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Top Chef Texas - Ep. #13 - 02/01/12 (Spoilers)

It's Pee Wee's Big Adventure! We'll see how much of an adventure this episode is, or if the bike's tires are completely flat, leaving us all stranded.

They're back at the TC house, Grayson is still feeling crappy for essentially being responsible for Chris Jones being gone. Edward hops out of bed and he's in his black jacket, a nice white shirt and shorts. ;-)

They arrive in the TC Kitchen - there are thousands of pancakes there! They think it's a kid or Mylie Cyrus or a child start...but no, here comes Pee Wee Herman on his bike!

So what do they have to do? They have 20 minutes to make creative pancakes - make the happy, fun, and delicious, per Pee Wee (now called PWH). The winner will get $5,000 ("That's a stack!", per Pee Wee!).

Grayson - Ricotta Buttermilk Pancake in the shape of Minnie Mouse with Peach Compote, Blackberry and Basil (The best pancake PWH has ever had)

Sarah - Confetti Pancakes with Blackberry Sauce, Cocoa Nibs & Vanilla Whipped Cream (Also the best pancake PWH has ever had)

Paul - Rolled Pancake with Berries, Black Pepper and Champagne Dipping Dots (Hmmm...it's the best pancake PWH has ever had)

Lindsay - Ricotta Pancake, Whipped Creme Fraiche, Marcona Almond and Anise Cookies (Yet again, the best pancake PWH has ever had)

Edward - Crispy Pancake Bits, Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Bacon and Bruléed Marshmallow (WHAT a surprise! It's the best pancake PWH has ever had!)

Padma asks PWH who made the best pancake he's ever had? And the winner is Edward!

Padma then tells the cheftestants that they're going back to The Alamo, where Pee Wee was told his prize bicycle was! Pee Wee said he's giving each cheftestant their very own new bicycle, already delivered to the TC house.

They have to make an unforgettable family lunch for PWH and the judges. They'll have a map to The Alamo, a bike, and $100. It's up to each of them to find their own food AND a restaurant to cook it in. BUT - only one chef can cook in a restaurant at a time. Edward said to the confessional camera "How do you create a shopping list if you don't know where you're going, and how do you figure out what you're going to cook if you don't know what type of kitchen you'll be cooking in?" Good questions.

They get 10 minutes to ask PWH what foods he likes. He likes spicy food, non-spicy food, American, chicken, shrimp.....Paul asks about allergies - and PWH said "Let's find out about that tomorrow! Hah-hah!!!" Oy. This is already getting tiring with PWH being in character.

They have 3 hours to ride around town to find the food and cook it for PWH. They hop on their red Schwinn bikes. They decided together that they're going to start at the Farmers Market. Paul relates that he rides his bike everywhere, but several years ago hit a manhole cover, and now when he drinks, one side of his face gets all red.

They leave the Market and Grayson seems to be following Paul, and he's not happy. Paul gets to the restaurant first, but goes to the wrong door. So Grayson gets in and asks the owner if she can prep there. Sarah gets lost, and has to back track. Paul finds another restaurant and he's given a place to prep - the owner notices the PWH bike, and Paul settles in.

Edward finds a B&B, and asks to barter some ingredients with the owner and chef. Lindsay's still riding around looking for ingredients - she hasn't even started cooking yet, so she heads back to her restaurant to cook. However, when she gets back to Mad Hatters, she finds that Sarah is already there. With only 2 hours to finish cooking and getting back to the Alamo, Lindsay realizes she has to find another place at which to prepare her meal.

Lindsay finds another restaurant to cook in, and realizes she has to get her beef cheeks defrosted, or she won't have a dish to serve. Sarah seems to bond with her kitchen staff, and Edward has a *very* small kitchen prep area, and the B&B owner asks Edward to cook up a couple of over-easy eggs for a breakfast the owner needs to serve....so he does it! Paul's kitchen staff and owner seems very accommodating with helping him out.

Each restaurant will bill each cheftestant for the ingredients that they used. And as soon as they get to the Alamo, they only have 15 minutes to plate and serve their dishes. Grayson has to *carry* her foil pan of chicken so as to avoid breaking the yolks inside the stuffed chicken dish she made.

They all get to the Alamo and scramble to plate. The judges arrives - Tom, Padma, Gail (where as SHE been!), and PWH. Gail asks PWH what they cook at the Playhouse - he replies "Cheese balls, parfaits, and my favorite is ice cream soup - I almost suggested!"

Last minute plating is getting crazy, but they all get it done and walk into the dining area with their family-style service.

Sarah - Summer Vegetable Egg Salad (soft-boiled egg) with Chicken Skin Vinaigrette

Grayson - Egg Yolk, Spinach & Gorgonzola-Stuffed Chicken with Butternut Roasted Squash with Bacon Vinaigrette

Lindsay - Stuffed Zucchini with Braised Beef Cheese, Rice & Goat Cheese with a Salad of Greens & Pickled Carrots and Celery

Edward - Chicken & Grits, Raw Corn, Kale Salad with Red-Eye Gravy

Paul - Roasted Chicken, Red Curry Gastrique, Summer Salad with Basil Blossom Oil

The judges dig into Sarah's egg salad, and while it was enjoyed, there's no salt or pepper in the dish. Lindsay's zucchini dish was enjoyed, but Padma thought the goat cheese was overpowering. PWH liked the gorgonzola cheese and beef.

Edward's grits and gravy was enjoyed, but PWH noted that chicken was odd. Tom said "I agree with Pee Wee; it's just on the edge of being undercooked." PWH said "I'll bet you never saw yourself saying 'I agree with Pee Wee today!" LOL

Next is Grayson's stuffed chicken - PWH said "I've got a prize in mine!" Everyone liked it....UNTIL they got to the fresh salad and Tom wishes she had all of the tomatoes off. Paul's dish was enjoyed, but Padma thought the heat wasn't strong enough - she though it was too sweet. But Tom said yes, the gastrique was sweet, but the vegetables were acidic enough to counter the sweetness. PWH also noted that Paul's platter was emptier than everyone else's.

Padma asks PWH if he was happy with his lunch. Yes he was - everyone made something he really liked. Tom suggest that he and PWH have lunch once a week. Then Padma asks PWH "Now when you think of the Alamo, what will you think of?" PWH said "CHICKEN! A LOT of chicken." Padma jokes back "I know you are but what am I?" And PWH says "I'm rubber, you're glue, whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you....INFINITY!"

Then when Padma asks if he's ready to get back to JT, he said "I'm VERY excited to sit in judgment of these people! GUILTY!" Padma said "Grab your bike and we'll see you there." PWH said "Tom, you're in the basket!" LOL "Lovely," replies Tom. "I'll have a few more drinks!"

They're in the Stew Room when Padma comes in (PLEASE NOTE - her dress is VERY pretty today - FINALLY!) They all head into Judges Table, knowing one of them is going home. Tom said that everyone's dish looked amazing when they came out, and that it would be tiny little things to separate winning from losing.

Paul's dish was very well liked by PWH; Gail noted that unless you were eating everything together, all you got was sweet. Ed's dish was enjoyed, but the texture of the chicken was odd.

Grayson's dish was to be a little spicy and healthy - but Gail noted OK, she took off the skin, but then loaded it with gorgonzola cheese, egg yolks, and bacon. Good point, Gail! Tom didn't like the butternut squash and tomatoes together. PWH said it was "Big and and looked odd because it was so giant, and other than finding tinier chickens, I don't know what you do there." (This is the 2nd time she's gone BIG with her meal!)

Sarah's okra in her dish was perfectly done and well seasoned. Tom notes that the eggs were *perfectly* cooked.....but were also *perfectly* under-seasoned. Lindsay's dish of stuffed zucchini brought back memories of the first dish Tom ever cooked. PWH said "And who doesn't like a dish served in a little boat?" Gail thought there was too much cheese and dressing on the salad.

PWH announces the winner - a cheftestant who was "fun, original, creative, changed my entire feeling about the Alamo....Lindsay, you're the winner!"

Padma also notes that Paul is also safe, but Ed, Sarah and Grayson are all in jeopardy. They head into the Stew Room to wait for the decision. PWH said he thought they all failed in that all of their dishes needed ketchup. :-) Tom notes Sarah's lack of seasoning, and that's critical. But Edward's dish which had slightly undercooked (for Tom) and weird texture. Gail said poaching in beef fat was NOT the way to go. Edward notes in the Stew Room that he made the biggest technical error. And then there's Grayson's BIG FAT CHICKEN, and the butternut squash and tomatoes just didn't work.

I'm thinking it could be any one of them going home.

They're back in front of the judges, and Tom reviews all of their dishes. Padma asks GRAYSON to PPYKAG. Sadz. :-( But Padma comes BACK into the Stew Room after Edward toasts the final four and asks to see them all back in JT. Tom tells them about Last Chance Kitchen with the eliminated chefs getting a second chance. They get a chance to see a bit of what we've all seen these past few weeks.

