais, Stephanie Izard, Angelo Sosa, Tre Wilcox (I think), Stefan (season 5), Carla Hall, Fabio, Kevin Sbraga. A lot of the best contestants, actually.

            Thing about all these guys is they weren't much over 30 (actually Carla is older than she looks IIRC). Top Chef seems to favor those with a combination of experience and energy and physical stamina. Which means a lot of the best contestants are in their early 30s.

            There are other factors, probably. A lot of older cooks have either already distinguished themselves to the point where they don't want to compete (and possibly be beaten by) sous chefs. Older cooks who haven't professionally distinguished themselves as much may not apply to the show as much for fear (or grim understanding) that they'll get smoked and embarrassed by a Voltaggio type. Then there's the reality TV concerns of telegenicity, though in truth I've never been able to figure out exactly how much that plays in to casting TC.

          2. re: mariacarmen

            this clearly just wasn't the right environment for Frenchie (a.k.a. Laurent Quenioux). judging by all the love his food garners on the LA board, the man's got serious skills.

            1. re: mariacarmen

              i can barely look at edward! oh that jaw! it's probably a twitch but also looks like a result of too much partying in the kitchen as suggested here as well... http://eater.com/archives/2011/11/10/...

              oh, and he also looks like this 3 yr old girl i know from my sons music class which makes it that much harder on the eyes...

              feeling bad for laurent...he's somewhat of a rockstar here in this part of los angeles. as others have said, it's just not the right format for him...

            2. Thanks Linda! Husband was pulling for "anything with bacon" , and I said using bacon is practically cheating.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Shrinkrap

                LOL! That's true - even the old tried-and-true bacon-wrapped shrimp "because I like the flavors together". :-)

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  When she did bacon wrapped shrimp, the first thing we all said was, "Yeah, that's never been done before." She added the twist of fig--I wonder how many thousands of hits you'd get on the HC board if you looked for bacon wrapped protein w/ a something sweet. I thought it was funny when the judges discussed how creative the take was. "Shrimp and grits has been done", "Shrimp and bacon has been done" but to put them together...GENIUS!

                  1. re: chowser

                    clearly they're not from the South (rolling eyes).

                    1. re: ChefJune

                      Too bad Emeril wasn't the judge! I still think she should have been eliminated the week before when she trusted Chef Tyler to butcher her cut of meat and never keep an eye on it to make sure it was done correctly.

              2. I thought it was a refreshing change to see the different format (qualifying rounds plus the multiple locations) since the original format was starting to feel a little stale to me. Gave me a chance to get to know a few of the personalities in this season before the official competition starts.

                Based on what I've seen so far, a few of the cheftestants that made an impression (for better or worse):
                Edward Lee - You go Ed! Threaten to kill everyone or hack your thumb off but get that coat! LOL!
                Paul Qui - He's got serious skills. Dined at Uchiko 2 months ago and the food was awesome!
                Ritchie Farina - Please shave that thing growing on your head. You'll look better. Honest.
                Sarah Grueneberg - Already crying in the Ep3 preview?! Please pack your knives and go.

                Forgot about Last Chance Kitchen - it's Andrew vs Janine in a pizza challenge. The winner is Andrew and he will compete against the eliminated chef from next week's episode. That winner competes against the next chef who is eliminated and so on until the last chef standing gets to compete for the $125k! So potentially, if Andrew keeps winning, he could end up in the final and if he wins that, it means he will have won TC without ever having been part of the official competition.

                35 Replies
                1. re: SeoulQueen

                  OK, could I please make a request to all who read here?

                  Could we *not* reveal who the winner/loser is in the Last Chance Kitchen? I hadn't had a chance to watch it, as I head right to bed after writing the recaps. I was hoping to watch it this morning at work, since it'll be quiet.

                  Yes, I know - spoilers about the actual TC-Texas show are here, but Last Chance Kitchen is a separate piece entirely, IMO, since it's not televised and people have to go out to find the video.

