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Top Chef Texas - Ep. #7 - 12/14/11 (Spoilers)

OK, step right up, folks, for the Chef's Knife Battle Royale! The two who don't get along will be teamed together - veddy interestink!

The cheftestants all head back to the TC house; Nyesha notes how harsh Heather was on Beverly and thinks it shows a lot about Heather's integrity. Ty-Lor realizes he just skated by and he needs to step it up.

The next morning, they show up at the TC kitchen and Tim Love is there. And what's on the table? A lot of Don Julio tequila. For the Quickfire Challenge, they are to choose one of the tequilas and create a dish that pairs well with the tequila. Tim Love said they're looking for an intense, long-lasting flavor from their dish.

Padma notes that there will be a tequila tasting so they can choose the particular tequila they want to use, there won't be any immunity, but the winner will win $5,000.

Kind of love the way they're tossing around all of the herb bundles. Paul notes that Ty-Lor is using clams and realizes it's a great pairing with tequila, but Ty-Lor notes that Chris Jones is overcooking his chicken breast, and could be in trouble.

The bottom group? Heather, Chris Jones, and Sarah (Tim Love said Heather's dish was like a new special at a chain restaurant - OUCH! LOL)

The top group consists of Chris Crary (he had Sea Salt Air on his raw oyster - but...but...but.......is that FOAM? Nooooooooooooo!!!), Lindsay, and Ty-Lor. And the winner is? Ty-Lor! Went from the bottom in the previous EC and goes to the top in the next QF.

Now on to the Elimination Challenge....Sarah notes before going to commercial that it's really going to get some tempers flaring.

Padma says "the game is ON." She said she hoped that the cheftestants like who they're standing next to - because that's their team partner. Sarah and Paul looked pleased....Heather and Beverly both look very discomfited and NOT pleased! Tim Love said he's hosting a game dinner @ his restaurant for a group of friends. Each team will cook a course of game that is the favorite of one of the friends.

Nyesha & Dakota - Venison for Bryan Caswell of Wreath, Houston
Sarah & Paul - Squab for Anita Lo from Annissa, NYC
Grayson & Chris J. - Elk for Tim Love of Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Fort Worth
Chris C. & Lindsay - Boar for Jon Shook of Animal, Los Angeles
Heather & Beverly - Duck for John Currence of City Grocery, Oxford, MS
Ed & Ty-Lor - Quail for Vinny Dotolo from Animal, Los Angeles

TWIST TIME! They'll also have to cook a few extra plates...for their fellow chefs! All of them will be judges as well! The cheftestants will choose three dishes that they like the *least*, and those teams will be put in front of the judges. The judges will have the final say .... on which TEAM will go home. It's a DOUBLE ELIMINATION! This could be irony if the Heather & Beverly team goes home! LOL And the winning team will split $10,000.

They head out to Whole Foods, and Beverly is shown trying to work with Heather. She notes that Heather is very bossy, but she's trying to be a team player. Grayson is concerned about Chris Jones, because "he makes crazy stuff, and I don't" - so she's hoping he doesn't go overboard.

Back in the TC Kitchen for prep. Everyone notices that Heather and Beverly are *not* meshing. Heather says Beverly cooks Pan-Asian, and she does American farm-to-table, and she tells Beverly that she wants to make sure the dish isn't too Asian, as that's not her style. And "I'm not going home, Bev!" Edward notes the friction between the two of them, and notes that Heather is being a complete bitch.

They're done with prep and head back to the TC house. Beverly notes that Heather was rather abrasive and controlling all day. She reveals in the confessional that there was a time in her life that she was in an abusive relationship - someone who physically and emotional abused her. One day when he was at work, she ran away. She's become stronger since she's been out of that relationship.

And we're back - Chris Crary and Lindsay are the first course up - Boar. The stress level is high, especially since they're judging each other's dishes. Everyone is crowded in a very tiny kitchen @ The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro - AND everyone is sweating bullets, as it's really hot in there.

Chris Jones screwed up his sweet potato dish, and he has to switch up his dish. Grayson is really concerned. Heather notes that Beverly asks a lot of questions like a sous chef does. She doesn't think like a chef. Beverly said she doesn't like the onions in their duck dish, but Heather said "This is part of my rustic style so we're going to have to compromise." To me, that sounds like Heather is saying "The onions are staying; I don't care what you think, Beverly."

Chris Crary and Lindsay realize that their boar racks were a bit underdone in the middle, but they were able to get enough chops off the ends that were properly done without serving any of the underdone ones to the judges.

1st COURSE - Chris C. & Lindsay - Roasted Wild Boar with Peach BBQ Sauce, Kohlrabi Slaw & Farro-Fried Rice - Tom said it was a nice dish, just not exciting. Back in the kitchen, Sarah said it was a fun way to do a BBQ; Paul noted the slaw was a bit watery.

2nd COURSE - Heather & Beverly - Five-Spice Duck Breast with Creamy Polenta & Pickled Cherries - Hugh notes the duck could have been rendered a bit more, that it was a bit rubbery. John Currence said he didn't like the way the pickled cherries worked, Vinny Dotolo thought it was too safe. Back in the kitchen, Paul notes that there was no crispy skin, but Sarah tells them that the duck is cooked perfectly.

3rd COURSE - Grayson & Chris J. - Juniper-Roasted Elk with Sweet Potato and Bouquet of Citrus Greens - when asked by Padma if that's the way they wanted the sweet potato to be cut, Chris Jones begins to explain he wanted to do an elaborate technique that unfortunately, did not work out for him. Grayson cut in and very deliberately said loudly "That IS how we wanted it to be; we just wanted to get height and we accomplished that." As they walk away, she chews out Chris J. saying "Don't effing tell them that way!" Tim Love said the piece of meat was seasoned and cooked well, Bryan Caswell said when the plate hit the table, he thought 1982, Banquet Menu. (ouch!) As they walk back into the kitchen, Grayson turns to Chris J. and said "we're probably going home so do NOT saying anything to them [other cheftestants in the kitchen] about how we feel about our dish." Heather told Grayson that the elk was cooked perfectly.

4th COURSE - Ed & Ty-Lor - Sorghum Quail with Pickled Cherries and Eggplant - (pickled cherries - AGAIN?) - Tim Love said the quail shines, and Anita Lo said they managed to bring out the early qualities of the ingredients. All we see in the kitchen is some high fives and someone saying "beautiful."

5th COURSE - Nyesha & Dakota - Roasted Rack of Venison with Kabocha Squash & Beet Gratin - venison is undercooked and it's noted by all judges. Tom likes the texture of the gratin; and back in the kitchen, Heather notes that "it's a little rare."

6th COURSE - Paul & Sarah - Squab Breast and Squab Sausage with Nectarine Pickles with Shallots & Jalapeno - the presentation was noted as being a little sloppy and rushed, but Tom liked it. Anita Lo would have liked more caramelization on the skin. Back in the kitchen, you can hear someone comment about acid can overpower. Sarah is freaked out about the sausage.

Padma comes into the kitchen and asked for Ed and Ty-Lor! Everyone immediately congrats the two of them - obviously the winner, and Tim Love declares them the winner. They'll split $10,000. Padma tells them that they, along with the other cheftestants, will have 15 minutes to decide which three teams to send out to face elimination. They head back into the kitchen, and they're all just sitting there until Heather asks Ed and Ty-Lor "What do you guys want to do?

Beverly said she wishes the judges had just made the decision. Heather said "maybe we'll just make them make it" and Grayson responds "No! We'll just vote!" Heather said "Well, you're not going to vote for yourself to go out there!" and Grayson responds "well, neither are you!" Ty-Lor said he doesn't want to see Heather go home because she's a really good friend, but everyone's going to have to make hard decisions.

Paul said he thought Heather & Beverly's dish was not one of his favorites, and Nyesha & Dakota's meat was a little tough. He also said Chris/Grayson's meat was dry when he ate it. Then Heather said Nyesha/Dakota's meat was too rare and Chris J/Grayson's dish - she didn't understand the bouquet. When Grayson asked who was Heather's third, Heather said she couldn't pick a third. Grayson said "But we all have to pick 3!" and Heather said "You don't have to tell me about the process!"

The choices to go into JT -

Elk (Grayson & Chris Jones)
Duck (Heather & Beverly) and
Venison (Nyesha & Dakota)

Tom asks Heather & Beverly why they think they're up there - Heather responds maybe because *she* was the winner of the previous challenge. Grayson is shown shaking her head and Nyesha stares up into the air.

Tom tells Dakota that the dish was definitely undercooked, Padma asked Nyesha if she ever thought to go over and see if she needed help. Nyesha said by the time she did, it was too late. Hugh said that the flavor profile was very good.

For Grayson & Chris J., Hugh said the meat was cooked pretty well, but said they might be living and dying by that sweet potato fence that didn't work out.

They then get to Heather & Beverly, and Tom asks if they know why they're there. Beverly begins to answer, but Heather interrupts and said they're trying to balance two chefs on one plate. Tom said it felt like a collection of ingredients, not a finished dish. Heather said throughout the entire competition, she and Beverly haven't seen eye-to-eye. Beverly begins to say she didn't think so, but yet AGAIN, Heather interrupts her and said "I do. I think our work ethics are completely different, especially in the last challenge. [Tom sits up and takes notice at this point!] In the last challenge, you had shrimp, that's what you focused on for two days..." and Beverly said "Wow, that just really hits me. I have a really strong work ethic, that's 400 shrimp to peel and deveining perfectly. She helped me to peel them at the very end, but I didn't ask you to help me." Heather says very cuttingly "No, your teammate did." SHOCKED look on Beverly's face. Dakota steps into the conversation and said she didn't like the way the conversation was going and thought that Beverly was an extremely hard-working cook and she kicks butt in the kitchen.

Tom asks how it manifested today - Heather said Beverly doesn't trust herself and have enough self-confidence. Beverly said she does have confidence but it comes out in a different way.

Back in the Stew Room, Heather said a lot of things came up and that she's sorry if Beverly feels she hurt her feelings, but she didn't get any say in the dish -(HUH? All we saw was Heather having HER say in the dish!) Heather said she didn't want to do Asian, but Beverly didn't listen to her. REALLY? If she's that strong of a person, she should have said something even more! Heather continued to bring up the shrimp issue from the LAST competition, and everyone is kind of stunned in the Stew Room!

Back at JT, Tom said that the teams sent through to the bottom group were the correct 3 teams to have been in front of them. They review all of the dishes, and make their decision. The team going home? Dakota and Nyesha! Dakota's devastated that she took down Nyesha down with her.

Previews show them heading for Austin - and Patti LaBelle will be a guest judge.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For LCK - both Nyesha and Dakota get their envelopes at the TC house. They show up and see Whitney. And the four previous guys all show up to watch. The challenge is to use only a wok as their cooking pot, and they have to use one special ingredient in honor of the hosting state - cactus. 30 minutes using cactus and any other ingredient in the TC pantry. Richie asks Keith quietly if you can eat cactus raw, and Keith replies yes. Keith asks how Dakota is doing; she's shaking. Keith asks Nyesha what direction she's going in - she said Asian. Keith tells them they have 10 minutes to go, and then Andrew asks Whitney what she was going to do - she's doing a chicken-fried rice with cactus.

Whitney does a Cactus and Chicken-Fried Rice with Sriracha.
Nyesha does Asian Style Scallops with Prickly Pear Garnish, Cilantro and Thai Basil
Dakota does a Shrimp Tostada with Watermelon and a Prickly Pear Shooter

Tom then calls over the 4 guys to try the dishes. Tom tells the 3 cheftestants that they all worked the cactus into their dishes very well. Interesting winner!

(Sorry this was so late being finalized - two cats who are going nuts climbing furniture etc. has distracted me way more than I had hoped!)

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  1. The first thing I thought when Chris Crary said "Sea Salt Air" was "Oh Noooooo!!!! He ruined this season and did a foam!!!!" But his dish did sound amazing....

    Oh! and I was like.... Oooooh we can get rid of BOTH Bev and Heather in one shot!!

    ETA: Ok wow, now I am switching my view up a bit.... I just want heather to leave, not Bev.... Too bad that isn't an option this week. Heather is a straight up bully/bitch.... I think it's all Bev could do to have ANY say whatsoever!!

    7 Replies
    1. re: kubasd23

      Exactly what I thought - I'd rather have just Heather leave and not Beverly. Heather was a complete SNOT in not allowing Beverly to say anything or the continual interruptions. I'll bet the judges noticed that.

      1. re: LindaWhit

        Yeah, I think it's really clear that Heather is bringing ugly to just about every interaction. I was pulling for her to leave.

        1. re: mcf

          I'm glad Beverly and Heather weren't eliminated because I'm one of the few people who actually do like Beverly. If there was an option to send Heather home alone, then I'm all for it. We can only hope she goes home next week!

          1. re: Leepa

            And honestly, what kind of self-sabotaging person bullies and belittles her team mate during the cooking? It looked like Heather was trying to sabotage herself as well as Beverly.

              1. re: kubasd23

                Not kamikaze -- she doesn't do Asian.

      2. re: kubasd23

        Yea too bad it was a team elimination... Heather and Chris J are ready to go home.

        Chris J assured Grayson that he's "done this 100 times" when she was totally against the idea. If she had got sent home for that, it would have been awful.