Previews for next week show the cheftestants seeing who won the final LCK.
~~~~~~~~~~~

And for LCK? It's Grayson vs. Beverly. They have 30 minutes to create a dish worthy of a finale....and for whatever reason, LCK isn't working on my laptop. So I guess we'll ALL find out who returns next week. :-)

OK, it's back to working...Tom tells Grayson and Beverly that whoever wins in LCK will go back into the TC kitchen and continue competing. Grayson seems stunned, and wonders if Tom is effing with her or if this is for real. He laughs and says "Oh this is real - I wouldn't be waking up at 6am if I were effing with you!" LOL They can use anything in the kitchen, but only have 30 minutes.

Various comments from the eliminated chefs - Dakota says "Oh, Beverly's doing Asian again; of course she is!" OUt of the blue, Beverly asks Grayson why she got eliminated. Grayson's comment was "Are you effing kidding me?" Ty-Lor said "I would have told her to eff off if she asked me that!" and Chris C. said "She did!" LOL Grayson realizes that Beverly was trying to mind-screw her. Plating finally happens, and they take it down to the wire.

Tom comes in to try both dishes...gives his review of both dishes. Annnnnddd....doesn't reveal who wins. We'll ALL find out next week when either Grayson or Beverly walks back into the TC kitchen.

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  1. I think this is actually episode #13. Would it be possible to edit the thread title to avoid confusion?

    1 Reply
    1. re: acgold7

      Fixed. I did a copy/paste of last week's title and changed the date, but forgot the Ep #. Thanks. :-)

    2. So can we all just agree that this is the dumbest challenge in TC history? First, what exactly does the kitchen scavenger hunt tell us about the chef's abilities? Second, are we really supposed to believe that these restaurants weren't pre-selected? Third, transporting their food on bikes in 100+ temps? Hell, in any temps? Fourth, WTF? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

      20 Replies
      1. re: debbiel

        Agreed. A warped challenge and a creeper for a host. It sounds sad, but at this point I don't really care who wins.

        1. re: debbiel

          Yup. While I enjoyed PWH, I thought the challenge was a REALLY stupid one. As you said - stupid, stupid, stupid. And VERY obvious that they were told they had certain restaurants to go to where it was pre-arranged. There's really *no* other way this could have been done. I'll bet that map had the restaurants' addresses on them.

          1. re: debbiel

            Completely agree. I really hate this season but for some stupid reason I can't stop watching. I guess I keep hoping Bravo will pull their head out & actually get back to the food . A girl can hope...

            1. re: jcattles

              They threw us a bone with the Charlize episode goodness. Just enough to keep hope alive and keep us coming back.

              1. re: debbiel

                Not enough for me. After they followed the *one* good challenge of the season with the lame block party and then I saw the previews with PWH, I'm not even bothering to watch. I'll just be content to read Linda's recaps and watch the final LCK.

                I'm afraid for the finale, they'll have the chefs grabbing ingredients while speeding down Vancouver's Olympic bobsled run or cooking on skates in the Olympic Skating arena.

                1. re: debbiel

                  A bone?!? That was such a HUGE fluff/promo piece for Snow White and the Huntsman (a Universal movie, which owns NBC). The challenge itself was cool, but the producing/editing was terrible, the gratuitous SW&TH masturbation was laughable, and they did such a terrible, TERRIBLE job providing relevant details to support Bev's being eliminated (which, I guess, is part of my first complaint in re: producing/editing).

              2. re: debbiel

                No, we can't agree. I liked this much better than the season 8 Isaac Mizrachi/Rao's Italian-American meal episode, which I despised. I can't even say that I would rate it as the worst of the season. I'd probably guess episode 7 with the tequila and game challenges was the worst of the season because I don't remember much except Heather being annoying.

                1. re: FoodPopulist

                  Like you, I was thinking the only guest judge on Top Chef I can recall that I found more annoying than Pee Wee Herman is Isaac Mizrahi.

                  1. re: John E.

                    Wait - there is another more annoying. And whaddayaknow - it was this year too. The real housewives episode is right "up" there with the worst ever.

                2. re: debbiel

                  Yup, they jumped the shark here. Seriously, were we supposed to suspend disbelief and really think that all of these kitchens were so welcoming? My intelligence was insulted.

                  1. re: JAB

                    I was surprised that they didn't just disclose that the restaurants had been prepped. It was way too far-fetched that these kitchens would allow these strangers off the street to disrupt them. I didn't hate this episode as much as some, though. I thought they cooked good food, even with the whole gimmick.

                    1. re: JAB

                      Right. And all those cameras and sound equipment and crew just dropped by spontaneously.

                    2. re: debbiel

                      I hated this challenge. I also can't stand Pee Wee Herman so there you go. I don't get how this showed their skills, but it just adds to what I think is a totally lacklusted season. I don't see a lot of talent here this year or creativity (except during the Charleze Theron challenge for creativity). And can somebody tell me - did they have a list of restaurants that were pre-arranged for them to cook it. STUPID!

                      1. re: wincountrygirl

                        I found myself wondering how other, reasonably intelligent-seeming adults managed to straight-facedly interact with the weird character PWH.

                        1. re: wincountrygirl

                          <did they have a list of restaurants that were pre-arranged for them to cook it.>

                          They must have. Otherwise, in all of San Antonio how did two chefs turn up at the same restaurant?

                          I also thought all that bike riding was really stupid, and could have been dangerous.

                          1. re: ChefJune

                            Yeah and that thing about "only one chef at a time in a kitchen" seems built around the fact that this was more or less a game of musical chairs, but perhaps with just the right number of chairs instead of N-1.

                        2. re: debbiel

                          I agree that this was ridiculous. I imagine the "possible restaurants" were also marked on the map, and pre-warned, so the whole "asking to use the kitchen" was silly.

                          1. re: DGresh

                            Imagine though, if they'd gone to a kitchen where they had not set things up. The manager looking at the chef like he was an idiot, the owner letting them do it, but the line cooks screws things up for the chef by sabotaging his ingredients, messing with the stove and threatening the chef, hilarity ensues.

                            1. re: Phaedrus

                              haha, sounds like an episode of Chopped.

                        3. Rut Row. Someone's dish lacks seasoning...

                          13 Replies
                          1. re: bobbert

                            Definitely a shark jumping episode, probably worst ever in my opinion. The one was plus was the comic relief with the Pee Wee/Padma chemistry.

                            1. re: californiabeerandpizza

                              It's sad that this show could be done in such a way that winning and being called "Top Chef" could really mean something, but instead they have challenges like this that make it just another reality show joke.

                            2. re: bobbert

                              I thought that lack of seasoning *might* have done it for Sarah, but Tom was really harping on the fact that Grayson's butternut squash and tomatoes just didn't work...I think he said at JT she should have chosen autumn OR summer - not both.

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                So, am I the only one who has enjoyed butternut squash and tomatoes together? But yeah, I had a feeling her "over done, too much going on" was going home. <sigh>

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  In hindsight I can't believe I fell for it.
                                  For some unknown reason I didn't totally hate this episode and I never liked Pee Wee.
                                  Maybe I never felt that the chefs had to "really" find restaurants to cook in - that was obviously set up as was everyone deciding to go to the farmer's market together. Clearly they could "buy" stuff from the restaurants so for me, much of the absurdity of the challenge didn't really exist. Even riding the bikes was easy. It must have been filmed on a Sunday very early as there was no traffic.
                                  So when you remove a lot of the bs, I didn't think it was too bad. I liked seeing them cooking in those "real" restaurant kitchens.
                                  Additional thoughts: when Lindsay takes that stick out of her ass and responds a little spontaneously and unguarded, I kinda like her.
                                  Notice how quiet Sarah was when she poached the kitchen from Lindsay? Law of the jungle.
                                  Aside from the lack of salt on the eggs, Sarah's dish looked really good.
                                  Ed's undercooked chicken? That could have easily been his downfall.
                                  I'm torn as to who I want to win LCK. I love Grayson but also would love to see Beverly come back to knock off Lindsay or Sarah.
                                  Padma dress looked really good. One of tonight's highlights.

                                  1. re: bobbert

                                    Most likely was on a Saturday morning, that's when the farmer's market at the Pearl is.

                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                    Ironically, tomatoes' and winter squash's harvesting seasons overlap. Winter squash is typically eaten later in the year mainly because it stores so well.

                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                      Yup, I know they do, but Tom's comment seems to imply they're MONTHS apart. I found that odd. But I did agree with him that roasted butternut squash and tomatoes just don't seem to go together.

                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                      I think it would be an interesting challenge to force chefs to meld together produce typically associated with opposite seasons and make them think outside the current trend of seasonal cooking. Actually, I'd like to see chefs do a set of four courses meant to represent the four seasons.

                                      Is there a thread for ideas we would like to see on Top Chef?

                                      1. re: FoodPopulist

                                        I *like* the four season dinner idea! They'd only be hampered by finding ingredients for some of the seasons since the filming always seems to be done in the summertime.

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          Season 6 in Washington D.C. was produced in early spring if I recall correctly. Remember how cold and windy it was on a couple of their outdoor shoots?

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            Good point. And they had issues sourcing some food items because it was too early in the season for some spring veggies. Thanks for the reminder.

                                        2. re: FoodPopulist

                                          I really like the four seasons idea too. For some reason in the middle of the night I was trying to devise the challenge. Something like having four boxes of produce for the four seasons. My challenge is for four chefs, but someone else can figure out how to expand it to more. Simultaneously, each chef picks out an item from one box, then they step to the right (or back around the end for the last chef) and pick the next item from the next box. There are only four different items in each box, so they have to choose from their current season before they know what they are going to have left in the last box. Could lead to some interesting scheming.

                                          I'm imagining ending up with rhubarb, cherry tomatoes, kale, and winter squash.

                                    3. No to Grayson going off as I can't figure out exactly what she did wrong in greater proportion to the other 2. It seems like bigger portion size isn't as egregious as under-seasoned food or undercooked chicken. Whatever, this episode confirms that top chef has vertically extended above the shark

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: gmk1322

                                        Tom said on Watch What Happens that th editing was especially misleading. When *he* watched it this am, he was "surprised" Grayson went home. But there was really more talk at JT. I haven't looked for extended judging videos yet...

                                        1. re: momjamin

                                          It was so obviously *not* Grayson that I suspected it was Grayson. I'm not surprised -- the dish was typical Grayson: clunky and not very exciting. I like her as a person, but I'm not all that impressed by her food. She could have pounded those chicken breasts flat, trimmed them, and made the same dish more sophisticated.

                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                            Exactly what I thought, Ruth, about Grayson pounding out the chicken breasts and trimming them up so they weren't so humongous.

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              Remember, she had to carry them in her hand while riding a bike. The little extra room for the egg yolk to roll around may have been intentional. They didn't look that huge on the plate they showed. If the judges hadn't said anything about it I wouldn't have had any thoughts about the breasts being excessively large.

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                Remember when she was criticized for the size of her steaks in episode 8?

                                                Of course, I am thoroughly Midwestern in my ideas of appropriate portion-sizing of meat, so I have no problem.