                  Perhaps a link posted to the video would be more helpful to those of us who don't watch it immediately. Or at least give it 24 hours from the initial televised episode of Top Chef East Coast Time before discussing it?

                  Just my opinion.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    Meanwhile, not knowing about LCK I was wondering why the hell those cheftestants were still on tv. [confused]

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      I agree with you Linda, it'd be nice if those weren't revealed here. Perhaps the best way to make that happen is to start a separate "ongoing Last Chance Kitchen thread" for people to contribute to (and it might make people realize that they shouldn't post it in here)? You could also start each week's recap with "Please don't discuss or spoil Last Chance Kitchen here, discuss it in this thread" with a link?

                      Just suggestions, because I think it will be hard to keep people from doing so otherwise.

                      1. re: LurkerDan

                        I thought of the same thing, Dan, re: asking folks in each new thread to not reveal what happened on the Last Chance Kitchen online episode for that week within the original post for that week's recap. Will try and remember to do so.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          Sorry, should have put in at least a spoiler alert regarding LCK but completely forgot! I guess I am more excited to watch this season's TC than I thought! Mea culpa.

                          1. re: SeoulQueen

                            No problem, SQ. Hopefully a reminder in the initial post will help remind people during future eps.

                      2. re: LindaWhit

                        While I totally agree about spoilers in general, I have to say I'm kind of glad about this one because I can't watch Last Chance Kitchen!
                        As a Canadian, I can't watch any videos on the Bravo site. I'm a huge Top Chef fan and have been thoroughly frustrated by my inability to watch any of the "special" web offerings. No extended judges' table, no interviews, not last chance kitchen. Arghhh!!

                        1. re: chefhound

                          I've asked this question of Canadians in the past, but do not remember the answer. Is the reason you cannot watch videos on bravo.com a Bravo thing? If so, do you have any idea why they don't want Canadians watching videos on their website? If it's a Canadian government thing, what's up with that? I knew China blocks websites, but it would not occur to me that Canada would do so.

                          1. re: John E.

                            Based on my own anecdotal/observational evidence having lived in Canada for 4 years...Bravo Canada seems to be completely independent of Bravo USA at this point - it is still much more like Bravo used to be here - more art, less pop culture. Top Chef runs on FoodNetwork Canada. So the Canadian Bravo website won't stream Top Chef content because they don't have the rights...Bravo USA won't stream it in Canada due to various copyright/Canadian content laws. So I'm guessing FN Canada would have to pay a separate license fee to stream online content, and it would go towards their non-Canadian content quota. Long story short: not worth the effort or money.

                            Again, this is all conjecture on my part, based on what I know of the oddities of Canadian broadcasting. There are two sides of the coin - I'd pay good money to see Dragons' Den here.

                            1. re: John E.

                              I'm gonna sound kind of dumb but I am completely ignorant of all technological whys and wherefores. All I know is that they can detect that's I'm not in the US and doesn't let me watch. The message I get is that the video is not available from my location. I also get a similar message from sites like Hulu. It's so frustrating - if we can watch the show here, why can't we watch LCK?

                              1. re: chefhound

                                I understand the technology, I just did not understand the reasons. The Bravo site reads your location through your ISP (internet service provider) and the numbers tell them you are in Canada and to not let you have access to their web page.

                                1. re: John E.

                                  What I don't understand is why they don't let us have access to their videos. I guess it's a copyright thing? I mean, we are able to watch Top Chef in Canada (on the Food Network, not Bravo) but most of Bravo content is available on some Canadian network.

                                  Thank god for the internet. I just discovered that I can watch Last Chance Kitchen on RealityTVFan.org.
                                  Thank goodness because not being able to watch a major part of the show would suck.

                                  1. re: chefhound

                                    My guess is that it's a rights thing where FN Canada owns the rights to TC in Canada but does not wish to pay extra for the on-line content. I wonder what kind of relationship FN US and Bravo US have? There seems to be some crossover from FN to Bravo but not the other way.