        Heather has been a total bitch (not just this episode)

        I'm sad Nyesha got sent home, she really seemed like one of the top contenders. I was thinking Paul, Ty-Lor, and Nyesha as the top 3.

      3. Ouch. I stayed out of the Heather/Bev sub thread this past week, not convinced that Heather was a bully or a bitch. But wow, did she ever just come across horribly.

        Hoping Grayson doesn't go home for Chris Moto's sweet potatoes.

        12 Replies
        1. re: debbiel

          People can differ on whether Heather is a bully/bitch or not, but I don't think there's any question that the way she behaved at judges' table was just plain stupid. Did she not realize when she threw Bev under the bus that she was throwing herself under the bus?

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Did she not realize when she threw Bev under the bus that she was throwing herself under the bus?
            ***
            I'm guessing she didn't, or she hates Bev so much she's willing to cut off the nose to spite the face. After this episode, I'm on board with Heather being a bitch at least. I'm not sure on the bully part.

            1. re: Worldwide Diner

              Apparently Heather is completely unclear on the concept of a team challenge. First, she said she had no input in the dish, which was clearly not true. But I started to understand what she meant when she said she didn't want to be judged on a dish where she didn't have complete control of every single element. Apparently, for Heather, it's complete control or nothing. Too bad that wasn't the challenge.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                I think Heather was simply griping about team challenges in general. I don't think Nyesha would've disagreed.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  "...she said she didn't want to be judged on a dish where she didn't have complete control of every single element. Apparently, for Heather, it's complete control or nothing. "
                  -----------
                  Yes. I thought that was a most revealing comment from her and appeared to be an essential point about her apparent character. Not only does she seem to be a bully and a bitch - she is a control freak, can operate properly only when she is the sole dictator/despot of all she sees around her and apparently goes a little berserk when she can't achieve that. That might sound like many chefs in commercial kitchens but somehow the situation here seems more objectionable?

                  1. re: huiray

                    It's objectionable because the whole point of the challenge is to work as a team. And the other person has as much at stake, so basically it's selfish. She also said that she was just going to concentrate on making her food -- again, missing the whole point. When you go on Top Chef, you have to accept that team challenges are going to be part of the deal!

                    1. re: huiray

                      To me, the reason it seemed more objectionable, was because she crossed the line into lying. She wouldn't adjust any of the flavors and pretty much dictated to Beverly how things were going to be, and then she lied at the judges' table, saying that she had no say in how things were done. You know the judges are going to check out her story and figure out that she lies to shift blame.

                      1. re: AsperGirl

                        I don't think she was lying if lying is defined as intentionally saying something you know to be false. As a complete control freak (which she seems to be), she probably viewed having to "compromise" to some of Bev's desires as having no say. Delusional, sure, but not necessarily lying.

                        As for the judges checking out her story, that doesn't happen, generally speaking. It only happens in very egregious cases (like maybe the pee puree case).

                        1. re: LurkerDan

                          You're right, there's a distinction between delusional and lying. I googled that pea puree thing, thanks for pointing it out!

                  2. re: Worldwide Diner

                    That's exactly it. I hope we don't have much more Heather to watch this season, since she's clearly got more hate than brains.

                  3. re: Ruth Lafler

                    "Did she not realize when she threw Bev under the bus that she was throwing herself under the bus?" - for me, heather at that point knew there was a pretty good chance they were going home, and she wanted to make sure she got her say in, and let everyone know SHE thought it was Beverly's fault.

                    She's a bitch alright. We all know there's a lot of editing on the show, but it seems pretty clear that she controlled that dish and beverly every step of the way. it would have been worth it for me to see Beverly go home to have Heather go. I was sorry to see Nyesha and Dakota go.

                    By the way, Linda - just a nitpick - i think Bev said she was "de-veining" the shrimp, not divvying.

                    1. re: mariacarmen

                      Thanks mc - I rewound that part several times, and couldn't figure it out. "divvying" was the only thing I could come up with. I'll ask the Mods to fix for us. :-)

                      And yes - Heather was totally contradictory in what she said to Beverly (this *isn't* going to be an all Asian dish and the onions were her rustic style and "we'll just have to compromise!") and what she said to the judges. She was the one and only person who was running the show on that dish - so she pretty much lied to the judges at JT saying she had had no say in the dish.

                      I dislike her even more now. And I wouldn't be surprised if more people didn't feel the same way after last night's episode.

                  1. Irony: Heather complaining that Bev isn't a good teammate!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      Regardless of Bev being a good teammate or not, she was really slow. If Heather is to be believed, she had to help on the shrimp on the last challenge at the request of Bev's teammates. Which really does mean Bev is so self absorbed that she's not a good teammate.

                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                        Well, yeah. The fact that Heather really is a miserable bitch doesn't make Beverly any less self absorbed, as we've seen in incidents not involving Heather.

                      2. re: Ruth Lafler

                        and Heather complaining that Beverly asked too many questions and lacked confidence, when (to me) it was clear that Beverly was trying to defer to Heather just to get along.

                        All that bitchiness was painful to watch.

                      3. So what did we learn tonight?

                        Chris Jones is an idiot. (Already thought so after the cigars; tonight solidified my view.)
                        Heather really is exactly what most of us thought she was.
                        Beverly... hm. Yeah, she may be getting bullied, but she's got plenty of her own issues.

                        ... And finally, the producers control who goes home, not the judges. I think it should have been Heather and Beverly, whose plate got the least praise. But no, instead it was the dish that everyone agreed was delicious except for the somewhat undercooked meat. Yeah, it was a meat challenge, but still, it made me wonder what the decision making process really looked like.

                        88 Replies
                        1. re: davis_sq_pro

                          Well, I didn't learn that the producers not the judges decide. We don't know who got the least praise; we know whose dish had the least praise in the edited footage we saw. We do know, I think, that one dish in particular did a very poor job of cooking the game...in the game challenge. The elimination didn't seem a stretch to me at all.

                          1. re: debbiel

                            Under/overcooking your protein is a cardinal sin on top chef... especially when its a protein challenge

                            1. re: Firenzilla

                              Yet last week, when Ty Lor screwed up the protein (and the reason for the dinner), he did not go home. The judges are inconsistent.

                              1. re: Chatsworth

                                You mean when Ty Lor AND a bunch of other people messed up the steak, and Whitney served raw potatoes? Yeah, that was a baffling elimination.

                                1. re: debbiel

                                  But Ty-Lor was responsible. By your argument, Chris should have been sent home for his sweet potatoes.

                                  1. re: Chatsworth

                                    No. That does not follow from my example. For many reasons. One being that the sweet potatoes were not raw. Also, why was Ty Lor solely responsible? I don't see that at all.

                                    1. re: debbiel

                                      I agree. Wasn't it Whitney who freaked out about the steaks and put them in the oven too early? Tylor couldn't have had any control over that since he was still outside at the grills.

                                      Edit: Not Whitney, but the girl with the short blond hair whose name I cannot recall. : )

                                      1. re: Leepa

                                        Lindsay. But tylor took the fall.

                                        1. re: bobbert

                                          Thanks. At least he didn't go home over it. And made a great comeback, too!

                                2. re: Chatsworth

                                  He screwed up the protein (or rather took the fall for that) but "screwed up" in that case meant not all of them were cooked to a perfect medium rare. Screwed up did not mean he served them raw. And in any case, Whitney's simple potatoes were raw, whereas nothing in this week's group was that egregious.

                                  1. re: LurkerDan

                                    Edible vs inedible trumps every time.

                                    1. re: LurkerDan

                                      They may have ended up a perfect medium rare if the ladies had not decided to re-warm them too early.

                                      1. re: babette feasts

                                        Some of them did. They were all over the map in terms of doneness.

                                        1. re: mcf

                                          Which makes you wonder why they couldn't find a dozen that were done medium rare for the judges. What were the expediters doing?

                                            1. re: chowser

                                              I wonder, in the past I have seen challenges where they clearly knew which dishes were going to the judges (like during restaurant wars), but perhaps for these, they didn't know?

                                      2. re: Chatsworth

                                        Yknow, that inconsistency had been bothering me too. If that was the steak challenge, and Ty Lor messed up, by the logic in Ep 7 he should have gone home. I get that other people besides Ty Lor also worked on the steaks, but if he was the main person on them...

                                        1. re: stgrove

                                          But they weren't the worst dish. And they weren't all bad. And he did not have sole responsibility (or appear to be the one who made the fateful decision, tho we don't know what the judges knew). Generally it seems the person sent home is the person who screws up the most. Whitney in the steak episode for raw potatoes. Dakota this episode for near raw venison. Nyesha because of a cruddy double elimination. How is this inconsistent?

                                          1. re: stgrove

                                            The posts above yours would appear to address your issue successfully.

                                            1. re: stgrove

                                              Funny in that he took responsibility for the steaks but in reality, he did not screw the dish up. Heather was quick to take "responsibility" for expediting when she was talking with Tom behind the scenes but when it was the expediting that essentially f***ed up the steaks, where was she? Now I remember... "anyone want to go for a drive in my new car?!" that I won by using someone else's recipe. To be fair, Lindsay was the one who essentially "fired" the steaks and the other chefs - especially the 6 whose dishes were already done, did absolutely nothing to help. 13 chefs and they couldn't find 6 med. rare to serve the judges? The screw up was in expediting, not what Ty-Lor did. And as others have said, inedible trumps anything else and the potatoes were inedible.

                                              1. re: bobbert

                                                I wonder if Lindsay ever took any responsibility for the over steaks in footage that we did not see?

                                                1. re: bobbert

                                                  actually the footage shows both ed and chris jones helping lindsay finishing the steaks in the oven. *way* too many people had their hands on the steaks, it's no wonder there were wild inconsistencies in doneness/temp. also with the full-size sheet pans in a wind oven, the steaks will be unevenly done and there is less control over the result. not only will the thinner steaks cook more quickly, but the steaks on the edges of the sheet pans, close to the fans, will also get done faster-- so there will be steaks of varying doneness on the same sheet pan. astoundingly stupid and wasteful decision, understandable in a rookie (as *individual* steaks, on broiler plates, are often finished this way), but not in an exec at a steak house... but it explains why some steaks were fine and others were ruined. the steaks were at least edible, while the gratin was not. blue-rare/raw venison would also fall under the inedible category for the judges.

                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                    Agreed that it was a strange way to cook the steaks. I think 2 good broiler cooks using all those grills could have banged out those steaks just as Tom said they should have done. Also agree that way too many people had their hands in it - the one scene where there were 3 (4?) standing over a tray of steaks saying "...this one is perfect". Any good cook who has worked a grill station should be able to, by touch alone, be able to pick out 6 med. rare steaks.

                                                    My latest theory. Maybe the judges insisted that the steaks for their table be chosen by someone at random - that's the only reasonable excuse I can think of for not at least having those done right. That would also be a way for them to insure that the chefs did not JUST try to make 6 med rare steaks, but at least try to make all 200 correctly.

                                                    1. re: bobbert

                                                      ah yes, iirc that was paul judging the doneness of the steaks. so we have 3/3 of the second course chefs on finishing the steaks for the 3rd course as well...

                                              2. re: Chatsworth

                                                But the thing with overcooked meat is that it is still safe to eat while uncooked meat is safe. I think if Ty Lor had served raw beef, he would have gone home. they are are hard on both under and overcooking but usually much harder on under cooked.

                                          2. re: davis_sq_pro

                                            Come on - the producers do NOT decide who goes home. It's been said countless times. Even by Tom. Yes, he's an executive producer, but he won't allow his integrity to be thrown to the side just for ratings. He'd leave the show first.

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              Have you seen the disclaimer at the end of the show? Fact is, I don't know what happens behind the scenes, but I can read that text and I can certainly put together numerous situations over the course of the seasons where seemingly odd choices have been made. Anyway, doesn't matter. It's entertainment, nothing more.

                                              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                Yes, the disclaimer has been pointed out many many times as well in previous seasons. Yet again, I'm going to believe Tom Colicchio that the judges make the decision. He's not going to put his reputation on the line amongst his fellow chefs in the industry.

                                                The ONLY time the producers had a say is during the Marcel head-shaving incident in TC2 - Tom wanted to send them all home and declare Marcel the winner, but the producers stepped in and said it would drastically shorten the season - which is why only one was booted from the show.

                                                1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                  Every single reality judging show on tv has this disclaimer.

                                                  1. re: Manassas64

                                                    Indeed. And I'd bet that every single reality TV show is controlled to some degree by the producers. This isn't about fair; it's about ratings and advertising revenue. At least, so says my extremely cynical mind. Again, I have no clue what goes on behind the scenes -- this is only my opinion.

                                                    1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                      Tom Colicchio has a clue and he's been very candid about it.

                                                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                        Well, yes, it's about money. That doesn't mean Colicchio chooses to stay on the show if his authority as judge gets usurped. Having the disclaimer is not the same as acting on it. And I'm still unclear as to why this elimination would make you so certain that producers have a hand in it. They served blue venison!!! Surely you can see how one might get eliminated for that, yes? (And I lean toward the extremely cynical myself)

                                                        1. re: debbiel

                                                          Very over or very undercooked next to raw protein gets eliminated pretty much without fail, it's the main part of the dish, and the whole challenge was *about* the game meat.

                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                            Added to which, in this case, it WAS the challenge.

                                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                                    Given the drama they provide -- evidenced by this thread -- there's no way the producers are letting Bev and/or Heather go home, at least until one of them poisons someone. It's the same reason they let pompous idiots like Marcel and Stephen stick around until almost the end in their respective seasons, despite serving completely odious food.