                                              2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                Yes, but Bev made Asian - again. She makes the same meal over and over again. I like her, but she is a one trick pony. Sarah also - always with the risotto or ravioli.

                                                1. re: wincountrygirl

                                                  I'm not sure why you are talking about "Bev" here. She left the normal show a couple episodes ago. In any case, if as you claim she makes "Asian - again" (in LCK, which Ruth L did not talk about), then I would point out that Grayson Schmitz and Lindsay Autry both made European - again. Oh, and Sarah Grueneberg made Italian (not even European) - again.

                                          2. Ok. I am probably the only one that loves Pee Wee and the Alamo.

                                            I went to law school with his sister but only found out they were related way later.

                                            They have done this challenge before. Forget which season...

                                            But they obviously had a map and prearranged places. I think in the previous season they took them by surprise... but maybe they didn't cook?

                                            5 Replies
                                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                                C.Ham, you mean they've done a scavenger hunt episode?

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  All that comes to mind is the S4 Block Party episode where they could only cook with food they got from neighborhood residences. That was early in the season, but Spike's sneakiness came out when he left a house that had clearly stocked up for the event, and he told the other team they had cleaned them out.

                                                2. re: C. Hamster

                                                  Nope...you're not the only one!!! Love Pee Wee too. He was the only thing I found watchable about the episode. Tom C. commented on "Watch What Happens Live", which followed the episode, how fun it was to work with Paul Reubens.

                                                  1. re: Phoebe

                                                    Maybe you had to "be there" to like him. I imagine I was far too old for his demographic when he was first popular (the 80s?) so I just don't get the appeal at all.

                                                3. The Over Easy Egg thing was totally awesome.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                                    By far my favorite part of the episode.

                                                    1. re: bobbert

                                                      that was hilarious!

                                                      i would think that undercooked chicken would be a deal breaker, especially at this stage of the game. that's a bigger deal to me than not enough salt on an egg.

                                                      i didnt mind the concept of this challenge as much. it still gave the chef's free range to cook something special. i don't much care for the large catering/group challenges. those get dumbed down and getting something that will work under those conditions ruin the meal.

                                                  2. I suspect a lot of people are going to be annoyed after this episode. A few thoughts:

                                                    - Pee-wee was a non-factor for me. Not particularly interesting, but not bothersome either. I was sort of hoping he would go back to his origins and just be raunchy. On the upside, I did like how Padma talked to him like he was a muppet.

                                                    - This episode felt more contrived than others (which are admittedly also contrived). The bicycle 'scavenger hunt' added nothing. Especially odd was the fact that the crews working the kitchens they cooked at had to act like it was a total surprise that these chefs and camera crews showed up. I don't get why they bothered with that pretense, and the end result was sort of lame and stilted.

                                                    - Favorite part of the episode was when Ed got put on the egg station. More or less the only truly enjoyable moment this episode.

                                                    - Even though he didn't win, Paul is continuing to cement his front-runner status. Here, his dish was clearly getting away from him. And still, his ability to scramble and patch up an imperfect dish was good enough for a solid second place. In other words, his worst work is better than some of these guys' better efforts. Not looking good for his competitors.

                                                    - Last week I went and got into a big debate about how it's unavoidable that a judge has flavor biases, and that doesn't make their decisions bad. And then, of course, this week they send Grayson home apparently for no other reason than one of those biases while two other chefs made more egregious and objective technical errors. Thanks for making me look like an ass, Top Chef judges. Personally, I'm not sure how I feel about roasted butternut squash and fresh tomatoes in the same dish. Doesn't quite make sense to me either, just from a flavor perspective. OTOH, I can easily imagine a dish that uses both roasted squash and roasted tomatoes on the same plate working just fine.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                      the comment about the two veg epitomizing different seasons obviously depends on the part of the country and its seasonality ; somewhat true in the northeast, but early fall tomatoes are great in warmer parts of the country, just when the harder squashes begin. the best tasting tomatoes and butternut squash would not be ideal complements, because of their sugar content, but there's no inherent incompatibility.

                                                      it appeared that the elimination decision was extremely close, and Grayson's was probably out of balance, with too many ingredients. the show's problems lay elsewhere, with too many factors completely irrelevant to creating a meal potentially skewing the competition -- to name just a few, bicycling skill, navigation and map use, traffic hazards, variations between the available kitchens.

                                                      1. re: moto

                                                        My wife is a pretty good cook but lame when it comes to map usage. She simply would never had made it to the Alamo. This part of the challenge was so stupid that I didn't think it factored in at all. One of the reasons I didn't hate the episode was that I could easily dismiss the silliness. Imagine if one of the chefs, like what would happen with my wife, never showed up? It wasn't going to be allowed to happen.

                                                        1. re: moto

                                                          Obviously I wasn't there and can't give an overall assessment of how the dishes tasted in comparison to each other. But at least on paper, undercooked chicken* comes off as the more egregious error than 'tasty but too many elements, and confusing in a seasonal sense.' Basically the same can be said for completely failing to season the main element of one's dish, as Sarah did.

                                                          I'd agree with you about the bicycling and navigation, etc, except that they seemed to have little to no bearing on who did well this week. It was all too much nonsense to make for good cooking TV IMO, but that's another matter.

                                                          *btw - I know Ed's chicken was barely undercooked, and I also know that barely undercooked chicken probably isn't as dangerous as we've all been led to believe. No need to point either out.

                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                            Raw chicken can be delicious and the best yakitori chicken is medium rare. Haven't gotten food poisoning yet from raw chicken.. or pork :)

                                                            1. re: Pookipichu

                                                              Then there's torisashi and toriwasa.
                                                              http://www.facingtherisingsun.com/jap...
                                                              & etc.
                                                              (Of course, using "any ol' supermarket chicken 'tenderloin' " in the USA for these two dishes is risky. Even in Japan they would use specially grown and prepared chicken meat)

                                                        2. re: cowboyardee

                                                          I hate to say it, but I can pretty much guarantee you the producer's told the B&B folks to ask Ed to cook 2 eggs. As soon as I saw that part I just rolled my eyes.

                                                          Cute, though.

                                                        3. I'm way too lazy to do this, but I think it would be interesting if someone could use Google or something to show the distances between these various places and the Alamo.

                                                          10 Replies
                                                          1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                            Here is Google map + directions from the Pearl Farmer's market where they started shopping, to the Alamo final destination.

                                                            The route is longer than I expected - over 3 miles. It passes near DT, so expect the restaurants that were CLEARLY pre-selected for the cheftestants to work in must have been near this route.

                                                            http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&amp...

                                                            I thought the whole things was a bit contrived, as of course you could tell the resto's were expecting someone to show up. But, there is a good test here of resourcefullness, thinking on your feet, having to communicate and connect with people you don't know and negotiate (chef's and the various kitchen crews they encountered), plus figuring out on the fly a dish to make and then package it up, get it back the rest of the way to the destination, and plate and serve it. Whew! Would love to see a bunch of of CH'rs take that on in 100 degree heat....

                                                            1. re: gingershelley

                                                              Rosario's is actually on the other side of the DT area from the Alamo, so there's no way they would just be driving by.

                                                              1. re: saeyedoc

                                                                At least 3 of the restaurants are in the same general vicinity about 1 mile south of the Alamo. I had to get their names from Hughs' blog - Linda is slacking :-)

                                                                BTW, Grayson carrying that hot tray for a mile on that stupid bike is actually fairly impressive.

                                                                1. re: saeyedoc

                                                                  saeydoc. I didn't say they went by them - didn't have time to look up the resto's... just guessing on that.

                                                                  Anyhoo, they actuall did a decent bit of riding, if the resto's are PAST the Alamo, then they went on back. Plus however far from their group house to get to the farmer's market.

                                                                  Agree with Bobbert that Grayson riding a mile with hot chicken is pretty good!

                                                                2. re: gingershelley

                                                                  The restaurants were expecting people and may have even been coached to do things like ask for chefs to cook eggs, but did the chefs have any idea of what to expect? This is a TV show. It's all contrived. As long as the contestants weren't acting out scripted bits for the camera to make things more dramatic, I am fine with the basic integrity of the challenge.

                                                                  1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                    Of course the chefs knew what to expect. Chances are the camera crews set up at least several hours beforehand.

                                                                    The problem wasn't that the challenge WAS contrived; the problem was that the challenge FELT obviously contrived as I viewed it. Subtle difference, but an important one.

                                                                    Any challenge on TC is contrived in one way or another. The trick in filming and editing the show is in not drawing attention to that basic inherent artificiality. Here, the focus of the episode was far too skewed toward chefs riding around on bikes and pretending to show up unannounced at one of 5 restaurants and 'asking' to cook in their kitchen (who the hell pulled for those shots to be left in the final edit? It was embarrassing, and toes that line of the contestants acting out scripts).

                                                                    While the focus of the episode could easily have been the challenging logistics of coming up with a dish on the fly in a strange kitchen, adapting to what they had available, or the drama inherent in the fairly strict time constraints, what we got instead was a bunch of transparent bullshit that was neither entertaining, enlightening, or interesting.

                                                                    I'm not one of those guys who's claiming TC is jumping the shark or that I won't watch the rest of the season, but this was not a well-made episode, even by this season's standards.

                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                      I actually don't think the chefs knew what to expect in the sense that they didn't know what additional hoops they might have to go through to be allowed to cook in those places. So, they should go into those places dreading that they are going to be confronted with some sort of twist. They also wouldn't be told exactly what to expect in terms of pantry items and cooking equipment.