                                    1. re: chefhound

                                      Getting around being blocked by US sites is as simple as signing up for unblock us. Total freedom to do whatever you want on the internet for only $5 a month. American netflix kills the canadian version . http://unblock-us.com/about-us/

                                      1. re: chefhound

                                        the canada/u.s. rights are annoying to me... because i think top chef has used up a lot of top u.s. restaurant cities in earlier seasons and i would love to see a top chef season shot in toronto or (especially!) quebec. i don't think that's ever gonna happen due to the schism.

                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                Hell, I don't know where i have been , but I didnt even know about LCK.
                                Is it a seperate show on immediately after TC?
                                Every other weeke?

                                Eliminated chefs get a chance to get back in?
                                I suppose I can Google, but...

                                1. re: NellyNel

                                  Nelly, it's an online-only thing. About 6 minutes of video showing the last chance of kicked off cheftestants to get back in the game.

                                  At Bravo's website: http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/seaso...

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    I was able to access LCK via "On Demand".

                                    1. re: JAB

                                      Good to know! Not sure how good Verizon FiOS's "On Demand" is, but I'll check it out.

                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                      Thanks, Linda!

                                      I'll have to check it out!!

                                      I was hoping it was another show entirely....because I still can't get enough TC!

                                    3. re: NellyNel

                                      This is one reason I love CH-I didn't know about it until I read this thread either.

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        Well, you love CH because of the wicked cool Top Chef recaps, too, chowser. Just admit it. ;-)

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          Do I love CH because of the wicked cool TC recaps...or do I love Top Chef because of the wicket cool recaps on CH? Tough call.:-)

                                        2. re: chowser

                                          I didn't know about it either, and i'm so glad I've seen it now!! Even if it's just another couple minutes, it is still MORE TC!

                                    4. re: SeoulQueen

                                      If [winner of this weeks Last Chance] winds up winning the whole competition, it will be through either a Herculean effort of amazing cooking or almost absurd luck. Or both. Because the way Last Chance Kitchen is set up, [s]he'd have to win 15 heads up challenges in a row.

                                      If we were to assume that all of these chefs were basically on even footing (meaning they have equal odds at beating one another), [this weeks winner] would have a 1 in 32,768 chance of being the last [wo]man standing. Even if [s]he is far better than their upcoming competition (and it's unlikely that anyone will have a huge advantage, since they're all professional chefs of some standing), the odds of winning that many heads up challenges in a row are staggeringly low.

                                      Interesting format. If this weeks winner even lasts a third of the way through the season, that would be a major accomplishment.

                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                        Does anyone know just how the LCK is going to work? Are they really going to play down to one chef of the original 16, who will then compete with whoever survives the LCK and make that the finale? I like the LCK, but not sure I like that part. I think I'd rather see it get down to 2 and have the chef eliminated 3rd go to LCK and the winner of that LCK getting to go to the finale with the other 2 chefs.

                                        Don't ask me why, but it just sounds better.


                                        1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                          I think the LCK winner will come back into the TC Kitchen when there are maybe 6-8 left out of the original 16. I can't see them having someone who was kicked off come back to be in the finale! Even if s/he did have to cook 10-12 dishes head-to-head with someone else and continually win them.

                                          Having seen the LCK video online, I can't recall whether Tom C. said anything to Andrew and Janine as to how far along they'd have to go to get back into the competition. Will have to rewatch tonight at home.

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            Personally, I'd find it quite interesting if the LCK winner arrived in the finale with 2 other chefs (they wouldn't make it so LCK winner is in the final two, because that would likely make the final two compete against each other two episodes in a row). But if I had to bet, Id guess that they would reintroduce the LCK winner when there's three or four other chefs still around.

                                            "I can't see them having someone who was kicked off come back to be in the finale! Even if s/he did have to cook 10-12 dishes head-to-head with someone else and continually win them."
                                            Would be interesting though. Chances are the LCK winner would be someone who made it pretty far in the competition anyway - likelier than not, the most recent exile. If any of these early entrants to LCK actually wins 12 in a row, they deserve to be crowned Top Chef then and there, as that would be far harder and more impressive than winning the whole thing without getting the boot.