                                                    1. re: acgold7

                                                      Exactly!

                                                      I knew neither of them were going to go home. That would have been too easy. Better to let them both stick around and see what other fireworks fly. Hey, it's a mainstay of reality TV, and TC is no exception to the rule.

                                                      1. re: acgold7

                                                        I'm going to have to agree with others on this thread and say that the only producer that has a final say on who stays and who goes is Tom Colicchio. I don't even think the behind the scenes producers are suggesting who stays and who goes. I don't think he would stand for it.

                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                          Agreed. He may put up with the idiocy of challenges like the progressive dinner party for folks with...questionable food priorities (did anyone else notice his eye roll response that episode when one of the party goers mentioned liking something because it was colorful...or something like that?), but I can't imagine he'd put up with being told who to send home.

                                                          And again, in this challenge, why would one question that it was the judges' decision? The game was horribly cooked! They didn't need the Heather/Bev drama as a reason to keep them around--those two may have served uninspired food, but they cooked it.

                                                        2. re: acgold7

                                                          ::::Sigh:::: Read John E's comment to your supposition that the producers have any say in who goes home.

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            Every season, Linda, every season. Sigh.

                                                            1. re: Mushroom

                                                              We're lucky if it's only once a season!

                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                              Everyone's entitled to his/her opinion, but with all due respect, John has no experience in this. Obviously I could be wrong but my experience says I'm not.

                                                              And Tom's a "Producer" the way Ted Danson is a "Producer" on all his shows. It's an ego-boosting title, nothing more, sometimes used to justify paying someone more when they demand it or else they'll walk. Larry Hagman was an "Executive Producer" on Dallas at the end and he used to cackle gleefully about this all the time, about how the title was just a way to pay him an extra $35K per week for doing no work at all. He had no influence on how the show was run, and I'm betting neither does Colicchio -- despite his insistence to the contrary. I'm sure when he walks into the room, the producers say, "sure, Tom, whatever you say, you're the boss" and then the moment he leaves they do what they want. He's a meat puppet designed to give the show the appearance of credibility, nothing more.

                                                              But if it makes you enjoy the show more to believe that it's a pure meritocracy, then more power to you. But all the weary **sigh**s of exasperation are unnecessary.

                                                              1. re: acgold7

                                                                You clearly haven't been watching this show very long. Over the seasons there have been many, many contestants who would have been interesting, who stirred the pot both literally and figuratively, who have been sent home early.

                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                  I've seen every episode, and just because something doesn't happen every single time doesn't mean it doesn't happen at all.

                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                    +1 Ruth

                                                                    Sorry, late to the party!

                                                                    I was surprised to see over 600 comments! wow!

                                                                  2. re: acgold7

                                                                    Just so it's clear, you are calling Tom a liar.

                                                                    Whether he is or not, I don't know. Just want to be clear that is what you're saying, since you don't come out directly and say it.

                                                                    FWIW, most of us have come to the conclusion that this show at least is meritocracy not because it makes us enjoy it more. We have come to that conclusion after watching the show for a long period of time, reading the judges' blogs, and seeing time after time chefs get sent home when keeping them around would have provided better, more entertaining, TV. You may scoff at our experience, but I (and others, apparently) are not convinced your bold allegations of bald-faced lying, based on your supposed "insider" knowledge, provides a more accurate picture. And THAT is why you see the weary sighs of exasperation.

                                                                    1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                      No, I'm calling Tom an "actor." Actors give interviews all the time in which they say this is the best movie they've ever worked on and it's completely obvious it isn't. And he may in fact really believe he runs the show -- he wouldn't be the first hired hand to get a swelled head and think he's God.

                                                                      It's totally fine with me whether you believe me or not. I'm just trying to provide a little perspective and I'm far from alone. Others have postulated exactly this dynamic within the show and I'm just saying it isn't so crazy.

                                                                      But as with all the opinions on these boards, you are perfectly free to agree or disagree as you wish. It doesn't make me feel good if you agree with me nor bad if you don't. I'm perfectly fine with holding an unpopular opinion.

                                                                      1. re: acgold7

                                                                        There's no way we can guarantee that none of that goes on since we are not in the room, but I think the appeal of this show to the food community, and in that I will include working chefs and lay cooks at home, is the appearance that it is a meritocracy. I don't think you get the support of the many guest judges and guest restaurantuers from around the country if it came out that the best food didn't always win or that the worst food didn't always get sent home. I know that many of them may just want the exposure as it's good for business and I can only speak for myself, but the minute I learn that's not the case I will lose interest in the show. If I want faked up drama I can watch the Real Housewives.

                                                                        I'm not saying you're wrong or wrong to have that opinion. I just don't think that faking it is good business for this show so it's less likely to be true.

                                                                        jb

                                                                    2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                      i agree with Ruth and disagree w AC, who claimed that tom c. is an *actor,* not a chef. there is a very big diff between folks who are on television because they are at the top of their industry, and folks on survivor or real housewives or celebrity drug house or whatever, where people are trying to leverage their personalities into fame and a paycheck. we've only reprised this conversation a zillion fucking times... the judges are actually judging a real cooking contest and not trying to market products. the contestants are trying to gain some traction, sure, but it's based on skill, not popularity, notoriety, looks or drama.

                                                                      1. re: acgold7

                                                                        Interesting. Wonder what Tom C. would say to you calling him a meat puppet and nothing more.

                                                                        But if you want to believe that Tom's lying, and he's totally willing to shoot his reputation in the foot in front of his peers in the industry, please - feel free to do so. Also, all of the guest judges - they're totally willing to throw all credibility about their reputation out the window as well, just for the sake of a television show? Riiiggghhht.

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          Why does it matter what Tom would say? No one here seems to care what the other participants on the show think of the comments about them.

                                                                          But if Tom's in complete creative control, as many have postulated, then it's in his best interest to see that the show does well and the ratings stay up and to that end, to amp up the stakes as much as possible. He's just being a good team player and if his is the Lion's share of the vote, no other "deception" is necessary on the part of the other judges. But I'm guessing he's more like Obi-Wan: "You don't need to see his identification... These aren't the droids you're looking for... He can go about his business. .." and that's all it takes.

                                                                          People are taking this far too seriously and personally. Next thing you know everyone will be claiming the Super Bowl is a mere athletic competition and that every play isn't planned and rehearsed.

                                                                          This is a *produced* TV show, folks. The *Producers* *produce* everything you see. The Executive Producer in charge of the show is called the "show-runner" and he/she is responsible to no one but the Network. And if the show fails he/she is out of a job.

                                                                          I've been the "Production Executive" on a few docu-style "Reality" shows and I can tell you from experience that very little of it is unplanned and unscripted. Noting happens randomly. Just read the interviews from some ex-"Survivor" competitors (and other shows as well) for others who say the same thing. Of course, maybe *they're* lying...

                                                                          But whatever. Everyone can disagree. I'm glad to read others' opinions on this but I'm not going to keep going around in circles on this.

                                                                          1. re: acgold7

                                                                            You seem to be pretty skilled at twisting what people are saying. Who on earth on this thread, or other TC threads, has suggested the shows aren't produced?! Hell, 1/4 of the posts on some threads have "Based on what they shows us", "the elves want us to see..." types of disclaimers before an opinion is stated. No one has suggested these shows aren't produced.

                                                                            Who has suggested that Tom has complete creative control? I think people are suggesting that the judges decide who goes home, despite the legal disclaimer that allows for other scenarios.

                                                                            And your super bowl analogy makes absolutely no sense to me.

                                                                            1. re: debbiel

                                                                              < your super bowl analogy makes absolutely no sense to me.>>

                                                                              I think it was tongue-in-cheek. That kind of remark is very hard to make work in this format.

                                                                            2. re: acgold7

                                                                              "But whatever."

                                                                              Nice Marcel comment. As debbiel said, no one has said the shows aren't produced. Nor has *anyone* said that Tom C. has complete control. Plain and simple - the judges have control of who goes home. Not the producers. Yet again - reputations are on the line, and I can't believe ANY of the chefs who are judges or guest judges would sully their reputation in the industry for a TV show.

                                                                              So yes, I and practically everyone else will continue to disagree, despite how you choose to twist what others are saying.

                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                This has become a pretty personal and nasty conversation.

                                                                                My own professional experience tends to agree with AG's. "Reality" shows demonstrate very little reality. They really are mostly scripted - not that there aren't surprises, but most of those "surprises" are prompted and/or encouraged by the producers.

                                                                                As for any of the chef/competitors and the chef/judges not wanting to sully their reputations, they view this much more as an opportunity to promote themselves and their restaurants and sign pretty tight contracts giving full artistic license to the networks and/or the production company. They say and do whatever they say and do and they get what they get.

                                                                                TC tends to be less brutal than a lot of other reality shows (Big Brother, Survivor, the Bachelor), but the control is ultimately in the hands of the producers, not the judges who are ultimately employees.

                                                                                Collichio may have some say. He may even have a lot of say, but if something is going to make "good television" (i.e. provide long conversations like these and good ratings), they will make the final edit.

                                                                                1. re: chicgail

                                                                                  Yes, it has gotten pretty nasty. And I'm fully aware that reality shows aren't real. I think everyone is aware of that, and that editing allows for a LOT of non-linear time line occurrences to be shown. I have family in the film business so I'm fully aware how things happen. However, until we actually speak to someone who works on the show and can give insider knowledge, Tom Colicchio's statements that the judges make the decision about who goes home is the only truth we have. It's been said many times that there have been MANY cheftestants who have been told to PPYKAG who would have provided better drama than those who stayed. So until it's proven otherwise by showing a contract that says the producers choose who stays for "good television", Colicchio's the man.

                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                    Hopefully you've had the last word.

                                                                                    1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                      We agree -- it's time for everyone to let this sub-thread go.

                                                                              2. re: acgold7

                                                                                <"Next thing you know everyone will be claiming the Super Bowl is a mere athletic competition and that every play isn't planned and rehearsed.">

                                                                                You mean the outcome is scripted as well? As in professional wrestling? Ooh, those tricky, tricky producers.

                                                                    3. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                      It wasn't just undercooked. It was RAWWWWW! Where's Gordo when you need them. This wouldn't have been a tough decision in Hell's Kitchen. Freaking donkeys!!!

                                                                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                        "And finally, the producers control who goes home, not the judges. I think it should have been Heather and Beverly, whose plate got the least praise."
                                                                        __________
                                                                        I can see how you would think that the wrong pair got sent home. I might even agree. But the decision to send a team home for undercooked meat is very much in keeping with the style of judging that has always dominated Top Chef. Colicchio in particular seems to put most of the weight of his judgement on how well the 'centerpiece' of the plate was cooked. And it seems to me that Colicchio's logic seems to carry more of the judging decisions than not (I suspect the other judges sort of bend to his authority).

                                                                        Agree or disagree, how well you cook the protein seems to matter more than the other parts of the dish on Top Chef. And Dakota's venison was the most egregiously flawed of the proteins on display. Likewise, as soon as they said that Chris' elk was well cooked, I knew that team wasn't going home. Considering how much praise Nyesha got for the gratin and various garnishes, I thought it was possible that the judges would change their MO a bit and send home a better-cooked piece of meat. But I can't say I'm surprised at the outcome.

                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                          Agreed. Whenever you hear words or phrases like "inedible, raw, over cooked, dry", etc. someone is usually going home. Raw trumps messy. Inedible trumps raw, etc. It is a shame that Nyesha had to go and aside for the obvious Heather throwing away any pretense that she is not a bully (which we will probably rightly write about several hundred times this week), I think Moto Chris might have shown that he's more show over substance. He's dodged a couple of bullets so far. He's going to run out of luck real soon.

                                                                          1. re: bobbert

                                                                            The weird thing about Moto Chris is he doesn't seem bad when he's cooking straight forward food. He got the hard part (the elk) more or less right. And he obviously has some technical skill, though he uses it completely the wrong way. If somehow he actually got it through his head that visual gimmickry is a bad thing - that dishes should be built from the flavor up, rather than trying to figure out what flavors work into whatever too-clever-by-half idea he's conceived for the dish - I think he could be very competitive this season.

                                                                            But so far he's seemed very resistant to learning that lesson.

                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                              Exactly. He did appear very humbled. Hopefully he takes the lesson to heart.

                                                                              1. re: bobbert

                                                                                I hope so too. I sort of like the guy.

                                                                                But I wouldn't bet on it.

                                                                              2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                It's the Moto thing that it seems he has totally bought into.

                                                                          2. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                            When the other judge started to comment on the fact that the 'pressure was clearly starting to get to some of the contestants', or some such, Tom almost cut him off, stating emphatically that it was about the dishes they cooked that week, not personalities or previous history. So, while I was sorry to see Nyesha go, the outcome was consistent with the judging standards. It was a game challenge. And I did appreciate Nyesha's willingness to take responsibility for not checking on the cooking of the venison earlier.

                                                                            OTOH, I did not appreciate Grayson's interrupting Chris to say the dish came out 'exactly as we planned it', as he started to explain (and take responsibility for) screwing up the sweet potato.I appreciate her motive, but it was an untrue statement and she knew it was an untrue statement. I might have kicked him or tried to step on his toe, or interrupted him to say, "We hope you enjoy your dish" or some such, but all she accomplished was showing the judges that she was willing to lie under pressure..