                                                                      1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                        I misread you - I thought you meant the chefs already working in the restaurants they took over. The contestants on the other hand, might not have known exactly what to expect at some points in the contest. But it would have been completely obvious upon arrival (and also upon getting the list and map of the 5 restaurants they were to seek out) that they were not crashing the kitchens unannounced. As such, the speech each one of them gave politely explaining that they are in a competition and need to share use of their kitchen came off as scripted, awkward, transparent, and completely unnecessary to the final edit.

                                                                        1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                          BINGO!!!

                                                                          The show is not about the chefs or the tastes or the cooking. It is all about the jumping through hoops. Its the tail wagging the dog. When the physical pain or ridiculous challenges takes over from the culinary hoop jumping, that is when the show has jumped the shark. IMHO.

                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                            Hmmm...how can I put this. I loved Chefs vs City, so I like ridiculous challenges. Perhaps there may be a bit too many this season, but I think there should be some during a season of Top Chef.

                                                                3. Is it normal at this stage that they don't ask the guest judge for his/her least favorite during the QF? they only said which was Pee-Wee's favorite.

                                                                  C.Hamster - I LOVE PEE-WEE. i had no problem with Pee-Wee and his ridiculous self. the challenge was lame, yes - of course the restaurants were pre-set, so yes, why even bother doing that, riding bikes with your food in your one hand or in a basket is beyond stupid - BUT! they all got to cook individually and come up with their own creations. i was surprised as hell that Lindsay won. I too liked them cooking in the "real" kitchens, but i saw no point except for cuteness' sake for making Ed cook those eggs.

                                                                  i also thought that Ed's more egregious technical error would have sent him home over Grayson - which, much as i like Grayson, i would have been bummed about as I think Ed is very talented - but I watched a few minutes of that show after TC that had Tom and Carla on it with Insufferable Whatshishface. Tom said that, despite misleading editing leading you to believe otherwise, in the end it came down to which tasted better.

                                                                  i really, really don't understand why people who say they absolutely hate this show now and it's the worst season ever and it demeans them to even watch it and makes them want to poke out their eyes - WHY THEY KEEP WATCHING IT? i still enjoy it. maybe i'm just easily amused. hence, i'm here on this thread, too.

                                                                  MOTHERFUCKERS! i can't believe they didn't let us know who won LCK. i mean, i can....

                                                                  thanks Linda! great job as always!

                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                    Haha, love to see someone full on swear on these boards. I'm not thrilled with this season but it's all right, don't think I have as much invested in general as some people. I do agree that the constant twists and extreme conditions get tiring and would have stopped at this stage of the game.

                                                                    As far as Ed's undercooked chicken, neither Gail nor Padma said anything about that and PW said it wasn't undercooked, just weird (altho maybe the weirdness was being undercooked). I did think it was between him and Sara to go home and announcing Grayson surprised me, but her dish *did* look kind of like a mish mash.

                                                                    1. re: Joanie

                                                                      PWH said his chicken wasn't undercooked, but it had a "strange texture"....which Tom likened to being just a smidge undercooked.

                                                                      I'll have to watch the Extended JT to see if more is revealed as to the specifics of Grayson's failure. I also thought that while all three *could* be sent home, both Edward and Sarah had more issues with their dishes. Sheesh - undercooking AND no seasoning? That's usually grounds for putting their heads on the chopping block and immediately getting rid of the offending cheftestant!

                                                                    2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                      ROFLMAO! mc, I'm scrolling through your post and started laughing at your initial comment about not letting us know who won LCK! LOL

                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                        To be honest I've given up on this show. I tuned in for season 1, but the boring pace and bad production values turned me off. After a few episodes of season 2 I gave up. I only came back during season 4 after reading about how much better the show had gotten - and it really was a much better show. Butchering dry-aged steaks? cooking on a breakfast line? healthy lunches for cops? expensive vs. cheap palate challenge? they were great challenges that really did test the skills of a chef - I recall when they had to butcher dry-aged steaks, they were given only a little more time to do so than the factory workers got - something to keep in mind about how basic chefs skills really matter. Now we get absurd challenges like last night. It's only been a slow downhill slide since season 4, which really was the peak of the series for me.

                                                                        1. re: kristina_kim

                                                                          I almost agree, except my favorite this season, and maybe in any of the seasons, was the one with Charlize Theron (sp?) a couple of weeks ago. It was the best of everything: a fun challenge, interesting guest, and showcase of exceptional cooking.

                                                                          But while I look forward to watching TC, it'a also pretty common that I doze off during judging, as I did last night. I guess I just don't care that much once the cooking is done.

                                                                      2. I was really disappointed that Grayson got axed, especially since I felt that the "weird texture" of Edward's chicken would be a guaranteed buh-bye. I feel that we are getting set up for Beverly's return and the guaranteed ensuing fireworks with Sarah and Lindsay

                                                                        When I was thinking about Ed getting axed, it occurred to me that it probably wouldn't happen because that would mean that there would be four female chefs and one male chef left, with the possibility that the returning chef from LCK would be Beverly, making it 4 women and one man. Never gonna happen, imo.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                          Great minds think alike. Gotta balance them out. I think Ed is safe for now.

                                                                        2. I was sadly disappointed that the quickfire wasn't about the hundreds and hundreds of uses for corn ...

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                            Me too! And where was Inez? I could've gone for PeeWee singing "The stars at night, are big and bright..." I want one of those bikes, too.

                                                                            Still and all, the food all looked really good after being transported in small insulated bags.

                                                                            Anyone watch Tom and Carla Hall on WWHL?

                                                                              1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                Yes, I commented on Tom's response to the question about Paula Deen. Carla was fun and lovely as always. Grayson looked REALLY glamorous and rocked out... very different than when cooking.

                                                                            1. One more challenge like this and I will just read Linda's summary. Can't live without that! But this is really too much. I can put up with PWH but this challenge is ridiculous.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                Phaedrus, we're almost at the end. The finale comes in 2 weeks (TV Guide isn't putting up any description of the show the way it does for next week's episode) so I'm pretty sure there are probably only three more episodes. Hang in there! (But I appreciate the trust in me that I'll get it all right should you choose not to watch the show! LOL)

                                                                                ETA: BTW - next week's episode looks VERY good - all the previews showed was that someone from LCK comes back - no idea on the QF or EC in the televised previews. There's a blindfold "gather ingredients" QF it seems, and then they have to cook for their mentors.

                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                  Gail's blog hints a bit about next weeks show and why it gets so emotional.

                                                                              2. Great recap as always! Did anyone else catch Tom C on WWHL when Andy Cohen asked him about Paula Deen? He was very measured but made his views on her pretty evident. He said he's been bothered for a long time by her association with Smithfield and suggested that everyone check out a documentary about their terrible practices. Not a single word about her personally, his seriousness and tone spoke volumes.

                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                  I caught that. His whole demeanor changed.I was impressed by his answer. You could tell Smithfeild and their practices are a serious issue for him.

                                                                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                    I wish more of this aspect of Tom found its way onto Top Chef. I've become a much bigger fan of him personally from reading his Bravo blog. His blogs on overfishing and on school lunch programs (did you know his mother was a school lunch lady?), just to name two examples, were way more interesting than the TC episodes they were commenting about. I'd love to see him do some kind of general TV food show.

                                                                                    1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                      Did anyone catch Tom on that Superbowl pre-game segment? He seemed a little stiff in that context. But I only saw him introduce the challenge and wondered who ended up winning, Richard or Antonia. We all know who *didn't* win the football game, sigh.

                                                                                      1. re: Joanie

                                                                                        Antonia won. It seemed pretty clear that the "judges" (the guys in the "talk booth") couldn't figure out what to make of Richard's thing."It's not bad" one of them said. But they made Tom make the final call. It was really rather slap-dash and not very well put-together.

                                                                                        1. re: Joanie

                                                                                          Huh. Totally missed this! I was probably too excited for the game, but one would think I would notice Tom's lovely bald head... How long was the segment?

                                                                                          1. re: kubasd

                                                                                            First part (showing them cooking), about a minute and a half. Second part (judging) about the same. Very flash-bang, and not too worthwhile.

                                                                                      2. re: Withnail42

                                                                                        Here's a link to the Rolling Stone expose on Smithfield that Tom mentioned on WWHL - a must read -

                                                                                        https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&am...

                                                                                    2. I feel compelled to say something about PeeWee's allergy remark, because it hasn't been said yet. The chefs asked him before the elim challenge if he had any allergies, like peanut - and he responded, let's see if my throat closes up tomorrow, or something along that line, followed by his ridiculous giggle and the rest of the chefs nervously giggling along.

                                                                                      I have a child who is anaphylactic to peanuts - his throat literally will close up, and without life saving meds and a trip to the ER, that will be his end. So to throw out a comment like that was just incredibly callous to me. There is no occasion to ever mock a life threatening condition or make it the butt of a joke, and it's too bad that someone somewhere hasn't already given PeeWee or Bravo a piece of their mind about it.

                                                                                      27 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: sasha1

                                                                                        I don't think it was callous, it was just his silly way of saying "no, I'm not allergic to anything".

                                                                                        1. re: sasha1

                                                                                          sasha1, i too have a child who is anaphylactic to peanuts and all tree nuts as well. i found peewee's reaction totally ridiculous and down right stupid. replace "food allergies" with do you have diabetes or another life threatening disease and people would probably be up in arms with his answer. i have to say most people including myself used to think nothing of food allergies and even ridiculed people with so called allergies to fish or another rare food allergy. i always thought they were just making excuses for not wanting to eat those foods. of course there are those who use 'allergies' as an excuse and that ruins it for those who are truly allergic. but agreed, it was ignorant of PW who i found dated and just plain awkward.