                                          2. re: JuniorBalloon

                                            I don't think anyone knows, but I agree with you, it makes the most sense to eliminate down to 2, and the person who finished 3rd goes to LCK with the winner of that LCK coming back to be the 3rd finalist. And then decide from there. But who knows?

                                            1. re: LurkerDan

                                              Or whatever number there are for the *final* round. The loser of the qualifying round for the finalists dukes it out with the last-standing LCK and the winner of that joins the group of final finalists. They've often had rounds of 3 or 4 finalists, not just the 2 of the early years or the last one...

                                        2. re: SeoulQueen

                                          Sorry if someone else said this further down the thread, I haven't read it all, but.....
                                          isn't the last chance kitchen a total ripoff of redemption island on survivor?

                                          1. re: julesrules4food

                                            Yes it is. Like recipes, good ideas are worth stealing. :)


                                            1. re: julesrules4food

                                              Yes, I had said this earlier (previous week's thread). I'm still holding out judgment as to whether I'm going to like LCK, depending on how long it lasts into the season. :-)

                                          2. I really like the addition of Last Chance Kitchen to the format. So many times it has happened that an excellent cook has had a bad day and gotten eliminated. So this new wrinkle seems to mitigate the element of luck as well -- a good cook in a bad situation in a group challenge, for example. Of course, this will either shorten the amount of time we see the chef's cook, or lengthen the episodes.

                                            BTW, I make risotto all the time, and I don't think that 40 minutes is too little time. It's close, but not impossible. What is impossible, however, is the fact that he seemed to be making enough risotto to feed an army. He needed three portions, and making what looked to be 20 or more portions, will slow you down for sure. Bad decision.

                                            22 Replies
                                            1. re: roxlet

                                              Agree on the amount of risotto he was making. I couldn't understand why he was using such a large pan, but forgot to note that in my original post.

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                People that dumb deserve to pack their knives. Or not unpack them in the first place.

                                                That risotto looked like an army mess hall offering.

                                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                                  Not that an army mess hall would ever serve risotto. I think it would just be called "soupy rice". :-) But I getz ya, C. Hamster.

                                              2. re: roxlet

                                                The amount he made struck me as odd too. He probably needed 4 portions (one for the photographer). That said, making a big pot doesn't really take much more time than making a smaller portion - it looked like his main problem was that as it got down to the wire, he stood over the risotto freaking out over whether it would be done rather than getting the plating all ready and making sure that his risotto made it to the plates.

                                                In fact, I even wondered if maybe he deliberately chose not to plate because he wasn't proud of the risotto or something. Notice that the other contestant told him he was down to one minute and offered help - which he declined - and then later told the judges he didn't know how much time he had left.

                                                Also, considering that the dude cooks at the Fatty Crab, I found it odd that he chose to make risotto in the first place, Italian wife or not. Risotto claims another Top Chef victim.

                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                  "That said, making a big pot doesn't really take much more time than making a smaller portion"

                                                  But if the burner is not large enough to accomodate that huge pot, it would slow the process down, I think. Clearly, I don't know how many BTUs that stove has, but on my Viking, a larger pot does take longer to finish cooking when making risotto than a smaller pot. Volume does have some effect.

                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                    He looked like he was using a big wide pan on multiple burners. On a powerful professional stove, it shouldn't have made a big difference. You heat up the stock as you're cutting and sauteing your vegetables and giving the rice that first bit of heat, like ACgold said below. Once it's in the risotto pan, you only need enough heat to keep already-hot stock at about a simmer.

                                                    Again, I don't think it was a good call to make that much. But it doesn't take that much longer either. Dude must've had some other problems.

                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                      What I didn't hear/catch and don't get (and am really perplexed by) was when he asked how much time was left, got the answer of '1 minute", but then picked up that pan of risotto and took it over to ?what? and fiddled with it some more, then brought it back to his station to set it down and be timed out right there. What was he trying to do? Dude, you have ***1 minute*** left, shouldn't you be plating, whatever the f*ck was up with your risotto?