                                                                            and, I also must say that even though I don't think the producers chose who got to stay, I bet they were cheering at the outcome. I thought Heather's behavior was more than a bit scary but also entertaining in the way a horror movie can be fun to watch...

                                                                            One final thought: with the possible exception of one or two of the quickfire dishes (and I was sort of happy to see foam make an appearance, actually, and I think that would have been my favorite of the quickfire dishes) I thought overall the cooking just didn't reach the levels of creativity and expertise we've seen from some of the top contestants in previous seasons.

                                                                            1. re: susancinsf

                                                                              "When the other judge started to comment on the fact that the 'pressure was clearly starting to get to some of the contestants', or some such, Tom almost cut him off...."

                                                                              Wasn't that other judge Padma?

                                                                                1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                  I am talking about at Judge's table, and there is a third male judge, whose name I am afraid I don't know. I thought he was the one who made the comment, not Padma. But if I am wrong, obviously yes, my statement should have read she, since Padma is clearly female. :-)

                                                                                2. re: susancinsf

                                                                                  Excellent point in regard to Grayson.

                                                                                  1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                    Agree with the level of creativity with this group as compared to previous seasons. They are almost *all* playing it safe. I wouldn't be surprised to see Tom get pissed and call everyone out about it. He's done that once before telling a previous season's group to step up their game.

                                                                                    1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                      I was annoyed that Chris was telling them it wasn't what they had planned. It's like in theatre, you never let the audience know that you missed a line. You just keep going. That kind of honesty is very much appreciated at Judges Table. Good idea, wrong time.

                                                                                      I like Grasyon, but what did she do on that dish. Chris cooked the meat and screwed up the sweet potato. What else was there?

                                                                                      jb

                                                                                      1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                        Heather as a horror movie - I like it!

                                                                                        1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                          I think Grayson's interpretation was that while the sweet potato 'fence' or 'chain' or whatever he was trying to make didn't pan out, the were able to accomplish the same goal using the fries - to add visual height to the dish.

                                                                                          I didn't mind her cutting him off - he was likely feeling guilty about screwing up his part of the dish, but she obviously realized that it would be better not to draw attention to something that the judges might not even notice. It's a rule that anyone who has regularly spoken or performed in public knows - if you make a mistake, just keep on going like it was what you meant to do. Most of the time you are the only one that knows something went wrong. Be confident in what you've done and the audience will likely never be the wiser.

                                                                                          1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                                                                            the judges had *already* noticed: they specifically asked about the potatoes.

                                                                                            1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                                                                              Does anyone have any idea *what* he was trying to accomplish with his sweet potato chain? I can't picture what he was attempting.

                                                                                              1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                I think he was trying to create a "corral" around the meat.

                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                    yeah, that must be what he was *trying* for. It would have been pretty cool if he'd succeeded! Too bad....

                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                      I'm sorry, but that's dumb. It adds nothing to the dish.

                                                                                                      1. re: babette feasts

                                                                                                        Flavors look good. "corral" looks dumb. Why bother?

                                                                                                        1. re: babette feasts

                                                                                                          Yeah, I don't think the judges would've been very impressed by that. Form over substance.

                                                                                                        2. re: huiray

                                                                                                          That's some of the worst food photography I have ever seen.

                                                                                                  2. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                    < And finally, the producers control who goes home, not the judges. I think it should have been Heather and Beverly, whose plate got the least praise. But no, instead it was the dish that everyone agreed was delicious except for the somewhat undercooked meat.>

                                                                                                    Based on what we heard of Judges' Table, I also thought it would be Heather & Beverly going home when I heard Tom say the dish was uncohesive. BUT, if you've watched more than just this season of TC, you already know that undercooked/uncooked meat pretty much always trumps any other errors and sends the perpetrator home.

                                                                                                  3. A few random thoughts:

                                                                                                    - Sarah says early in the episode something to the effect of "I learned to cook risotto in Italy, and I am not changing the way I cook it to please someone else's palate." Granted, she must not have known the judge's preference beforehand, but this is the wrong lesson to take away from a competition. Your food is only as successful as the degree to which it pleases the judges. It's admirable to want to expose people to the way you've grown to love a food. But once it's clear that's not happening, you give the people what they ask for, especially when they're the ones judging the food. In fact, why are people still making risotto in Top Chef? Doesn't everyone know that's a no-win proposition by now?

                                                                                                    - Considering the difficulties people seem to be having getting the doneness of meats right, why isn't anyone cooking sous vide this season? It's seemed to go over well for the last 5 seasons or so. Are these chefs unfamiliar with the technique (I find that hard to believe)? Have the time constraints of the competition so far led people to pick other methods (possibly)? Did the producers make a conscious effort to keep immersion circulators and chamber vacs out of the kitchens (quite possible)?

                                                                                                    - Moto Chris is doing a pretty good job of showing how NOT to use innovative techniques. Go for flavor, go for texture - there are a lot of ways to play around with innovative techniques in service of flavor and texture. Don't go for visual gimmickry. Even worse, don't plan a whole dish around visual gimmickry. I thought he might have learned his lesson after the cigar incident. If he doesn't have that epiphany soon, he'll go home for it. Dude's like Marcel, except more likeable and more homely.

                                                                                                    - I feel a little bad for Nyesha. Yeah, she could've checked the venison. But it sounded like she did pretty good work today, and she still went home. On top of that, she didn't turn on her partner, even though she clearly got kinda screwed. I'd like to see her do well in Last Chance Kitchen. Is this the first time someone has gotten sent home almost entirely for a teammate's contribution? I can't remember.

                                                                                                    - Well, I guess there's still the elephant in the room. I generally took Beverly's side last week, though I could see Heather's point about how some of Beverly's tendencies could be justifiably annoying... but this week I really felt awful for her. It was hard to watch. Does anyone still feel like defending Heather's behavior?

                                                                                                    118 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                      I agree that it was hard to watch how Heather was treating her. And I'm REALLY glad that the editors showed the reaction from other cheftestants to how Heather spoke to Beverly. I think Ty-Lor was the only person who seemed to stick up for Heather. Everyone else's grimaces or comments about her seem to indicate Heather is playing Mean Girl and no one is liking it.

                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                        And it wasn't really a strong endorsement from Ty-Lor. I'm not at all comfortable with tossing out the racist term that's happening in other parts of this thread, but I'm getting pretty comfortable with calling her a bitch. I could even handle the ugliness during the cooking, trying to stand up for what she wanted the dish to be. We've seen chefs get nailed for not standing up for what they wanted the dish to be. But...back during the waiting, when she got all over Grayson "I know what the process is" and some other comments, I was done with her. Sure, she was stressed, thinking she was going home. But other people were in the same position.

                                                                                                        And that was a very poorly worded paragraph. I need my coffee.

                                                                                                      2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                        "In fact, why are people still making risotto in Top Chef? Doesn't everyone know that's a no-win proposition by now?"

                                                                                                        And with scallops, no less! :-)

                                                                                                        1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                          Now the question is.... is this Top Scallop? Top Risotto?

                                                                                                          1. re: kubasd23

                                                                                                            Scallops does seem to be all over the place - yet again. Even in the LCK.

                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                              Not surprising. Scallops cook quickly (important in a quickfire!) , are easy to plate, and are a fairly neutral protein that can be adapted to almost any flavor palette.

                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                And I do love me some scallops... and risotto. I would hate to judge bad ones

                                                                                                          2. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                            When she said she was doing that, we all moaned, "No! Not scallops AND risotto!"

                                                                                                          3. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                            It *is* odd that no one has used a sous vide bath yet. For that matter, I don't recall one being shown anywhere in the kitchens that I can recall.

                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                              Now that you guys mention it..... Especially when temperature is so critical, and when the amount of protein needed was so large last week, why the heck HAVEN'T they done sous vide?? weird...

                                                                                                              1. re: kubasd23

                                                                                                                Well, the Top Chef kitchen *is* at Le Cordon Bleu - would that be a standard piece of equipment in a teaching school? Or would they stick with the true fundamentals of cooking in their classes and leave sous vide for them to learn after the students graduate?

                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                  huh.... good point. I would think that would be one of the techniques they would teach there, but seeing as how I was *supposed* to attend LCB but was unable due to health reasons..... I don't know. I get what you're saying though, since it is not a fundamental technique, they might leave it up to them to explore on their own or with future employment. I'd be curious to know, though

                                                                                                                  1. re: kubasd23

                                                                                                                    Asked my wife about this after reading the comment this morning. She stated they do not have Sous Vide machines, etc at LCB, at least in Paris.

                                                                                                                    1. re: samlev

                                                                                                                      Thank you for the info samlev :) good to know

                                                                                                                      1. re: samlev

                                                                                                                        Good to know, samlev. So it looks like they're working with what they have at Le Cordon Bleu vs. having built a set on a sound stage with all the bells and whistles when it comes to kitchen equipment.

                                                                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                      I believe in the previous seasons where sous vide was used, one (or more) of the cheftestants brought the apparatus with them.

                                                                                                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                        Agree, early on I think Blais was allowed to bring in a portable unit. But in Season 7 and the All-Stars, I'm pretty sure an immersion circulator was made available for the cheftestants. Again, probably because it was a kitchen built specifically for them in a studio/warehouse.

                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                          I seem to remember (perhaps back when LeeAnn was on staff and writing blogs) that TC accumulates new equipment each season. The season 1 kitchen was fairly rudimentary compared to later seasons. They don't seem to have much of a home base in Texas, though, given the road trip theme.

                                                                                                                            1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                              see, i thought i remembered they got equipment like immersion circulators, and blast chillers... specifically at some point for the top chef kitchen. from what i understand the kitchen was set up by people who were more design team than pro chef background at first, and the contestants really couldn't do a lot of techniques (basic to complicated), basic problems w not enough fridge space etc, very limited ingredient pantry...until the outfit hired former pro chefs like lee anne to make it better/ more chef-friendly. i agree that when you are cooking in a restaurant kitchen you go w what equipment they have, and wouldn't think ics would be an obvious choice for the lonesome dove, etc.

                                                                                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                            In season 3 (Hung) and 4 (Blais) that seemed to be the case. I got the impression from seasons 6, 7, and 8 that the equipment was readily available in the kitchens. Thus you had people who with little experience using the technique (Kevin Gillespie, Alex from season 7) experimenting with it.

                                                                                                                            In either case, and regardless of whether the culinary school kitchen comes with one (seriously, could American culinary school be more of a rip-off at this point?), the contestants would have the equipment to cook sous vide if the producers wanted them to have it.

                                                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                            For this challenge they weren't cooking at Le Cordon Bleu, they were cooking at the Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, and according to what they said the kitchen was very tiny and very hot. I'm guessing they don't have no truck with no fancy French cookin' techniques!

                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                              True that. I had noted that in my OP and completely forgot with my comment to samlev.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                i was going to point that out - they've been cooking "on location" for nearly every EC. you can't assume you'll have access to an immersion circulator in someone's home kitchen, or at a rodeo, or at the Cattle Baron's Ball, or at a quinceanera, or at Tim Love's BBQ restaurant...

                                                                                                                            2. re: kubasd23

                                                                                                                              Tom Colicchio is not a big fan of sous vide. Remember in TC5 when Carla did it in the finale? I also remember him saying that if you sous vide a piece of meat to medium rare and then brown it, it is going to go over, meaning it will be overcooked (referring to steak, I'm sure it works fine for a braise).

                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                That's not true. He's given a lot of praise to food cooked by Blais, Hung, the brothers Voltaggio - all of whom used the technique extensively.

                                                                                                                                Carla just didn't know how to use sous vide well (Casey, who advised her, probably didn't either)

                                                                                                                                BTW, there are ways to prevent a steak from going over med rare during browning. Carla just didn't rest the meat long enough before browning. There was also the issue that for Carla's particular dish (and especially for her style of cooking), sous vide probably wasn't necessary or particularly called for in the first place.

                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                  Re-read my post. I was referring to sous vide steak, not all sous vide preparations. Tom did say that if you sous vide a steak to medium rare and then brown it, it is going to be over. That's a fact.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                    Didn't realize you were just talking about steak (no offense, but it wasn't clear from your post). Sorry bout that. That said, I still am not so sure I agree. He disliked Carla's dish, but I can't recall hims saying anything to the effect of disliking sous vide steak as a whole. And he has definitely rewarded sous vide preparations of other tender cuts of red meat with EC wins.

                                                                                                                                    "Tom did say that if you sous vide a steak to medium rare and then brown it, it is going to be over. That's a fact."
                                                                                                                                    ___________
                                                                                                                                    Yeah, he did say that. But he either over-simplified (quite likely, given time constraints and editing)... or was just mistaken. Because it's not always true. A cook more experienced with sous vide than Carla would know how to adjust.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                      I don't know if a sous vide machine has been available anyway so the point might be moot.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                        True. That was my initial supposition.

                                                                                                                          3. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                            RE:Heather/Beverly I don't have too much experience with the show, and maybe it was the editing, but I'm not thinking bitch or bully as much as racist. Hate Asian much? I was expecting her to say "Oriental". Tell me I'm wrong.

                                                                                                                            1. re: thirtyeyes

                                                                                                                              Seems like she certainly gave the editors plenty of material. Did you notice them show Paul and Ed's reactions to her fussing about "too Asian"?