                                                                                          1. re: trolley

                                                                                            are you saying that professional comedians can't make jokes, now? or just that some folks can't take them? i thought it was a fairly light way to stay in character, yet convey he had nothing life threatening, like 98% of the adult population...

                                                                                            of course he could have taken his tie off, lowered his voice a couple of octaves and droned on for several minutes about how allergies are a very serious matter and how as a matter of fact the chefs had to contend with *another* twist: wacky world of pee wee's dietary restrictions!

                                                                                            but i'm pretty glad that didn't happen, actually. btw your diabetes analogy doesn't make any sense.

                                                                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                              i can take a joke, but i thought that particular response was unnecessarily glib and in poor taste. i cringed when he said it.

                                                                                              1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                no the diabetes makes no sense. i know. i just can't think of a good analogy to food allergies. i've been diabetic before and i know a piece of cake wouldn't kill me on the spot if i ate it. it would spike my sugar levels pretty high etc. i don't think comedians can make racist jokes or jokes about life threatening conditions on national television. it's not responsible and it just spreads ignorance. my son will have his allergy for the rest of his life and a silly cashew can kill him. he can have cardiac arrest/ lung failure. that's what anaphylactic means. not, a rash or an itchy throat which is taken care of with some benadryl. if it's their own tour of stand up make all the jokes about fat people or food allergies, sure, why not. i just feel that should have ended up on the editing floor. this is my opinion. if you like peewee and his act you have every right to like him. and if i react badly to a joke i can and so can you.

                                                                                                and where do you get 98% of adult population doesn't have food allergies? where is that fact?

                                                                                                1. re: trolley

                                                                                                  i am confused by your distinction between what is appropriate for bravo and a stand up act.
                                                                                                  it is my understanding bravo is a cable channel. therefore, technically, it's something the viewer pays for by choice, just like they would pay for a ticket for a stand up act.

                                                                                                  1. re: linus

                                                                                                    linus, it's on TV whether you pay for it or not it's certainly ok for me not to like a joke. especially when it's about something that can kill my son. i don't know, if there was a racist black or asian joke made on bravo would it be ok? or a joke about congenital heart defect would that be ok too? this is getting off topic. as i said it's my right to not like it or for soup kitten to like peewee. no one is wrong here. it's a tv show and me and sasha1's reaction. it's just silly to argue me and tell me my opinion is wrong.

                                                                                                    1. re: trolley

                                                                                                      I am a parent, too, and I understand why that would hit a hot button for you when you hear food allergy made light of. OTOH, I think it's not callous, it was dopey and offhand and just a comic out of the loop character making a dumb joke.

                                                                                                      I can understand why you don't view it as humor, and it wasn't very funny, but it's not all that nasty or dismissive, either. Who knows, it might enlighten folks who don't know nut allergies can cause your throat to close up.

                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                        EXACTLY mcf. thank you! you get it. i'm not outraged it was a dumb joke. i didn't like it. it hit a nerve. end of story.

                                                                                                      2. re: trolley

                                                                                                        i did not write it wasn't o.k. for you to not like a joke. i did not argue with you. i did not tell you your opinion was wrong. i did not ask anything about racist black or asian jokes.
                                                                                                        you stated the joke was inappropriate for bravo, but appropriate for a stand up show. i wrote i was confused about the distinction you were making between the two, in hopes maybe you could clear that up for me.

                                                                                                    2. re: trolley

                                                                                                      doesn't have *life threatening* food allergies. again, we're talking about anaphylaxis, not about rashes or other milder reactions. and i was rounding up--from .05-2% of people, worldwide, at all life stages, per wikipedia:
                                                                                                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaphylaxis

                                                                                                      i don't consider myself a fan of pee wee but he's a pretty tame comedian on the offensiveness scale... unlikely to make the offensive racist or sexist etc jokes you mention-- which is probably why he got cleared over tons of other comedians, no? he wasn't talking about your kid or any other kid-- he was talking about himself. for that reason, folks' insistence on finding something to be personally outraged about is sort of beyond me. that's all.

                                                                                                2. re: sasha1

                                                                                                  This is part of the problem when you have someone silly like a Pee Wee on a show like this. They stay in character. Regardless of the situation and when dealing with a serious issue like food allergies often what they say just comes off as inane or callous. While the performer might have a much more serious take or understanding of the situation.

                                                                                                  1. re: sasha1

                                                                                                    I missed all the action here! You know, it would've been better if they asked about allergies, he said no, and made a joke about something else. Joking about someone's throat closing up, well that's just not funny to me.

                                                                                                    People said forever that the more violence our kids watch on tv or in videogames, the more their norm as to what's acceptable changes. I guess I feel like that with respect to severe allergies- the more people who take it lightly, whether it's making jokes about it or using allergies as excuses to avoid food they don't like, people start to take it less seriously. Try protecting a kid out there in the real world, when people don't take you seriously, and maybe you'll start to feel like what I feel like.

                                                                                                    There are so many noncontroversial sources of humor, it just seemed inappropriate to me. And by the way, not just the fact that he said it, but the fact that the producers didn't snip that bit and leave it on the cutting room floor.

                                                                                                    1. re: sasha1

                                                                                                      He didn't joke about "someone's" throat closing up, he suggested if his did, it would reveal an allergy, or something like that. Dumb, not harmful in any way, IMO.

                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                        I totally disagree with you that's its not harmful in any way. It is harmful, and in bad taste to boot. You seem to have some very strong opinions about diabetes when the topic arises, but you have a hard time allowing other people to have their opinions. Diabetes might be your thing, and you are within your rights to educate others about it. Serious allergies, because of my son, are my thing, and I also have the right to let people know that the more people that take allergies lightly, the fewer people think they are a real threat. This leads to a dangerous environment where I may try to exert all the effort I can to protect my child, but someone else who thinks allergies are no biggie will still undermine me and cause him a great deal of harm.

                                                                                                        1. re: sasha1

                                                                                                          Look at who made the comment in the first place. It was Pee Wee Herman. If Padma or Tom said something flippant then there would be a reason to up up in arms over it. It was Pee Wee Freekin' Herman for crying out loud. What sort of authority figure is he? As I posted earlier, all kinds of comedians make flippant, off-color, offensive remarks, etc. To not expect such things is not realistic.

                                                                                                            1. re: sasha1

                                                                                                              the thing is, every little bit, idiot or not contributes to making light of a situation that's potentially very serious. whether peewee's an idiot or not and whether the audience takes the person seriously or not when a disease or a condition is made fun of it just doesn't help. look at paula seen. she's out in public eating a burger and slinging meds now instead of changing her tune by eating sensibly at least in public. it just doesn't help, does it? tv shows like top chef isn't responsible for addressing food allergies but if the topic comes up, you don't expect them to make light of it. you'd think maybe they'd have the decency to edit it out. it was just one little thing peewee did by pretending to choke but trust me, the allergy community i know who happen to watch the show all feel slighted by it.

                                                                                                              in my experience, people seem to have a difficult time accepting food allergies b/c food is emotional. everyone eats and we even watch a show about professional cooks dueling it out by making food to win a prize. even in the 'memories' episode all the chefs cry or come close tears about thinking their mom, dad or grandparent cooking up a storm. no other human function gets nearly this kind of attention except perhaps reproduction :)

                                                                                                              but yes, pee wee's an idiot. it was a bad joke. i don't think i'm outraged or anything (and no peewee wasn't referring to my child) but it just hurt my feelings for everyone who has to deal with this on a daily basis.

                                                                                                              1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                Thank you for the support. I've decided after this conversation, we just all have our hot button issues, and this one's ours.

                                                                                                                The whole concept and gravity of allergies was as foreign to me as the next person, and I was as entirely hypothetically (but not truly) sympathetic, until the condition landed squarely in my family.

                                                                                                                1. re: sasha1

                                                                                                                  EXACTLY Sasha1. and thank you for your support too :)

                                                                                                          1. re: sasha1

                                                                                                            i pointed out that a contestant was the person who asked about food allergies, which is something chefs are extremely concerned about these days. for some reason my post was deleted. i think the fact that chefs are concerned about allergies is a significant positive change in the culinary field and disagree with the posters above who have the opinion that the comment re: allergies should have been edited out. it directly relates to the professionalism of the contestants and them taking their jobs seriously, even when they are catering to a character rather than a person. getting this question on the air contributes to general awareness of dietary restrictions for any/all reasons, and regardless of the response of the guest judge it was a real question asked out of real concern.

                                                                                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                              In this contest situation the chefs asked about food allergies. In the real world, I don't think chefs are all that concerned about food allergies and look at situations where food allergies come up as a pain in the ass kind of thing that they must deal with, but not because they really wish to but because it is necessary.