                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                        See my comment above. I'm wondering if he just wasn't proud of the dish for some reason and decided to fake running out of time rather than get ripped apart by the judges and get sent home anyway.

                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                          Ah yes. Hmm, could be. That scenario is one possibility but if not, *what* was he muttering as he ran away with the pan to whatever it was he was running to?

                                                  2. re: cowboyardee

                                                    Watching the episode, the huge pot didnt phase me, but it is true!

                                                  3. re: roxlet

                                                    I too was confused by the vat of risotto. If you're adding anything (onion for example) it does increase your prep time exponentially - that alone could have done him in with the clock.
                                                    Edwards cut - holy crap batman! That was like something out of a movie. I thought he got blood in every contestants food. He did suck it up - compare that to the cook who nicked her finger and had to go to the hospital previous season.
                                                    My only problem with the format - what would have happened if they had 16 selected before everyone went? And then someone can't get in with what might have been the best dish? Going later was definitely a disadvantage as a jacket worthy dish might have put you on the bubble because I think they needed to hold 2 slots for the cook off.

                                                    1. re: bobbert

                                                      "If you're adding anything (onion for example) it does increase your prep time exponentially"
                                                      That's a consideration, but also quite a bit of an overstatement. Most of these guys can break down a dozen onions in maybe three to five minutes. Any way, his risotto didn't look all that chock fulla... whatever.

                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                        There's onion and garlic and peppers and.... who was it a couple years ago (Jen???) who's probably still dicing onions. Then the extra stock has to heat up - another extra few seconds. If there's no clock ticking away, I agree with you but if that whole process set him back even 1 minute, it was enough time for him to have to pack his knives and leave.

                                                        1. re: bobbert

                                                          Casey (season 3) is NOT representative of the knife skills of a professional chef who's been in the game for a while. She was using a freaking bread knife for that relay race. Almost any professional chef would have done better. Heck - I would have done much better, and I'm no professional.

                                                          I'm not saying that he was right in making a huge pot, or that it didn't cost him a few crucial minutes. I agree with you in the main. I just took exception to the word 'exponentially.' It takes a few minutes longer if you're good with a knife.

                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                            Casey, that's right. Thanks. I agree with you but if it takes you 30 seconds to dice one onion it would probably take... 60? seconds to dice two? Yeah, exponentially is probably the wrong word - not being a math guy I probably shouldn't use math terms (I'm not sure what an exponent is). I'll go with you and say "a few minutes" longer. Certainly enough time to send him packing.

                                                      2. re: bobbert

                                                        I too thought about the selection process and that they seemed to be running out of slots with too many chefs left to compete. Then I remembered that we are not seeing this competition in real time. They recorded all of this and edited it together so we do not know actually how much collaboration and consideration they used in choosing the contestants.

                                                      3. re: roxlet

                                                        The fact that he freaked out when he was told he had 40 minutes to make four portions of risotto should have sent him home right then and there. Anyone should be able to make six portions in 25, 30 minutes, tops. You can be heating your stock while you are dicing and sauteing your onions. This isn't rocket science.

                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                            I also don't see why anyone would willingly pick risotto, given its history of tanking so many contestants.

                                                            1. re: piccola

                                                              So true! Even if one or two have gotten it right along the way, it's mostly a loser's dish.

                                                              1. re: piccola

                                                                Same can be said of scallops, someone should have told Laurent.

                                                            2. Linda thanks for covering Top Chef (once again) I truly enjoy reading it since TC comes on so late in Bermuda. I have to hope for replay over the weekend to catch it or watch online (or the wee hours of the morning)

                                                              I sure hope since they are cooking in Tim Love's backyard they have him on as a guest judge this season

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                                                Hey bgg! I do think I recall seeing Tim Love's name as a guest judge before the season started, but I can't be sure.

                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                  You saw correctly. He will be making an appearance. ;)

                                                              2. I am struck by what a nice guy Emeril is and what a not so nice guy Hugh is. I'm not all that familiar with Acheson so maybe it's just his style?