                                                                                                                              1. re: thirtyeyes

                                                                                                                                Hateful, whichever way. She definitely seems to think farm to table is FAR superior to Asian food. Isn't farm to table more about NOT cooking and letting the food speak for itself?

                                                                                                                                1. re: thirtyeyes

                                                                                                                                  Now that you mention it I think you have a point - a racist bully bitch. I hope there's a challenge where you have to use "Asian" ingredients like soy sauce and bok choy. Her head would explode. I'm curious as to who is going to put her in her place - someone has to. Of the women, Grayson seems most likely although Heather shot her down pretty quick last night during the voting scene. Moto Chris is bumming too hard and busy licking his wounds. Pretty Chris -doesn't seem to be his nature. Ty-Lor would be a likely candidate but he's good friends with her - maybe they're close enough that he'll approach it from the friend angle - could be interesting. To me, that leaves Ed who is obviously losing patience with Heather - I vote for him to blow up in Heather's face. There is an outside chance that Beverly will do it. I think that underneath the meek exterior lies one bad-ass gangster. It's all in the tattoos.o

                                                                                                                                  1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                    I liked Grayson a lot more after last night. I don't know that Heather is racist as much as she thinks so highly of herself that everything is inferior to what she does so that would include anything Asian. She's mean girl as an adult.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                      I agree - it could be Grayson and/or Ed. They seemed the most ticked off last night at Heather. It won't be Ty-Lor (bobbert, you had noted Ed is Heather's friend, but I think you meant Ty-Lor).

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                        Thanks. Managed to edit just before the clock ran out.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                        Yeah, I don't think we have any information *yet* to indicate racism, just all around ugliness. Doesn't mean race isn't an issue, just that it's not demonstrated.

                                                                                                                                      3. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                        Where's Dave, "I'm not your bitch, bitch" when you need him?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                          Oh, can you just IMAGINE Dave Martin going up against Heather? I'd pay to see that. ;-)

                                                                                                                                        2. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                          LOL, someone remarked last week about Bev going all Marcel on Heather.

                                                                                                                                        3. re: thirtyeyes

                                                                                                                                          Oh yeah, Paul. Where was he hiding out during this episode. I can't remember anything he did, only that he was cool and collective while Sarah was having a sausage melt down. I must say, Ty-lor and Chris Crary's QF dishes looked totally Top Chef worthy to me. Cross your fingers and hope.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: thirtyeyes

                                                                                                                                            I'm about ready to jump aboard with that but, I would need further evidence exhibited against Paul and or Ed.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: thirtyeyes

                                                                                                                                                Really? You're throwing out the race card? I don't like Bev either - there's plenty not to like other than her race. And the only person that Heather does seem to hate on is Bev. If Heather's racist, she'd be all over Paul and Ed too. As for bully, how does Heather bully Bev? I don't see Heather going out of her way to antagonize Bev. Heather didn't jump for joy when she was paired with Bev. If Heather was a bully, she would've relished her opportunity to intimiate Bev. Instead, Heather really wanted nothing to do with Bev. Heather seems to think little of Bev and probably dislikes Bev as well. But the rest of the stuff is probably libelous.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                  I don't agree with the race card, but how anyone could watch that episode and not come away with the impression that Heather tried to bully Bev is beyond me.

                                                                                                                                                  I'm always aware that this is edited and we see what the producers want us to see, but Heather showed enough that she made the producers job easy.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                                                    I don't really see it as bullying. I see her as bitchy, certainly, but it didn't come across as bullying to me. I suppose, though, that none of us has really defined what we mean by bullying.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                      Merriam Webster defintion:
                                                                                                                                                      1: to treat abusively
                                                                                                                                                      2: to affect by means of force or coercion
                                                                                                                                                      ***
                                                                                                                                                      I don't think calling out Bev is abusive. I'm not sure how Heather otherwise abused Bev. There's no way you can compare someone disliking you to being in an abusive relationship. There certainly hasn't been any force or coercion.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                        What Heather did last night wasn't "calling out" because Bev did nothing wrong. It was abusive, hostile, coercive, bossy in an attempt to make Bev go along with what Heather wanted to do.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                          It was certainly bitchy and hostile, but I would not call it abusive, coercive, or threatening (my word, not yours, I realize). I think we've seen similar interactions every season, a loud mouth chef paired with a quiet mouth chef. I'm just not seeing the intimidation factor here.
                                                                                                                                                          I think to a certain extent we no longer see differences between being mean and bullying, between being mean/loud mouth/bitchy and being abusive. There are differences, hard to define, but there are differences.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                            I'm not quite seeing it as abusive on Heather's part, although I understand that by Beverly relating that she had been in an abusive relationship in the past, it could be construed that way by some.

                                                                                                                                                            But I *do* disagree with you, debbiel, that it's not intimidation. In my mind, it most certainly is intimidation. When Heather tells (not asks - TELLS) Beverly she's not doing all Asian and the onions are staying is as that's part of her "rustic style" - that's intimidation by sheer force of her personality. There seemed to be no compromise, despite Heather saying there had to be.

                                                                                                                                                            And I agree with mcf that it was hostile, coercive, and bossy. Heather attempts to control all situations around her by sheer force.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                              although i agree that heather is mean is nasty to beverly, i think that editing is still very much in play and it is obvious the elves are playing up this interpersonal conflict for all its worth. in particular the 'compromise" soundbite which iirc was spliced over cooking action footage, may have been lifted from a much more equitable conversation or from the planning discussion before they decided on what to ultimately do. we have no idea what came after the "we will have to compromise" statement-- but it could have gone along with bev responding-- "okay, you do your onions and the other garnish, and i want to do a five spice rub on the duck and be the one to cook the protein." which seems to have happened, and the judges disliked the disjointed nature of the plate and dinged the team for it. the mish-mash may not have worked, but the plate does seem to represent both of them.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                Fair enough. The voiceovers tend to get us viewers in trouble, don't they? :-)

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                  i don't like heather's personality either, just to be clear. i just don't think she deserves everything she's getting accused of. bev's best revenge would be to outlast her in the competition or win the ec where heather is sent home. i'm glad they both stayed for that reason, but i honestly hope they both go soon so we can just get back to the dang cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                    Agreed, soupkitten, except for, although the level of cooking this season so far doesn't make getting back to the dang cooking particularly appealing either.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                                      i like paul quite a bit and i'm interested to see more from ty and grayson... but yeah it's kind of a yawner of a season.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                        Those are probably the three I'm most interested in seeing more from, too. I have some hope that there's some great cooking in there somewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                          Out of those that are left? Paul, Ed, Ty-Lor and Grayson are the ones I'm interested in seeing how they do. Oh, and Sarah Grueneberg. I'm waiting for her to hit something out of the park, based on her pedigree.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, those are the last best hopes, but I really want to see Nyesha back... she's my favorite personality, anyway. And the word "delicious" seems to be used for her part of dishes. Even the losing one.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                              I do agree with your choice of the above 5 and somehow wish I liked Lindsay more (maybe she's just too low key for me). I like Paul's cooking and his quiet, clear-headed nature, and think Ty-Lor shone this week after a bad few weeks when I thought he'd be gone. Ed, Grayson and Sarah have all cooked interesting dishes and behaved like grown-ups, which is always a pleasure. I must say I'll miss Dakota and Nyesha, both of whom I liked

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                              Paul will probably make some pretty good food this season. I think Edward has some interesting skills as well. Biggest loser Chris seems to have an interesting style, but it seems at times like a watered down version of previous contestants (

                                                                                                                                                                              I keep wishing that Moto Chris will have an epiphany and use his skills and creativity for good instead of evil, but being objective, the jury is still out as to whether he is talented in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                                              The other contestants, even those who are pretty skilled cooks (which is most of em, to be honest) just aren't up for pushing the envelope or being distinctive enough to make for good TV food. I guess I haven't gotten much of a feel for Ty or Grayson's cooking yet.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you. I tried typing something similar but gave up.

                                                                                                                                                                        I also think that had Bev been paired with anyone else we still would've see that chef's dish without any Bev influence. She lacks conviction when stating her thoughts. She might be able to convince a mosquito to bite her.

                                                                                                                                                                        Other thoughts:
                                                                                                                                                                        Heather is a freight train heading for a wall.

                                                                                                                                                                        I'm sad to see the word 'bitch' thrown around so liberally. Sure I swear but I keep the pejoratives to a minimum.

                                                                                                                                                                        Edited to add - ignore that last sentence. I have called TV folks lots of not so nice things.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                                      The problem I see with this is that, when it comes to intimidation, size does matter. Heather is twice the size of Beverly. When someone that much bigger than you acts in a hostile or “bitchy” manner, it can be very intimidating. It would be difficult to visualize Beverly being able to intimidate Heather or Chuy intimidate Keith no matter their attitudes. Feeling intimidated is a natural response when dealing with a much larger person who is behaving like Heather. Keith could be that way (and probably was in his youth) but he’s a very disarming, gentle guy. Heather is probably used to throwing her weight around (pun intended) and getting her way. She probably sees it as just being assertive (and we know what kind of label “assertive” women get tagged with); possibly not realizing how intimidating her size might be to a rather petite woman. This will be my last attempt at amateur psychoanalysis.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                        I think it can be intimidating if the person is physically towering over you but just saying mean things? It doesn't matter one bit to me how large the person is. A big person doesn't scare me more than a smaller one if they're using words. You forget that to a small person EVERYONE is bigger and you get used to it. A person who is 150 lbs is big, a person who is 250 lbs is big. You're all big.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                          Can be, isn't always. I'm just saying that this does not mean Bev feels intimidated. She would perhaps only feel intimidated if she actually thought there was a chance of Heather hurting her. Without sensing that threat, some people will not feel intimidated. There are a lot of assumptions on this thread that actually paint Bev as meek, afraid, easily intimidated, etc. But we don't know that. Perhaps she's just got her own style of quietly ignoring Heather, while she preps her duck with five-spice rub.

                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                      Really? I find it definitely abusive and bullying on the part of Heather T. Abuse, Force or Coercion does NOT have to be physical, which is what might be your frame of reference. It can most certainly be mental or psychological.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                        I agree that abuse, and coercion can be psychological. Not sure force is anything but physical. Anyway, how did you perceive that Heather abused Bev or coerced Bev?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                          Heather is a stupid cow who is the essense of the "mean girl" who preys on someone she perceives as weak.

                                                                                                                                                                          It has been going on all season and was on vivid display last night.

                                                                                                                                                                          She is a decidedly unlikable contestant.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                            Heather treats Bev with a demeaning, derisive and dismissive attitude. That would certainly be intimidating to me. Especially in a contest setting where you are sticking yourself out there to be judged and rejected.

                                                                                                                                                                            What ever label you want to apply to Heather's actions, bullying or abusive or coercive, it's just plain ugly and has no place in a professional setting. That kind of nasty sniping is for the internets.

                                                                                                                                                                            jb

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                                                              "That kind of nasty sniping is for the internets." ha! :)

                                                                                                                                                                              I agree that Heather is an unlikeable contestant. I think only Bev can say whether or not Heather's actions/words are intimidating. I typically don't find people who are demeaning, derisive, and dismissive to be intimidating, at least not at this point in my life. I do find them to be wholly unlikeable and pathetic. And like so many others, I hope Heather is gone soon.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                              Through her belittling & steamrolling of BK's suggestions, her dismissal of and contemptuous waving-aside of BK's abilities and contributions [whatever they may be], her fixation on imposing her ideas and decisions on something that BK and her should be collaborating on, etc etc. It seems reminiscent of "Battered Husband" syndrome, with BK as the husband and NT as the wife, without any physical blows being laid on said husband.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                "Battered Husband" syndrome. This is what bothers me about this discussion. This assumption or speculation or implication that this is an abusive relationship. We see snippets of what happens in that kitchen and house. And like most of you, I sure don't think Heather is a nice person. But battered spouse syndrome, i.e., the effects of an abusive relationship, that's a serious deal. A very serious deal. And I'm sure as hell not comfortable pinning that term on something I see in a television show. Known to many people who were really there, been there myself, hate it being tossed around so casually. (and not claiming I have more cred on this than anyone else here--odds are I'm not the only one on this thread who has been there, done that--but this is why the discussion has so disturbed me).

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                  Through her belittling & steamrolling of BK's suggestions, her dismissal of and contemptuous waving-aside of BK's abilities and contributions [whatever they may be], her fixation on imposing her ideas and decisions on something that BK and her should be collaborating on, etc etc.
                                                                                                                                                                                  ***
                                                                                                                                                                                  But the facts don't fit your assertion. They served a dish that was described as uncohesive. So Bev had her input, and Heather did as well. They simply didn't collaborate well but Heather didn't steamroll Bev. If she did, then the dish would've reflected everything that Heather wanted. BTW, here's another instance where Bev tried to do work in Asian ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                    What's wrong with her wanting to use Asian ingredients? Considering Heather also insisted on doing her American farm-to-table thing. It seems both try to stick to their styles, but everyone's focusing on Beverly.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Side note: It's interesting that Bev wasn't the one who cried this time. It was what's-her-face, and she cried during the competition (unlike Bev).

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                                                                      What's wrong with her wanting to use Asian ingredients?
                                                                                                                                                                                      ***
                                                                                                                                                                                      Nothing other than it shows once again that all she does is Asian. Let's get to the merits though. One of the complaints about the duck is that the fat wasn't rendered off. I believe it was Bev who cooked those ducks. I think Heather is a bitch but there's truth in her complaints. And I don't know why some people are defending Bev as if she's just being maligned through no fault of her own.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                        I thought it was Heather who cooked the ducks which made her complaints about Beverly even more irritating and ironic.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree, thought she was the one who wanted to get them out too soon (or something that would lead to the duck complaint).