                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                Um, no one looks forward to dealing with food allergies and it's a PITA for anyone to have to deal with but we do. Hopefully, most people, including chefs, are concerned about food allergies because it can be kind of a mess to be responsible for someone else's death.

                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                  i was about to say pretty much the same thing - taking the time to ask and potentially make accommodations for a food allergy is less of a PITA than having to administer an epi shot or call an ambulance for someone who goes into anaphylactic shock after eating your food.

                                                                                                                  it's also just good business. those of us who have to adhere to restricted diets share information and our experiences with each other, and if a chef or establishment makes it known that they're just not willing to be flexible, they lose us as potential customers, plus any others who might have dined with us. on the other hand, i daresay we may be even more appreciative than the average diner when we discover a place where we can relax and safely enjoy a tasty meal, and that usually means guaranteed repeat business and good word of mouth that makes its way to other special diet patrons.

                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                    it is also part of what customers are paying for, at the level of restaurants the contestants are working in. there is a reasonable expectation of scratch made food where dietary considerations can be accommodated, and experienced staff who can roll w special requests. i don't know any chef outside of chain restaurants or hot dog carts, honestly, who doesn't make adjustments given a polite request, plus enough time--within reason (no kosher offerings at a carolina-style roadside hog bbq stand, etc)

                                                                                                                    i am not saying that the average line cook can whip out an interstitial cystitis elim diet out of their back pocket or anything... but a relatively simple peanut or shellfish allergy is quite easy to accommodate. automated reservation systems keep track of diners with dietary restrictions and ping chefs/reservationists automatically. competent pastry chefs are expected to have a few GF cake recipes (as well as vegan cakes) in their rep these days, when 10-15 years ago, GF folks would be getting a fruit cup or maybe a meringue. allergies are familiar to average home cooks who entertain, so they are certainly more than familiar to folks who make 70-200 covers/night, someone(s) with a restricted diet will be in a restaurant, every single night . the big five, sometimes the big 7 allergens are identified on written serv-safe managerial exams, so even school lunch ladies and institutional foodservice workers know this stuff....

                                                                                                                    as far as bravo goes, there are lots of reasons to diss the production or editing or website, but give them some credit where it is due-- you can search the top chef recipes using 20 different dietary considerations, including gluten free, lactose free, peanut free, and tree nut free. the effort is clearly being made to help people with a variety of dietary restrictions, and imo this is admirable and progressive and just as it should be. i just don't see the basis--at all-- for the overwhelmingly negative responses.

                                                                                                                2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                  There's a local chef who prepares only a 24 course tasting menu, and he stops by tables before you eat to ask if you have any food allergies or other special requirements, a really thoughtful touch.

                                                                                                      2. So I thought Grayson deserved to go home. She did turn out to be a very likeable character but her food has never seemed as impressive or tailored? as the other chefs'.
                                                                                                        The whole vibe with Pee Wee felt awkward. He's older now and has a hard time making that voice all the time, so it was like he was in that very awkward character only some of the time. Also he had that scandal a while ago that in retrospect was not a big deal but kind of ruined his reputation as a child star.
                                                                                                        Anyway, if it were the PW of 30 yrs ago I would've been better with it- but the challenge I thought did demonstrate skills. It required a lot of thought and logistical preparation that are indicative of talent and preparedness. The bike was just meant to add an extra layer of physical exhaustion. don't get me wrong, I prefer most of the past season challenges to this. it's gotten a little old that they have only had one real meal the entire season, plus restaurant wars. But I do think they ended up with the people in the top 4 who I expected at the very beginning to be there. that doesn't always happen. these guys are tough and talented. i can't wait to see how many finale episodes there are and wehre they'll be. is that known?

                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: fara

                                                                                                          i never post here and only lurk to read all of your comments and read lindawhits awesome summary but i have to chime and agree. the worst season ever. almost worse than the hosea season although i like ed and paul much more than i liked hosea. i pretty much blocked that season out of my mind but i feel like they did more real cooking. and peewee? ugh! i used to love PW Herman but and yes if it was PW of 30 yrs ago then it may have worked but it was awkward. the show is turning in to one giant tie in with analon, healthy choice, glad bags, GE, the snow white movie etc, etc. so i expected some sort of promotional tie in with PW but turns out he was just a lame guest. what happened? thomas Keller called in sick? they might as well have had rachel ray be the guest judge. at least she has a cooking show. thanks lindawhit for the summaries! i always look forward to reading them.

                                                                                                          1. re: fara

                                                                                                            Yes, they just filmed in Vancouver.

                                                                                                            1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                              Any more news up there in Vancouver about what happened - maybe post any spoilers in a seperate thread for those who want to jump the final shark?

                                                                                                              1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                Sorry, I only know what I've seen on CH:

                                                                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/828747

                                                                                                                No spoilers there (so far at least). You know how clandestine TC is.

                                                                                                          2. i just have to ask, did anyone else notice Ed's comment during the QF that he realized he only had 5 minutes left and he was just pouring his batter into the *Anolon* pan? heaven forbid we could get through one episode without a gratuitous plug for some sponsor or advertiser. i'm beginning to think there's some secret incentive/prize for the chef who logs the most name-drops throughout the season.

                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                              would you rather hear ed say "anolon pan" or see a thirty or sixty second commercial for anolon pans?
                                                                                                              t.v. shows cost money. t.v. shows are put on the air to make money. and so it goes.

                                                                                                              1. re: linus

                                                                                                                it's not an either/or situation - you still see *plenty* of Toyota ads during TC commercial breaks even though the contestants are so fond of telling us how they jump into their Toyota Sienas to drive everywhere.

                                                                                                                oh, and thanks for the lesson in economics. i never would have known that TV shows cost money to produce and that their purpose is to make money if you hadn't enlightened me.

                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                  you're welcome. your post led me to that conclusion.
                                                                                                                  of course it's an either/or situation. EITHER the show makes money any and every way it can, OR it won't be on the air.
                                                                                                                  those product placements you object to, which, by the way, you can't zoom by on your DVR like you can the toyota ads, help pay for the show. if they're not there, the show isn't. simple as.

                                                                                                              2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                It's plausible that Ed just figured he'd get more airtime if he casually namedropped one of the sponsors. He seems like a reasonably savvy guy. That's the kind of thing that Spike used to do a lot - deliberately give sound bites that he knew would be useful in setting up the drama of the show or else that mentioned the sponsors in one way or another. It seems to work pretty well in terms of building face time and 'brand' recognition.

                                                                                                              3. Weak challenge, weak chefs, weak season. Is there anything to be read into the fact that Tom has not posted a blog for several weeks? I'll go out on a limb and predict this is his last season wiht the show.

                                                                                                                jb

                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                  Well he is doing the live twittering during the show. But I have noticed that he hasn't blogged since the last good episode either. I attributed it to him being ashamed/annoyed by the lack of good challenges. What could he possibly say about the last two episodes? "Um, we have six contenstants left who we have been touting as the best yet and we gave them yet another Top Catering challenge." Or "Um, we have five chefs left who we know can really knock it out of the ballpark culinary-wise and our guest chef is... PeeWee."

                                                                                                                  1. re: lbs

                                                                                                                    Tom said very nice things about Pee Wee on WWHL.

                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                      yes - but it is still PeeWee Herman judging. I have no problem with him as a guest chef but not with five chefs left. It just seemed that it was an out of order episode.

                                                                                                                      1. re: lbs

                                                                                                                        Yeah, Muppets and Pee Wee should only happen early on.

                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                          i wonder if it came down to logistics:

                                                                                                                          --hey we don't have enough cameras to follow a dozen doofuses on bikes, not happening.
                                                                                                                          --well what would be the least number of doofuses you *could* follow around?
                                                                                                                          --like, five.
                                                                                                                          --okay, let's do it when there are five, then.

                                                                                                                          despite the lameness, i actually thought it could have been quite a bit worse, all things considered.

                                                                                                                      2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                        Yes, I walked away thinking that Tom really enjoyed PWHs company.....

                                                                                                                        1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                          PWH was invited to participate. Even if he did not enjoy the guest judge do you think Tom would have let us know about it? People here specualated that Tom did not like the Dallas couple at the dinner party challenge but that's all just speculation on one eye roll, that may or may not have been shown in context.

                                                                                                                  2. Seriously? Nobody has mentioned Hugh's blog yet? SO. MANY. GREAT. LINES. Go. Read. I'll wait...
                                                                                                                    http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/seaso...