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: Berheenia

                                                                  I don't think that Hugh Acheson is not a nice guy, I just think he has a weird off-beat sense of humor. Quirky doesn't begin to describe him.

                                                                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                      Yeah, I think he can be snarky, but that's not all. He's ironic too.

                                                                  1. re: Berheenia

                                                                    Hmm. Just curious - what is it about Acheson that makes you say he is not a nice guy? What is it about Lagasse that makes you say he is a nice guy?

                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                      When HA was on Masters, he really got the assy edit. But when he came back, they were a little fairer to him in the editing to not make him out to be a total ass. I follow him on twitter and he has a sarcastic/cutting sense of humor.

                                                                  2. Also, the vat of risotto looked really thick.

                                                                    Apparantly he hadn't seen Tom have a nutty over Tre's non-soupy risotto in whatever season that was.

                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                      How can anyone NOT know about the reality TV risotto curse? I'm pretty sure it was mentioned on the show, but maybe not to him.

                                                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                        Maybe they know about the risotto curse, but it's hubris, pure and simple that leads them forward into the morass. "Tre couldn't make it, but I can," he must have thought to himself. "After all, I'm married to an Italian," is what he did say!

                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                          <"After all, I'm married to an Italian," is what he did say> Literally "famous last words!" ;)

                                                                        2. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                          Wait - didn't someone break that risotto curse last season on All-Stars? Or was that the intense dislike of okra from Tom Colicchio when Tiffany Derry made some he finally liked?

                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                            Antonia Lofaso, in the last round in NY for qualification to the finale.

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                              I seem to remember the curse being broken, but even husband knew the odds were against risotto...unless it had bacon in it.

                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                Tre also made a winning risotto dish on the first episode of season 3, IIRC. It was served under ostrich and abalone.

                                                                              2. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                i think the elves that be cast ol' hugh as a judge in an attempt to replace bourdain's jaded nyc snark with some fresh, canadian farm-to-table snark. here's what he wrote about the risotto in his blog on the bravo site:

                                                                                Fatty Crab Chaz is doing risotto. I remark to him that risotto has brought down many, many chefs on TC. He doesn’t want to hear this, but the writing may be on the wall. He says that Italians make risotto, “all night.” Twenty minutes seems more accurate, but if you have to caress each rice kernel like they were miniature Padmas, then yes, it may take a while. He also says something like, “Am I a Navy Seal or a GI Joe?” We hope you are just a person cooking risotto. Don’t aim too high.

                                                                              3. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                Double whammy for Chaz when he gets home. First, he lusts after Padma on national TV. Second, he pays tribute to his Italian American wife by making risotto and messes up the risotto. I think 40 minutes is plenty of time to make risotto but if he had questions about whether he could do it in that time, why make it? He wasn't told to make risotto; he was given the rice. Make something that you can do in that time if that's the case. Be creative, think outside the box.

                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                  Actually, didn't he CHOOSE the Arborio rice himself with the full intent of making risotto? However, not knowing what was under the cloche, he didn't realize he'd be restricted to 40 minutes. Either way, he has only himself to blame as he chose the rice.

                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                    And if he had done that (be creative, think outside the box) and made something else with the rice, and done it well, he would likely have been given a lot of credit by the judges.

                                                                                    The two who defaulted to "My spouse is [ethnic/national background], so I'm going to cook [traditional dish] to pay tribute to him/her," instead of thinking about it in terms of the typical challenges and constraints of TC, coupled with the need to impress the judges with their cooking chops *and* creativity, predictably didn't do so well.

                                                                                2. I thought it was odd that the risotto guy poured it from the cooking pot onto a sheet pan instead of dishing it up directly from the cooking pot - an extra step that wasted time. Too bad, because it looked loose and flowing, the way the judges want it.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: babette feasts

                                                                                    The "all night risotto" comment reminded me of the movie Big Night with Stanley Tucci about 2 brothers who come to America and open a restaurant and the brother who is the chef makes this incredible risotto but it takes like all night to make for it to be authentic.