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                          Actually, as Heather says on the show, Beverly does "Asian fusion" -- which is a lot more complex and risky than traditional Asian.

                                                                                                                                                                                          It's Heather who is one-note and limited. Her website says she cooks "American Comfort Food". Needless to say, American food isn't the most challenging cuisine, much less the subset of American food that is "comfort food".

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AsperGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                            Actually, as Heather says on the show, Beverly does "Asian fusion" -- which is a lot more complex and risky than traditional Asian.
                                                                                                                                                                                            ***
                                                                                                                                                                                            Bullshit. Every jackass can do Asian fusion - few people can cook truly good authentic Asian food.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                            What I'm saying is that all Heather wants to do is cook rustic American, yet you don't seem to take issue with that.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't think Bev is perfect - she was definitely rude in the meat counter incident, for one - but I don't see why her style of cooking is any less valid than the others'.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                          OK, let's say instead that HT tried to steamroll BK. Happier?

                                                                                                                                                                                          I stand by what I say. It was to BK's credit that she managed to get some of herself onto the plate, but that does not negate what I said about how HT treated BK.

                                                                                                                                                                                          ETA: As for the "all she does is Asian" meme, I think what she (BK) does is more Asian fusion than simply "Asian". Didn't she also do something completely non-Asian-influenced in the cook-off in the chili episode? I might also murmur that, in general, calling a dish "Asian" simply because it has an "Asian" ingredient in it - regardless of anything else it may have or how it was cooked - is inaccurate and somewhat offensive. In general. Yes, in BK's case her "mix" is much more "Asian"-slanted - but one needs to be careful in how one labels stuff with "Asian" ingredients in it in a broader sense.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Note that I don't particularly like Beverly Kim either, based on what we see on the show. This subthread is, however, about how Heather Terhune is apparently behaving.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                            Beverly works in a pan-Asian restaurant so cooking Asian would be her forte. If I recall, Ilan, who worked in a Spanish restaurant, brought mostly Spanish-style cooking to his season and won it. Some of us were less than impressed with Ilan for a variety of reasons, but cooking to one's strength is not a bad thing to do.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                              I agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Ditto about Ilan Hall - yet no one particularly called out Ilan for "always cooking Spanish", not that I can remember anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, actually, I think a lot of people, including a competitor or two, called him out for that. Not defending Heather here at all, but I'm not sure Ilan is a good line of argument to use for this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Cook what you want to cook, either get sent home or not. It's a stupid thing for competitors to be complaining about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I do recall some comments about that, but not this kind of vitriol.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                    @debbieI & mcf:
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ah, OK thanks. (about comments about Ilan Hall)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I thought about going back to some season 2 clips to see just how much heat he took for always cooking Spanish. Then I thought, "ew. I don't want to watch Ilan"
                                                                                                                                                                                                      :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ditto about Ilan Hall - yet no one particularly called out Ilan for "always cooking Spanish", not that I can remember anyway.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    ***
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ilan is usually mentioned as the least deserving winner because all he does is Spanish. He was called out plenty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                      He was also called out for essentially reproducing the menu from the restaurant where he worked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, everyone cooks to their strengths or they go home. Hung did quite a bit of Asian influences. Carla was always down-homey (until she tried sous vide and went packing). Did Fabio cook anything not Italian? (oh yeah, a burger - how'd that work out?). Some of the chefs are more well rounded and like cream, they tend to float to the top. This season is shaping up to be no different - they're playing to their strengths. Beverly's is Pan-Asian. Heather's is bitchy farm-to-table. Moto Chris is bizarre over taste. At some point they have to cook outside of their comfort zone and that's when they get weeded out. The ones who can do more than one thing well become Top Chef... usually.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                Nyesha was the one I was considering since day one as a potential favorite, and I'm so sorry she went out... I liked Dakota, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                  My opinion of Dakota was on the rise before last night but it jumped dramatically at JT when she tried to jump in and help Bev with the constant bitching from Shrek aka Heather.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Also, did anyone else notice Tom ask Bev a direct question last night at JT, Bev start to answer and then get run over by Heather?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: samlev

                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I noted that in my OP that Heather interrupted Beverly (and not the first time!). I do wish Beverly had interrupted HER and said "Chef asked ME the question - may I please answer it myself?"

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                      Sorry Linda, missed that in my quick skim of your very succinct write up of the show last night.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Personally, I wish that the judges had broken the "rules" as they have several times before and sent Dakota (who I like but she royal screwed up the venison) and Heather home. Unfortunately, Heather would have learned nothing and we would have to continue to see her on LCK.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                  "In fact, why are people still making risotto in Top Chef? Doesn't everyone know that's a no-win proposition by now?"
                                                                                                                                                                                  __________

                                                                                                                                                                                  Antonia broke that curse last season on the huddled masses episode where she won the EC with a dish that included risotto.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                    they could not be cooked sous vide because there are not immersion circulators and chamber vacs in the kitchen they are cooking in. I seriously doubt tim love cooks meat sous vide.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Sarah has a really good point if you look at who her mentor is and where she learned to cook risotto. In real in Italy risotto is cook much firmer than a south chef like Tim Love has probably even eaten on regular basis. And a risotto method and style is like BBQ style, you don't mess with the tradition you have been taught.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't know Tim Love particularly, but I'll take your word for it. My point was more so that we're 7 episodes in and I can't recall seeing sous vide being used once this season. Striking, considering that it had been generally used more and more each season until this one.

                                                                                                                                                                                      And anyway, as I said elsewhere in this thread, if the producers wanted the contestants to have access to sous vide equipment, they would have it. It's more or less portable. I'm wondering if the producers decided that their average audience member would rather see techniques that are more familiar to em. Or else realized that having everything cooked sous vide makes it harder to sell Top Chef cookbooks.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree that they aren't probably using it because they don't have access to one or the producers aren't bringing them. Maybe because it has been used so much and they feel like it's a quick fix method to getting meat cooked evenly and to the right temp. But I think it also does fit in with the myth of Texas cooking that they are trying to push almost every episode.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                          Good point about it not quite fitting in with the Texas theme. They seem like they may be pushing the regional cooking harder and more consistently this season than they have in seasons past.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                            Besides Eater there's a Houston Paper (Blog?) doing really funny recaps - lots of Texas stuff in there, including how ridiculously overboard they're going with all the Texas stereotypes. The first one had a picture of Dolly Parton at the top, the most recent article had a drawing of Padma in buckskin as Pocahantas (in reference to the "fake Indian" choker she was wearing). If no one else knows what I'm talking about, I'll try to find it again. I originally got the site from here, I think. The author's a true Texan (I think she said 5th generation or something like that) and her Texas pride is wounded!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks, Linda. I was just starting my morning off with reading what had been posted overnight.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                              They are likely pushing the Texas theme harder because the Magical Elves received $400,000 from the Texas department of tourism to do Top Chef in Texas.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Is there anything about this show that isn't a product placement? Toyota. GE. Hefty. The entire state of Texas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Is Toyota a sponsor this season? I hadn't noticed. ;) (Really, the toyota stuff makes the gladware stuff from seasons past look subtle)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                                                                    It makes for a quality drinking game, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                    no, not really. I think next season each chef should wear an apron with a sponsor's logo and instead of using their name, they can just be chef hefty or chef GE

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ooooh! LIke Nascar. They can thank their sponsors when they get to judges table. LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                      "I'd like to thank La Choy, Chef Boyardee and Campbells for their support."

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                      um...it does cost money to produce television shows.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, and I have no problem with sponsorship. I just hate the stiltedness of the "ads" on Top Chef. "Wow! Look how big the cargo space is! We could fit the entire calf in there!...." Or something like that. It just comes off as silly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think Biggest Loser is much worse. The gum spots are comedy gold.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Isn't that what the actual commercials are for? Do we really need product placement as well?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bravo makes money on the commercials. The Magical Elves make money on the product placement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Actually, there's product placement on just about every TV show and movie, just not as overt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Since VCRs and now TiVo and DVRs, people fast forward through commercials. In order to get people to watch the commercial, they do more overt product placement now. As soon as I see the box of oatmeal on the counter or the Jennie-0 ground turkey on Biggest Loser, I FF.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I also wonder if that wasn't a lead question, as in the interviewer asked if Tony were wrong in how he makes risotto, since he mentored her, and she replied she wasn't going to change how she made it. The statement that stood alone sounded a little odd by itself to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I'm mulling over the thought of not setting foot in Sable Kitchen & Bar again until there is a change in a certain staff position.

                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                  That was my very thought. It's a place for a great drink and what I had considered pretty good bar food, but I don't want to go there again - ever - now It's ironic that a Top Chef appearance can really promote a restaurant, but in this case Heather has totally had the opposite effect for me with Sable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Exactly, see my comment about her damaging her brand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I wonder if she had *any* forethought as to how her actions on the show would draw (or not) customers into her restaurant. I doubt it. She just seems like one of those chefs who say "it's my way or the highway - I don't care what the customers think!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. chris jones: you are a first-class doofus. what the hell, dude. why are you still here?
                                                                                                                                                                                                    other chris: you are creepy, and i never thought i'd say this but. . . i'd eat your foam. ew.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    grayson: you *would* be from wisconsin, crazy drunk girl! i like you.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    dakota: wearing nail polish in the kitchen, really? you are dead to me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    ty: nearly redeemed yourself with the thousand-watt smile after winning the qf.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    bev: bring the tissues, she's got issues. hope she has a better day and doesn't have to share a bathroom with heather.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    heather: you half-shrek megabitch, you! ...still, that detail about you having to help bev w the shrimp was a juicy bit. wonder if you just shucked and deveined the last hundred or so, or whether you were the one to actually poach them "perfectly." shut up, though. really.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    they either picked chefs completely devoid of personality to appear as guest judges, or picked the 19 seconds of film where nobody was showing their personality in the least. oh wait, anita lo was permitted to speak half of a sentence after eating the squab, and one or two others may have grunted once or twice, or started to say something before the scene cut to the stew room. i wish they would have scorecards or something when they have good chefs tasting the food, but the editors axe the relevant content in favor of splicing snipe-y soundbites together for the sake of the interpersonal drama between the contestants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Best description of Heather, ever!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                          LOL! You crack me up, soupkitten! Perfect comments about all!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Stop Shrek!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            That is too priceless. One interesting point is she doesn't seem to be aware that she is tarnishing her reputaion and possible ruining her career with this kind of behavior. It speaks to one huge ego that can do no wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            jb

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. "...and she tells Beverly that she doesn't want to make sure the dish isn't too Asian, as that's not her style."
                                                                                                                                                                                                            --------
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hm, I think you mean "...that she wants to make sure the dish isn't too Asian..."