                                                                                                                    --
                                                                                                                    First rule of Blazer Club: Do not sleep in the blazer.

                                                                                                                    May the big blue blazer always cover his Louisville slugger.

                                                                                                                    We learn that Grayson comes from a competitive family and her Uncle John lost his left eye in a contentious day of Monopoly down by the river in ’78

                                                                                                                    Ed has found himself in a bed and breakfast and is re-enacting an episode of Fawlty Towers, the one where John Cleese tries really hard not to offend the Germans.

                                                                                                                    He is making chicken carpaccio, which is dangerously delicious.
                                                                                                                    --
                                                                                                                    You other ladies can HAVE Eric Ripert et al. I am Team Hugnibrow ALL THE WAY.

                                                                                                                    18 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                                                      bwah!!! "May the big blue blazer always cover his Louisville slugger" is my favorite.

                                                                                                                      okay, it's not really even worth the read - particularly after Hugh's - but since we post Silvestri's recap every week, here it is...
                                                                                                                      http://eater.com/archives/2012/02/02/...

                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                        Louisville Slugger was brilliant, and my favorite until...The Fawlty Towers allusion was the one that REALLY got me. Because it was so SPOT ON.

                                                                                                                        I seriously heart that man. I believe the food was fabulous, but I also found this episode to be overly contrived, even for a Bravo show. And I was ALL ABOUT the Muppet/cookie quickfire in AS (the Muppeteers had, IMO, really well thought-out critiques, and delivered them with excellent humor), and even enjoyed them diving for conch in the Bahamas, just because it looked like fun. I would have said the same about biking around San Antonio, if it weren't for the absolute insanity of the heat. We might all feel differently about this challenge had ANY of the chefs appeared to enjoy it.

                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                          i thought there were some good things in Eater, like "Each and every restaurant agrees ALMOST as if the producers had gotten prior clearances from five and only five San Antonio restaurants".

                                                                                                                          And this:

                                                                                                                          After the service, the chefs stew in the stew room. There is lots of empty talk about camaraderie. Lindsay says, "I always joke that chefs are like traveling vagabonds," which is just a great, strong joke. Ed says it was an honor to cook alongside everyone. When Padma calls all five in, Sarah says, "We stand as one." Yes, you have been the very model about unity this entire season, Sarah. You are the fourth Musketeer.

                                                                                                                          Why has Hugh barely judged this season after them making it sound he'd be a regular?

                                                                                                                          1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                            Joanie, the same thing happened when Tony Bourdain was a judge, he was on a few episodes then disappeared. I don't know why they do that...

                                                                                                                            I love Hugh as a judge and blogger, just as a loved Bourdain. The two of them together would make me happy as a clam, they bring a lot of life into the judging and blogging.

                                                                                                                            1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                              Yeah I was thinking about that happening with AB too, who disappeared for most of the last half of the season. A bit of a bummer since they're interesting personalities (more so than Emeril).

                                                                                                                              Go Pats.

                                                                                                                              1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                                I think it's the commitment. Not everyone can take an entire month off straight. Tom and Padma get the really big bucks to do it. My guess is the guest judges can maybe do a few days here and a few there... I bet Hugh and Emeril return together for the finale.

                                                                                                                          2. re: Wahooty

                                                                                                                            I liked "I need a stage name. Slappy McDimwit may work." :-)

                                                                                                                            1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                                                              "Drinking makes my writing a bit easier to understand, and I recommend something culled from the Girl Drink Drunk skits on Kids in the Hall. Get those blenders set up."

                                                                                                                              lol....Girl Drink Drunk was the best skit. Hugh is the man.

                                                                                                                              1. re: lawgirl3278

                                                                                                                                I miss Kids in the Hall. That was such a good comment from Hugh!

                                                                                                                              2. re: Wahooty

                                                                                                                                And my question is, why(?) is he in a blazer and shirt? Surely there are events we don't see on Top Chef that they must go to?

                                                                                                                                It appeared that our wonderful Ed had been out at an event where he got his drinky on - in said blazer and ended up sleeping in his top-half outfit (to hide his loiusville slugger, of course).

                                                                                                                                I would LOVE out takes later of how that all went down, as to WHY that man is sleepin' in de blazer...

                                                                                                                                1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                  When they're filming Top Chef, there are no outside events except what is scheduled by the producers as part of the show. It helps prevent any information about the show getting out before the episodes air. They're pretty much secluded in the house if they're not filming a challenge.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                    Thanks for the info LindaWhit... but then, WHY was he in a blazer and shirt? I didn't mean he had been 'out on the town on his own"... just thought there might be occasional soirees that involve FN brass, etc. an there was some reason he was dressed that way?

                                                                                                                                    It kind of made no sense if 'they are pretty much secluded in the house if they're not in a challange"? Isn't anyone else curious why he would be wearing that outfit?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                      It is quite possilbe Ed was in a blazer and shirt because it was suggested to him by one of the Elves.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                        It's quite possible that they went on a bender at the house (they're always provided with lots of alcohol) and they played dress-up. :-) Who knows?

                                                                                                                                        These seasons are filmed in just a little over 30 days...the episodes prior to the finale, that is. That's been confirmed by Tom in interviews. And we're talking about the 13th episode in this thread. That averages to about 1 episode every 2 days or so. There's *no* time for them to have any occasional soirees with Bravo brass (not FN). All they're doing is thinking about each challenge; or sleeping or trying to wind down at the TC house.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                      I have to admit, I LOVED that they showed that clip with absolutely no explanation. :D

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                                                                        Well, Wahooty, I loved it, but was super curious. May be my red hair and curious nature, but what up?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                          Ah, but it's probably more fun to let our imaginations run with it than to know the actual truth. Or, at the very least, wonder until the reunion, or an episode of WWHL after Ed is eliminated. ;)

                                                                                                                                      2. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                        Am I the only one who thought the jacket and shirt looked a tad too crisp to have been slept in all night? That's how I remember them, anyhoo.

                                                                                                                                    3. For the most part could have done without this episode. It felt more like an episode of The Next Food Network Star. I don't mind Pee Wee. In fact Pee Wee/Paul Rubins seemed to be fairly knowledgeable on food. However it was quite annoying for him to be there at judges table. I'd be pissed to have worked extremely hard only to be eliminated by a clown who is not really taking things seriously.

                                                                                                                                      1. Fucking joke of an episode. Seriously. Tom should be ashamed. This season is even worse than the bore-a-thon that Hosea won.

                                                                                                                                        1. Hate PWH...ridiculously annoying. I like that they have "outside" judges, but I'd like to see more mainstream people. It's like some of the other TV shows...they start of with relatively "normal" people and gradually get stranger and stranger (think Wife Swap and others like that).

                                                                                                                                          1. Thinking about this season and the players who are left, I sort of feel like Ed, Sarah and Lindsay are all sort of there by default -- i.e. it's not that they have been cooking such fabulous food, it's more that they haven't made any truly egregious mistakes. Really, is any of them a better chef than Paul? I think it would be a true miscarriage of justice if anyone but Paul wins this season, and saying that, I'm just not that excited about Paul either!

                                                                                                                                            12 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                              Having just eaten at Uchiko, I am now wholeheartedly in Paul's camp. It was truly a phenomenal meal, and I've been very fortunate in my life to eat at many a great restaurant. I would EASILY put it up against many a place on either coast.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: a213b

                                                                                                                                                I am with you a213b; Uchiko is a pretty phenomenal meal. I was blown away at first meal a couple years ago, and had another last year.

                                                                                                                                                I am on Team Paul, as I think he has a lot to bring to the table beyond the sillyness of riding a bike, and yet, I think he did great while having to ride the bike, be in a kitchen that he doesn't know, and deal with 105 degree heat.
                                                                                                                                                Glad he is still in it! I vote for him to go the distance.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                Agree with all you said, rox. My top three after having seen the show up to now would have been Chuy, Nyesha, and Paul.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                        I'm not getting why you all can't see the potential of Chuy. As I noted to cowboyardee below, he was a good leader, and well respected, and the dishes he was responsible for were well liked. Braised Goat Birria? A top-favored chili for hundreds of Texans? I would have liked to have seen more from him.