                                                                                  2. just realized no one has posted a link to this week's entry from Max Silvestri's blog yet. if you're drinking something, i'd suggest putting it down before reading:

                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                      Gotta love his comment about Grayson wanting to drink at 15. "Grayson, are YOU kidding me? That is pretty early to be a full-blown alcoholic. I don't know about you guys, but at 15 I wasn't yet pounding handles of rotgut vodka." And then the picture. :-)

                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                        my favorite part by far:

                                                                                        "Our special tonight is upskirt steak in a chimichubby sauce. Oh, the bathrooms are located at the top of the glass staircase above the open kitchen. Watch your step."

                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                          Mine: "Does a gust of wind blowing off Padma's dress constitute an act of God? I think we all agree He moves in mysterious and erotic ways, so let's say yes."

                                                                                          and: Edward's "crazy coke jaw".

                                                                                          wasn't there are another really funny blog we followed last season?

                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                            Fabio blogged about TC All-Stars, but i personally thought it was annoying & stupid, not really funny. was it amuse-biatch? http://amuse-biatch.blogspot.com/

                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                              no, not Fabio's.... can't remember. not amuse-biatch either. i thought there was one you linked us to, GHG, and then someone else turned us on to another one? was yours eater.com's? anyway..... thx.

                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                Silvestri's blog on eater.com has always been my fave. there may have been another one, but it wasn't from me!

                                                                                            2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                              I can offer these...

                                                                                              Snarky good fun from Grubstreet. Black Hagrid, indeed! And someone in the comments has renamed Mr. Acheson Hugh-nibrow. Yikes.


                                                                                              Esquire’s (bl)Eat Like a Man has some good humor and observations: I obviously dislike the blog title. Sorry.


                                                                                              Note to Bravo - linking to a blog does NOT mean I want to see said bloggers as judges, ok?

                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                Was it the blog about TV shows rather than food?

                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                  Was it Skillet Doux? I'm pretty sure I found that one through here. I also like the recaps at Television Without Pity, but I'm pretty sure that's not the one anyone here is thinking of.

                                                                                          2. I've watched a few times and can't understand what Edward was doing when he cut himself and how what he was doing ended up cutting him. It looks like he's forgotten how to open a bottle and instead of unscrewing the top he hacks at the neck of the bottle with a very small knife. The bottle appears to become angry at this unneccessary abuse and explodes with such force Ed's hand is nearly severed.


                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                              i didn't bother replaying it, i just assumed that when he swiped the knife across it, the blade caught the hand he had wrapped around the bottle. as for *why* he chose the knife method to open it, my guess is that he was fumbling/struggling with it and didn't want to waste time. he may very well just have been trying to cut through some sort of airtight seal around the neck - i sometimes have to use a knife to get underneath it on new vinegar bottles...though i don't hack at it quite so carelessly.

                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                i sometimes have to use a knife to get underneath it on new vinegar bottles...though i don't hack at it quite so carelessly.

                                                                                                The mere thought of that brings me to tears, and gives me the shivers to no end.

                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                  well whaddaya want me to use? my teeth? the last thing i need is another astronomical dental bill, and i know you can appreciate that.

                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                    Another implant? Or buying custom gloves with only 9 fingers?

                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                      i meant for something like this:

                                                                                                      occasionally the little pull strip breaks off and i'm stuck with that plastic/foil shrink-wrapped around the neck of the bottle. how else am i supposed to get it open? if i can't manage to slip the tip of a sharp knife under there without slicing off a finger, i've got no business in the kitchen. it's not brain surgery.

                                                                                              2. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                First time I saw the show, I thought the liquid that flew out was his blood. It was only after watching a second time that I saw the cut, as bad as it was, wasn't as bad as I initially thought. I've used a knife to open those type of bottles - the ones with the plastic wrap pretty much sealed over the cap. They're a pain. Of course, I use a small knife to slowly, carefully, cut the plastic wrap. Then again, I usually don't have any money at stake.

                                                                                                1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                  I thought that spray was his blood too!!! I was like, holy mother of God!!! ha... I wondered how he was able to remain in the kitchen.... whoops