                                                                                                                                                                                                            psst...Anita Lo's restaurant is Annisa, not Anissa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            48 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                              After yesterday's episode I felt compelled to look up her restaurant. Surprisingly, she's got some Asian menu items! Crispy lentil cake with coconut curry broth. South indian vegetable curry. Soy orange glazed quail with bok choy and crispy rice cake. Ahi tuna with soba noodles, asian slaw, peanut dressing, crispy wontons. Crisp pork belly banh mi.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Which further raises the question about whether she had a problem with Asian food ... or Asian people. It doesn't prove anything, but it does point in some direction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I assume you are referring to the restaurant where Heather works, not Annisa?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yup -- I responded to the wrong post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Whoa. Very interesting, Miss Needle! I agree with chicgail, it does seem to point in a certain direction - and it's not the Asian food direction. Disappointing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Anyone who throws out the race card without proof is pretty despicable. And I've seen no proof that Heather is in any way a racist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The expression "throw out race card" is overwhelmingly used by Caucasians and implies that racism a) does not exist or b) is no longer a problem and c) is thus used as a tool or weapon by minorities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        While Heather may not have screamed "I hate Asians". Her constant riding of Beverly about cooking "Asian", using "Asian" ingredients, not wanting her own dish to be "Asian", hints at a strong undercurrent of racism. Just because she has not bullied Ed or Paul does not mean she is not racist. Bev is weak and bullies target the weak. Ed does not strike me as a person that Heather would mess with, nor Paul. It's interesting that Heather was quick to take Ed's recipe for cake, use it twice, without so much as acknowledgment to him. So much for wanting to produce "her own food".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As an aside, Asian cuisine is the only style of cooking that has been derided on TC. We have not had deprecation of chefs cooking all Italian, all French or all Latin. Angelo Sosa was deprecated for always cooking Asian. It's such a strange and hostile juxtaposition when it's only a problem to consistently cook with an Asian style.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Furthermore, even if Heather is not racist, she is abusive. Her hostile glares and eye-rolls at Bev are uncalled for, unprofessional and emotionally belligerent. Just because she doesn't walk up to Bev and cut her doesn't mean her words and body language is not abusive. Constantly interrupting another person, belittling their ideas, talking over them, condescending tones are all forms of emotional abuse. Or perhaps you believe that emotional abuse is a figment like racism.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          TC2, Ilan Hall was derided by his own cheftestants that he mostly cooked Spanish-centric dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Actually he was derided for his frequent use of saffron. Angelo and Bev are not being derided for using an ingredient, they are being derided for a panoply of wide-ranging flavors falling under the category of Asian.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              To be fair, he not only cooked a lot of Spanish style dishes; he lifted many of his dishes more specifically from Casa Mono, where he was a line cook. Also, I don't remember for certain, but did any of the contestants beside Marcel deride Ilan for only cooking Spanish? I mean, Marcel did have some fairly legitimate reasons to take pot shots at Ilan, but I'm not sure that anyone else really called him on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's what I was going to reply to Pookipichu - He pretty much cribbed the menu of the Spanish restaurant at which he had worked. Not all had saffron. As for whether others called him on it; can't recall. But I do recall there being comments here on CH about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  He was called out for his love of saffron. No one explicitly said, Ilan's always cooking Spanish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  More than that, what is unspoken is how strange it is to single out Asian cuisine when "Asian" occupies so many different styles, flavors and countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There has been NO analogous comment. Meaning no one has said, "He always cooks European".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chinese, Japanese are major developed cuisines, along with Thai, Indian. The flavors and cuisine of Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines have distinct elements and styles. Many of the spices and ingredients in Western cooking have Asian origins and have been co-opted. Tomatoes are not even indigenous to Europe but can you imagine Italian cuisine without tomatoes?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Frankly the good natured ribbing of Fabio (which I knew someone would mention) is not the same as saying someone is cooking too much "Asian".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Heather, whom I despise, seems to use the term "Asian" to describe any cooking that uses shoyu. It would seem that both her experience and palate are undereducated. While I cook primarily Japanese food in the Asian spectrum, one has only to look at China or India to figure out that different areas cook completely different flavors. These differences should be celebrated! I love eating foods from different areas of the same country. Even in Japan food from Hokkaido is so different from that of Kyoto/Kansai/Osaka/Tokyo (Honshu), Kyushu, or Okinawa. When you run into countries as vast as China or India, look out! You're in for quite a ride! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Top Chef finale (?) when they had to cook Singapore street food was, I think, quite an education for many - including the chefs. The TCM with that Chinese chef (I forget everyone's name after a season, Lee?) was tons of fun. He was so confident, and his flavors so pleasing to all the tasters, that I had to think "Those people need to come to Hawaii to taste the flavors of the Pacific Rim, including Asia and Polynesia." We cook that stuff at home, just not as well. Unfortunately, most people, especially those in middle America, don't have the money, inclination, or opportunity to travel to places in Asia where their palates can be educated and expanded. Look in any mainstream cookbook for Hawaiian dishes and it will include pineapple chunks (something we almost never use) and all Asian (usually called "Oriental") foods are predominated by "soy sauce."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I hope we're getting past that. Mexican food has gone beyond Taco Hell in most places. Now it's time for Asian and Pacific cookery to take a stand. People will be amazed at how delicious the world can be!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Susur Lee the name you're after? One of our favorite restaurants is Hakka style, a whole new experience for us and also the only place that will serve us food as spicy as they eat it, not having found an upper limit for us yet. My earlier point fits here; if I didn't live in metro NY or a similarly diverse area, I might never have found this food, which also led to a new bit of info about migration, local customs and the blending of traditions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That's the guy! He was amazing! I wish I could eat his food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I know, right? A lot of chefs seem awed by him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        in the social sciences, the western ethnocentrism that lumps together all the cultures east of the Suez is called "orientalism" (E.Said). undereducated as you put it, or on another level, a degree of self-awareness is requisite to understand the Other.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I know, the old "Orient" vs. "Occident" split. Self awareness is required to get over the self centeredness of those old schools of thought in social sciences. It hasn't been taught that way for decades, though. I think with Heather it is a lot more than a lack of formal education, it is more pure selfishness with probably a degree of racism thrown in. Perhaps her disdain is reserved for women and/or Koreans, thus letting the male Asian chefs off the hook or at least off her radar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Or, as I suspect, her disdain may come from dislike of a competitor in real life at home as well on TC. I think Heather may want to stir the whole drink or be the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In which case she should be resentful of Sarah Grueneberg too...? It could be said that HT's past experience is wider than that of SG ("Look at all those famous places I've (HT) worked at!!") - yet it is SG who is EC at a famous higher-ranked "stand-alone" restaurant, where the POTUS often dines when back in Chicago; while she (HT) only puts out bar food for a restaurant in a chain hotel, and one where the bar is the more noted part... ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                She may find it more tolerable to defer to someone who's not also a bar with food competitor mere blocks away. And who has higher prestige/training/status than HT does. Someone maybe worth knowing vs. someone who's competing on your turf and getting good press for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Kailua Girl - I was with you right up until . . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Unfortunately, most people, especially those in middle America, don't have the money, inclination, or opportunity to travel to places in Asia where their palates can be educated and expanded."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Especially those in middle america? seriously? putting out a thread about how horrible it is to over generalize a large geographic area and the diversity within and then including the same gross overgeneralization, just about a different area is something you should step back and think about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Said the poster from Ohio, who does travel, who has been to Asia, and Polynesia and who has the money and inclination and opportunity to have an educated and expanded palate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Let's not forget that Alinea and Next - two of the most innovative and progressive restaurant/food experiences one can have in the US (whether you like them or not is a different argument) are in Chicago - smack dab in the middle of this horrible uneducated, poor, untraveled place you call the midwest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: thimes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Would it be over generalizing to think only the folks IN middle America can afford to travel to places in Asia? Not only can't I seem to afford it, I also can't seem to take the time off.....I DO tell myself at least I don't have to fly East first ( I am in N. Cal), like I would if I was interested in going to Europe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: thimes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Still, it can be argued that Chicago is not entirely representative or typical of all of the Mid-West. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's for sure! Chicago has such a huge food scene, from neighborhood BBQ places to fine dining and reflecting the cuisines of the world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't think that "mid-west" is different from "east" or "west"; rather there are towns and regions where people *tend* to have grown up there, gone to local college, and stayed there as an adult. Often (not always) those people are more set in their ways than people who've moved around, lived cross-country, traveled out of country, etc., who are more open to new ideas. Heck in my suburban NY town there are parts of the town where kids are going to the same high school that their parents went to (with the same teachers :)), and other parts where many people lived 3,000 miles away before moving here (like me). For sure I developed my eclectic food interests in part from my lengthy stay in California.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Don't forget Malaysian, Singaporean & Nyonya cuisine as well. "Straits Chinese" cuisine. Indonesian and Malay cuisines are also not the same. Just additional stuff to think about. :-)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Then there's Persian, Afghani, Turkish, Mongolian, Siberian, Uzbek cuisines etc etc etc (and even Bukharan Jewish cuisine within Uzbek cuisine) under the umbrella of "Asian" cuisines. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As for Italian cuisine, the use of tomatoes does still define what is commonly regarded as "Italian" cooking in places like the USA in a broad sense - but even here that is changing. Let's remember that Northern Italian cuisine seldom uses tomatoes, if at all...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You remember saffron; I remember "Spanish food". And a few others do as well. We'll just have to agree to disagree. I'm not going back to look for various recaps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              debbieI and Worldwide Diner above claimed that lots of people specifically criticized Ilan Hall for cooking Spanish food... (and faulted me for not having the recollection that he was particularly called out for it).....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So, was he or was he not *particularly* (and repeatedly) called out for it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm not sure I "faulted" you for it; I disagreed with you. I'm not going to go back and look at episodes (as I said upfront...who wants to watch that season again); it's just my recollection.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "So, was he or was he not *particularly* (and repeatedly) called out for it?"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  _____________
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't remember super clearly. From what I remember, Marcel called him on it. The judges mentioned it, but seemed to decide it didn't matter. I don't remember the other contestants calling him on it. I do remember that Sam chose to work with Marcel in the finale because Ilan always cooks the same thing and he thought he might learn something working with Marcel. It didn't come off as much of a slam against Ilan though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm sure lots of people commenting online criticized Ilan for it during his season and afterward. I wasn't really commenting or reading back then.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tony Bourdain mentioned it in a column. It might have been his blog for bravo - sorry I don't remember. He said something to the effect of, "I don't mind a less talented but more savvy cook who knows his limitations winning Top Chef by reproducing dishes of the chef[s] he's worked for. That's the game." That was a very loose quote, but I think it got the gist right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I recall that he was repeatedly called out for defaulting to Spanish food, and the types of dishes he was already used to cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It seems like Fabio (was that his name? I'm tired...) was also called out for cooking Italian.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Racism remains a problem in this country, one we should be ashamed of. But that doesn't mean that Heather is a racist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Her actions and words don't necessarily make her a racist, nor do they help to prove otherwise. At best she is a bully and that's not something to aspire to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I guess I think her behavior and words stink badly enough without calling her a racist in the absence of evidence of that. She may or may not be, but deriding folks for cooking one particular style is a time honored diss, kind of like dissing Marcel for always using foams. Heather sucks, she's a low down, mean, rude, vicious, rotten bitch except for when she's faking sweetness with a big, phony smile for a judge (remember how gooey sweet she was when Tom approached her setting up plates?).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We have not had deprecation of chefs cooking all Italian, all French or all Latin.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  three words: Fabio and Italian.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  fellow chefs and viewers also harped on Brian Malarkey's and Jen Carroll's reliance on seafood...and of course there was Jamie Lauren and those darned scallops ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  and feel free to correct me if i'm wrong, but i honestly don't recall any of the chefs relying solely on Latin or French flavors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "As an aside, Asian cuisine is the only style of cooking that has been derided on TC. We have not had deprecation of chefs cooking all Italian, all French or all Latin. Angelo Sosa was deprecated for always cooking Asian. It's such a strange and hostile juxtaposition when it's only a problem to consistently cook with an Asian style."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ---------
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I tend to agree. I might soften your wording a bit (such as amending the "absoluteness" of the phrasing) but it has seemed that "Asian" cooking constantly gets dissed on TC over the many seasons - not by everyone there, of course, but frequently enough that it sticks in one's mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The lack of discernment between the many varied cuisines of Asia, and the unfortunate use of the term "Asian" as a catchall for broad swaths of the continent of Asia - depending on which part of the West you live in (USA vs UK, for example) always gets my goat too (but that is another subtopic that I have gone on about at length elsewhere).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I shall fall over in shock the day some folks on TC are openly faulted by someone for always cooking European, or for always cooking American!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Exactly, as I replied to a previous poster, in the minds of some people, Asia is one blob of sameness. People I come across in everyday life have little to no concept of regional differences in Chinese cuisine let alone understanding of Asian cuisine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Perhaps my post comes across a bit strident, but this double standard has irritated me for a while now and it reached a boiling point when I was reading this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      When someone is openly faulted for always cooking European, that this is Top Chef "Amerika", I will be mollified. Long live Freedom fries and Freedom kisses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe you've come across a lot of folks who are not fortunate enough to be well traveled, nor to live near very varied ethnic cuisines, or with limited experiences for other reasons. That doesn't mean they're racist or narrow minded necessarily, just not well versed in at least some cases.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ...and in the UK the chances are good that if someone says so-and-so is always cooking "Asian" it is meant as 'always cooking "Indian" food' - i.e. food from the Indian subcontinent. Disregarding all the regional differences there too, of course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In the US it is the opposite when someone says they are always cooking Asian it usually means any part other than food for the India subcontinent. But I agree with huiray and pookipichu, I hate how often they use Asian as if it one style of food or ingredients instead of a least dozen different cuisine with some many sub cuisines depending on what part of the country the cuisine comes from.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think there is also this idea on TC and with some food people that Asian food is easy to make will French and Italian take fine techinique but what that really show is how uneducated the judges and chefs are about authentic good food from different Asian countries and cultures.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And no I don't think it's fine to just say oh well they may not have travelled or been exposed to it. Lots of people in the US know what classic french Provincial or Napoli food is without going to the south of France or Naples so why then shouldn't they know the basic difference between different Asian cuisines and how they taste?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Intentions matter when considering attitudes vs. just not knowing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "In the US it is the opposite when someone says they are always cooking Asian it usually means any part other than food for the India subcontinent."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  --------