                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, his salmon with goat cheese was a debacle (TX housewives dinner party). But I still liked him, and had he not effed up that much, I'd bet that Chris Crary would have gone home that episode for those god-awful cupcakes. (Or even Chris Jones for the obscene "cigar" appetizer.) And I think Crary *should* have gone home for them. But I wasn't tasting the food.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                          I'm with you Linda. I would have liked to see him go further. He seemed to be on a roll, and then had a bad dish. For an industry with so many hispanics, it seems a shame that one hasn't gone further in this competition.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                            +2. chuy had won half of the challenges, in a much bigger field of competitors, before he was eliminated. he could have given paul a run for the money and we may have seen much more exciting food, rather than all of this playing it safe bs.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                        I'm wondering the same thing as GHG. Both you and Soupkitten (IIRC) have spoken highly of Chuy's cooking, and I know you both know your food. But what are you seeing that I'm not? Is his restaurant really great? Or did he make a dish early in the season that showed real brilliance but also sort of flew under the radar?

                                                                                                                                                        Paul's an obvious pick.

                                                                                                                                                        Nyesha seems really strong as well, though I must note that the format of LCK might have actually been a little more favorable to good cooking than the challenges on the show. In any case, beating 5 of her competitors was quite impressive, and I can't argue with placing her near the top of this season's list, talent-wise.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                          I thought if Chuy had moved further, we would have seen some really good dishes from him. I'm only basing it on what he did early on - he did, after all, was part of the win for the first two ECs (and was the leader of the team that won the first EC in Episode 3). He seemed like a leader in the kitchen, and one that others respected.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                          Linda, they would be my choices as well.

                                                                                                                                                      3. Grayson's TV Guide interview - I haven't seen it posted here...

                                                                                                                                                        http://www.tvguide.com/News/Top-Chef-...

                                                                                                                                                        1. What a farce of an episode with that, uh, "character" - and the bicycling and "random-kitchen" nonsense. ::Shakes head::

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                            But, hey, at least they didn't have them cook in a movie theater. Sorry, someone had to go there...

                                                                                                                                                          2. This season is sadly lacking in strong characters.

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hal2010

                                                                                                                                                              Well, either that or the most notable characters are notable for being unpleasant, except for Grayson.

                                                                                                                                                            2. Stupid. Just stupid.
                                                                                                                                                              Loved the part where the contestant gets charged with making eggs for the B&B guests. Maybe they could have asked him to juggle some knives, too.

                                                                                                                                                              1. Probably one of the worst episodes of Top Chef I have ever endured. Unlike some, I don't feel that the contestants this season are untalented, I'd say it's the show that's not allowing them to shine.

                                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                                                                                                  I think they're doing the best they can all the while having both hands tied behind their backs.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                    I don't think having a wacky new challenge every show is really true to the competition. And of course they have to tie in a celebrity shilling their latest movie or favorite brand of frozen dinners. It's made for some really silly episodes where luck has more to do with the outcome than skill.

                                                                                                                                                                    Is it Top Chef... or Survivor Chef... or I'm a Chef, Get me out of Here?

                                                                                                                                                                    The show has jumped the grilled Mako shark steak with pineapple salsa.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hal2010

                                                                                                                                                                      Make it a sou vide Mako shark steak with pineapple salsa foam.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                        And grilled ramps.

                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, wait, no. That's Chopped.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hal2010

                                                                                                                                                                          Ramps should be pureed on Chopped, just to make Alex G cry.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                            Alex G is one huge reason I don't watch Chopped. The other two are Scott Conant and Aaron Sanchez. Actually, I am not a fan of any of the judges on that show.

                                                                                                                                                                2. Pee Wee still scares me. More so I think with all the wrinkles. This season is a waste. Thank you Linda for sticking it out.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. I expect to be roundly booed for this... but has anyone else noticed how polite, happy and civil all the chefs seem to each other now that Bev has been gone?

                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                      I think they may have reached the point of being numb. After all the abuse, they really don't care all that much what happens at this point. They've all made it pretty far and they just accept their fate. Still, Paul wasn't thrilled with Grayson following him on the bikes and the way that Sarah didn't talk (and tried not even to look at her) after poaching Lindsay's restaurant spoke volumes. They're also all pretty much flying solo at this point so there's not too much someone else's doings or mis-doings can impact you so no problem playing nice.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                        I think it's more related to Heather and Sarah not being in the same room with Beverly. The condescending manner in which Heather and Sarah talked down at Beverly caused a LOT of tension in the group dynamic and most of the group didn't want to get involved. Beverly leaving or both Heather and Sarah leaving would have settled things down.

                                                                                                                                                                        From what I've seen on the show I actually side with Beverly on this - Heather and Sarah seem to be both uncomfortable in their own skin and have some lingering insecurities. Their language and tonal inflection in how they talk to Beverly is how mothers speak to their 5 year olds.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                          I didn't notice that til Sarah was gone, actually.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Blogger Vanessa Becknell cites this episode as one of the reasons (along with Charlize Theron) as to why this is the best season of Top Chef, writing "So there he is -- riding into the kitchen and straight into my heart -- to take part in the most exciting and fun elimination Top Chef has ever offered."

                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vanessa...

                                                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                            I think you've found the buyer of three wolves howling at the moon t-shirts and velour sweatpants that say full of juice on the rear.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                              Makes sense if she knows nothing about food and cooking, because if you take that out of the competition then Pee Wee Herman and Charlize Theron would be "THAT good"

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                                What an incredibly annoying piece of writing. She (Becknell) comes across like my clueless Aunt trying to be hip.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                  Vanessa looks too young to be an aunt. I didn't think she was so annoying, mostly just wrong. When does Top Chef Masters start?

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                                  That tells you why this show has mostly become stupider and less and less about the food and more and more about the "celebrity" judges and the product placements.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                    Regarding "Celebrity" judges - someone like Charlize Theron, yes; but Pee Wee Herman? I personally can't stand the very notion of that infantile man-child cartoon caricature let alone watch him. It's, uh, interesting how some folks simply adore him. (I don't mind Paul Reubens/Rubenfeld himself)

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                                    i just Googled and dug up her bio. nothing in her background or interests to indicate any knowledge about food or cooking, and she doesn't sound like a pop culture/reality TV expert either. hardly surprising after reading that inane article. i really hope she's not another Danyelle Freeman in training...

                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Very excited to report that I am having dinner tonight at Uchiko in Austin. I made the reservations several weeks ago and did not even put together that it was Top Chef night (I had resigned myself to watching it on Friday when I get home from my trip). When they called yesterday to confirm my reservation, the hostess stated that at 9pm they will put the show on a screen in the restaurant to watch the episode and that Paul will be amongst us.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I will report in how the food is, any specials for the occasion, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Samlev

                                                                                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: samlev

                                                                                                                                                                                          How exciting! Can't wait to hear how it goes... wondering if you will be giving us any 'spoilers'...

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: samlev

                                                                                                                                                                                            Very cool. Looking forward to reading your write-up.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                              I will take and post some pictures as well of the food, etc. Hopefully, I can get a picture of myself with Paul. As for spoilers, I will not be doing that. I had this season spoiled 2 weeks ago accidentally and the worst part is I did it to myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: samlev

                                                                                                                                                                                                "I had this season spoiled 2 weeks ago accidentally and the worst part is I did it to myself."
                                                                                                                                                                                                ______
                                                                                                                                                                                                Sorry to hear that. After the finale, do share. Sounds like an interesting story in its own right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I will share it after the finale. I would never want to spoil the season for anyone, even one as lackluster as this one has been up to now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: samlev

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for the no spoilers in these threads until the last finale episode, samlev. :-) Even as tame as this season as been, I know I'd prefer waiting to see who wins as it happens.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: samlev

                                                                                                                                                                                              Enjoy! And BTW, post your review on the appropriate TX board and then link it here, otherwise the Mods might remove your post from here.