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hmm, I thought the frequent (mis)usage of "Asian" in the USA was as a term that referred primarily to East Asia - omitting Western, Central and Northern Asia as well, not just South Asia/the Indian subcontinent. Even SE Asia, which is distinct in its cuisines and cultures, is often an afterthought in the use of the term, and when queried one hears back something like "Oh, that's what I also include...".
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've always thought that it would be so much better, if one *had* to use a catchall term, to say "East Asian" or "SE Asian" or "E/SE Asian". Asia is such a big place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But otherwise, yes, I agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        that's really bizarre, particularly in light of her comment last night that her style is "rustic American farm to table." whatever. she sucks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Damn - looked it up online as well (Annisa) and I guess I glanced too quickly. And thanks for the other correction. Will ask the Mods for a fix. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4. Another interesting thing about Heather Terhune's apparent dislike for "Asian" cooking that is seen on the show as presented: the brief scenes shown of her rolling her eyes when Beverly described her dish (which used green tea) in the QF; *and* her look of disgust when Ed Lee described his QF dish (which used baby bok choy).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Funnily enough, there is nothing shown of her reaction to Ty-Lor Boring's dish ("Steamed Clams in Thai Style Fish Caramel Sauce") which was a riff on a Thai curry. Maybe she and Ty-Lor B. are such friends that she overlooks his "Asian cooking"? :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Did we see Paul Qui's QF dish being presented? ("Fried Chicken, Yellow Curry, Watermelon and Fish Sauce") Certainly I don't remember any reaction from her (Heather T's) to it being shown. Heh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I thought her reaction to Ed's dish was weird, too. I thought it was maybe because they both used mango.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          While we're enumerating Heather's bitchy moments, let's not forget her implying that the reason she was in the bottom was because the others saw her as a threat because she won the previous challenge, and the way she snapped at Grayson about "I understand the process."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ...then there was also her "Are you boys afraid of us?" sneer at the remaining male cheftestants on the balcony of the apartment after Chuy Valencia's elimination.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was only enumerating her bitchy moments in this episode! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But I don't think anyone has mentioned the non-apology in the stew room, where Heather said something like "Bev, I'm sorry if you feel hurt, but I was only telling the truth" (only she said it in a way that made it even more of a non-apology).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It was a worse non apology than that. I think she said "I'm sorry if you *think* I hurt your feelings..." or something more like that. Sorry my ass.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, that sounds right. Beverly only *thinks* her feelings were hurt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "While we're enumerating Heather's bitchy moments, let's not forget her implying that the reason she was in the bottom was because the others saw her as a threat because she won the previous challenge..."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Probably because that's what she would do when given to opportunity to send someone home who had placed first in a previous episode.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Leepa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And I don't think the other chefs are particularly intimidated by Heather winning a challenge WITH A CAKE.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yeah makes you wonder if it's her dislike for "asian" cooking or whether it's a dislike for Asians in general...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Heather is a bully/bitch with a loud mouth but not the skills to back it up Funny how she disliked Ed's dish but was eager enough to take his cake recipe. At the same time, I find Beverly equally annoying because she just sits there like a doormat and takes it. This isn't high school. If you can't even stand up for yourself and have to let another cheftestant fight your battles (I do applaud Grayson though for taking on Heather) then you have no business being on Top Chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I really felt bad for Nyesha - she got sent home for someone else's mistake! It's not fair to blame her for not checking on Dakota. They are all supposed to be experienced chefs and the challenge was a team/partner challenge, so why should Nyesha have to check up on Dakota as if Dakota was her sous chef? If anything it is even more Dakota's fault for not letting Nyesha know she needed help with the protein.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Beverly tried to stand up for herself over the shrimp at judges' table. But it wasn't her "battle" in the sense that there wasn't anything at stake. That's what's so bizarre -- there was no reason for Heather to go off on her at judges' table, since either neither of them were being eliminated or both of them were. Getting into a "she said-she said" argument with Heather wasn't going to benefit anyone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And I think that is why Tom sat up and took notice - he most definitely was surprised at Heather calling Beverly out for the PREVIOUS challenge's dish!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And this is why I think Heather is one of those "my way or the highway" people. It's all black and white with her - and SHE is always right. There is no compromise with her - even though that's what she told Beverly they would have to do with their shared dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4. Wow Linda, that's a lot of typing tonight! Drama takes up a lot of words...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Does anyone remember what Ty-Lor won with in the quickfire? I'm really starting to like that guy. Made-up name or not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                See my post above yours. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It was "Steamed Clams in Thai Style Fish Caramel Sauce". The photos of the dishes on this episode are up on the Bravo website.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tyler (can we just spell it that way from now on?) seems like a genuinely friendly and talented guy. Which makes me wonder how he can be friends with the beast... Is she just acting this way for the cameras? Perhaps in real life she's the sweetest person ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  On second thought... Not a chance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    She probably is OK to work for. In her kitchen, she's the boss and, in any kitchen, no one questions the executive chef. That's what she used to but this is a different animal where they're all equal and she can't cope with it in a mature manner. If Heather makes it to restaurant wars I got money says she is the exec in of one of the teams. She couldn't NOT be. Her ego wouldn't allow anything else. Any takers?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    One thing on Beverly. When she told Sarah it's OK to cry - NO, it isn't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Why isn't it okay to cry? Some people need to vent their emotion, somehow, after a stressful event. I see nothing wrong with it as long as it happens AFTER the cooking/service/whatever, so that it doesn't get in the way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There just seems to be too much of it this season. I don't recall this much crying in previous seasons. As Nyesha said " there's no crying in cooking". I will note that as much as Heather beats her up, Beverly has never cried in those instances. She seems to have put Heather in a nice place internally and really isn't wasting too much emotionally on her. Probably less than we are - good for her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As far as crying goes, I cry more when really angry than when sad. Or I guess I should say I'm less able to control my crying when mad. When really sad I can wait until I'm alone and then vent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Tyler (can we just spell it that way from now on?) "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Why? That's not how it's spelled. I wondered about the freindship too? She seems so unlikable and he seems down to earth and level headed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        jb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I'm really sad that Nyesha left because she'd done well in the rest of the challenge. I think she showed herself as a true professional w/out getting all Heather at her partner. I also felt bad for Grayson because of the sweet potatoes thing (not to Chris--cigar went wrong, sweet potato loops went wrong? Time to move on and just cook) and would have hated to see them go. I hated to see either of those teams go. But, while I really wanted to see Heather leave, I didn't want her to leave and blame Bev, and jealousy from the other chefs. as the only reason and be full of herself. I want to see her fail miserably in front of Tom and other judges she respects for food she thinks is good and then be sent packing and told she deserved it. Schadenfreude at its best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I need to go see how they managed LCK now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "I want to see her fail miserably in front of Tom and other judges she respects for food she thinks is good and then be sent packing and told she deserved it. Schadenfreude at its best."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        BINGO. And I'm truly hoping karma comes back and bites Heather in the ass. Big-time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Did you notice her reaction to being in the bottom of the quickfire. She clearly was incredulous that someone could not like HER dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I *know*. Her ego does remind of Marcel's. His response in the confessional to being in a bottom group was always something along the lines of "That judge just doesn't know good food / molecular gastronomy / their ass from a hole in the ground. Whatever." Funny Marcel - that judge is a Michelin-starred chef, and you are??? I get the same vibe from Heather. Yet again - she's right, everyone else is wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think you're putting words in Heather's mouth. I don't think Heather has criticized any of the judges (IIRC). It was Sarah who doesn't believe her risotto can suck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ummm...I was talking about Marcel. And yes, you're right - Sarah was in the bottom group. Didn't go back to look to see if what Ruth had noted was correct.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Both Sarah Grueneberg and Heather Terhune were in the bottom of the QF and what Ruth Lafler said IS correct. Tim Love DID call Heather T.'s attempt at a dish something like a special at a chain restaurant, as you correctly recapped in your OP.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ahh, thanks. Too tired at work to go hunting for what I thought I had remembered. I think WWD was perhaps referring to just the EC vs. the QF, which is why I responded the way I did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ...It's called Narcissism, and sadly it exists in the kitchen as well as elsewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yep! Schadenfreude is great and karma's a bitch. I can't wait to see Heather get her comeuppance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I remember that other hideous bitch from a few seasons back --Lisa was it? I can't remember her name, but she was profoundly unpleasant. She scowled and was just a miserable person who somehow managed to make it to the finals. Let's hope the same thing doesn't occur with Heather. But here's the thing I wonder: how does someone who is that unpleasant manage to work a fairly serious job in a fairly senior position?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "But here's the thing I wonder: how does someone who is that unpleasant manage to work a fairly serious job in a fairly senior position?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Heather clearly has talent. Furthermore, my guess is she works much better in a chain of command situation. She probably busted her butt when she was a kitchen peon (probably why Bev's slow shrimp prep pissed her off so much) and as she worked her way up the chain, she took direction from those above and directed those below. There is no chain here, and she's forced to work as equals with people she has no control over, and no boss she can complain to when they don't pull their weight (in her eyes). And as an obvious delusional control freak, she can't handle that at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Clearly Heather knows who she can get away with bullying and who she has to suck up to. I think she's probably a very good manipulator when it suits her purposes. Also, being in a senior position means others have to listen to her and do as she wishes/demands. On Top Chef she's amongst equals, at least in theory, and can't pull rank.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Lisa Fernandez. Who thinks she came in second to Stephanie Izard, when she was really third to Richard Blais, who was second.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        She thinks that because Richard said that he choked, unless of course the producers told him to say that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh...she was a scowler and on the unpleasant side but nothing compared to Heather.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I say throw 'em both in a cage and let them go at each other in a death match. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think viewers appreciate having a villain such as Marcel, Lisa, and to a lesser extent Mike Isabella. I don't the same vibe about Geather. As someone else noted she seems to be atracking a defenseless puppy and it is just uncomfortable to watch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Why does she think she was second? We know she came in third. Boy, she was an angry person.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, I recall interviews with her (I think maybe an audio one here on CHOW?) where she insisted that based on the dishes that were chosen to win each course, she came in second.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Even though Tom's blog specifically said that Blais came in second. She was an angry person. I just Googled her; can't find anything on her since her season (which I think was in 2008?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Damn, that was a lot to keep track of. I thought it was a crazy ass challenge with way too many things thrown into the mix. All the guest chefs (they love bringing back the Top Chef Masters don't they?), cooking in the little sweltering kitchen, and having to judge each others' dishes. And 30 min to both taste the tequila and cook the dish? I guess most of them knew which one they'd use in advance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Like everyone else, I now can't stand Heather and her giant flabby face (well the giant face hasn't been a favorite since day 1). She was abominable last nite and I disagree that Beverly wasn't standing up for herself. I think she was just trying to keep things on an even keel and make the dish work, knowing the big bully could go off on her at any moment. Heather's constant comments about not wanting to be too Asian have become ridiculous and/or racist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I really like Grayson now and wish she'd gotten into more with fat ass. I really thought there'd be a blowout with a few other chefs telling Heather to chill but it never materialized.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not sure why Dakota has those X's on her hand since she certainly seemed to enjoy her taste of tequila and made some mention as if she drinks regularly. I felt bad for her knowing she brought down Nyesha with her. Sorry that both of them left but am glad to see if Heather can possibly redeem herself. Or if I can hate her even more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      31 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was hoping for a Stew Room blowout as well, Joanie. Thought it might go further with Grayson (or even having Ed step into the fray) but I guess they're just waiting. Unless Heather goes home due to poor cooking, I can't see how a blowout *can't* happen sooner or later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ah, you also noticed what I thought were straight-edge X's. I haven't seen anyone with those on their hands since high school. And back then it was marker. Can't believe someone would get those permanently inked on. Really not a good look. Especially once you become mature enough to realize that a few drinks now and again won't kill you. Which apparently Dakota has realized. Odd...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wait, those X's are tattooed? I didn't know that, I assumed they were markers. Wow, that's dumb. "Straight edge til 21", right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Off topic (but slightly related to former TC bitches), I had lunch at Tiffani Faison's new BBQ restaurant in Boston yesterday and the pork belly sandwich was amazing. I realized after eating half at lunch and half for dinner that it was too rich and my heart felt like it was gonna break down, but damn that was tasty. And Michael Schlow was hanging out at the bar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hm, you didn't think they were tattooed? I assumed they had to be, since they're always there. What kind of idiot would draw X's on her hands each morning while preparing to go on a TV show..? (Perhaps I've just answered my own question!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for the tip on Sweet Cheeks. I'll hopefully get a chance to check it out soon. Well-made pork belly is definitely one of the best things in the world as far as I'm concerned. I'm going to one of Schlow's places tonight, Tico. Way too small a culinary world here in Boston sometimes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Perhaps I am woefully out of date with modern culture, but what do those X tats mean? And who has them? Everyone seems to have tats of one sort.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sweet cheeks seems a tad spendy, if youask me. And had lunch at Tico about an hour ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Any recommendations for Tico? (Just waiting for mods to sweep in and rip this over to the Boston board, but I'm a live-on-the-edge type!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The X tats (or marker lines) mean "straight edge." And it's not a new thing -- from the late '70s per Wikipedia, although I knew some self-describing straight edge kids when I was in high school in the early '90s. I was actually surprised to see that Dakota had them -- I thought the "movement" (if you could call it that) was completely dead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straight...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thank you. I am so out of touch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Once a nerd, always a nerd :/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And I stopped reading when they got to Ted Nugent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tacos. Spendy but good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Straight edge ? Hmmmmmm ... I guess going to high school in Iowa shields you from such things. Or did. TNX

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh straight edge is/was pretty much everywhere. Utah had a big scene (not surprisingly I guess), Boston, DC, Buffalo. I'll play you some sXe bands if you listen to my little radio show next Thurs., haha. Big in the 80's then late 90's, not so prevalent lately. This was a big one in the late 90's, you can add it to your phone!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.lyricstime.com/ten-yard-fi...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Back on topic, sXe is sure tough when you're a chef, both to cook the food and the lifestyle. I'm gonna have to research Dakota and her X's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          So, proving that I have too much spare time on my hands, I just looked at every image I could find of the X -- there's only one, on her left hand -- and it seems to be drawn exactly the same way every time. So I'm going with tat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          One humorous thing I found was a straight edge message board where they were talking about her. They were pissed to see her cooking with beer in one of the previous episodes :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Will try to check out your radio show next week!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            She also drank the tequila last night and made a comment or too that made it sound like it wasn't the first time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              On last night's episode, she was drinking something (in the stew room, maybe? or maybe just in the kitchen after they had served) that sure looked like a beer bottle, but not one I recognized.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, tattoos are "forever". I reckon there are many people who were straight edge once upon a time and are no longer.