HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >


Top Chef Texas - Ep. #14 - 02/08/12 (Spoilers)

Well, we're getting down to the wire - there are just 4 cheftestants left.......HEAD FAKE! There *will* be five, once the surprise LCK winner returns to the TC Kitchen.

The shows starts off with the 4 chefs betting back at the house who will be coming back - Ed bets a pack of cigarettes, and Sarah bets a banana....Sarah said "A pack of cigarettes and a banana - sounds like a good night!"

They return to the TC kitchen in the morning, and Tom and Padma are there. And who joins them? It's BEVERLY!!! The looks on Sarah and Lindsay's faces were priceless! Tom tells them if Beverly continues to cook the way she did in LCK, they're in trouble.

For Quickfire, they lift the cloche and there are blindfolds. They'll be competing in a blindfolded pantry raid. Once they're done picking their pantry items, they can remove their blindfolds and start cooking. They *must* use all ingredients they pick and have 30 minutes to "shop" and cook.

The winner gets a CHOICE for the QF win...an all new Prius V OR a guaranteed spot in the final rounds.

They start their search with Tom and Padma directing them if they're off course. Lindsay's going for seafood, and Sarah's going for soup ingredients. Edward notes that the meats are in cryovac bags, so they can't feel them or smell them.

Sarah and Lindsay holler out that they're ready to cook and they can remove their blindfolds.

Interesting choices they weren't aware they had chosen - Beverly got an avocado, Edward got pork casings (instead of pancetta), and Lindsay got mascarpone instead of creme fraiche.

Beverly's WAY behind in her meal preparation but gets everything on the plate.

BEVERLY - Striped Bass with Avocado, Lime and Jalapeno - the fish is undercooked

PAUL - Sauteed Prawn with Thai-Style Tomato Salad - Tom asks if he feels the prawn is undercooked, but Paul says it's at the place he wants it to be.

EDWARD - "Udon" with Ribbons of Zucchini, Mushrooms and Scallions - the pork casings' water was used as the base for the soup and seemed to be enjoyed.

SARAH - Corn Soup with Onion, Red Chili, Roasted Mushrooms and Peaches - Padma asks if she's ever done the mushroom/peach combo, and Sarah says no, but she's trying to push the limit.

LINDSAY - Fish with Bulgar Wheat, Mascarpone, and Broccoli Rabe - Padma asks her if she had any problems in the pantry, and Lindsay replies that she walked into a wall a couple of times. Tom says cryptically "hopefully you didn't metaphorically walk into a wall." Whoa. Lindsay doesn't look happy with that statement!

Tom reviews all of the dishes, and Edward and Sarah have the top two dishes. The winner is? SARAH. So she gets to choose either the car or the guaranteed spot - and she takes the guaranteed spot. Both Paul and Ed would have taken the car, to make sure they WIN their way in to the finale vs. being given the spot.

NOTE: I'm curious what people think about Sarah taking the open spot in the finale vs. the car and cooking herself INTO the finale? And not really caring what the other 4 think?

Padma and Tom bring in each chef's mentors who have all had major impacts on their careers, so each chef introduces their mentors:

Sarah's mentor - Chef Tony Mantuano from Spiaggia
Lindsay's mentor - Michelle Bernstein from Michy's
Beverly's mentor - Chef Sarah Stegner from Prairie Grass Cafe
Paul's mentor - Chef Tyson Cole from Uchi
Edward's mentor - Frank Crispo of Crispo Restaurant

Everyone - chefs and mentors - are very emotional during the introductions. Their Elimination Challenge is to impress their mentors - they are to make a dish that will fulfill and exceed their mentors' expectations of them. They have 2.5 hours to prep in the TC kitchen, and they'll have 1 hour to cook the next day in the kitchen at the Hotel Valencia. The winner of the EC will get a Toyota Prius V.

Because Sarah won the QF and chose a spot in the finals, she doesn't have to compete in the challenge - she gets to relax with Chef Tony Mantuano. They take off to relax. Meanwhile, the other cheftestants gets to talk with their mentor about what they might will be cooking.

They then get into a Prius V and talk about the headroom, blah, blah, blah. Off to Whole Foods to do their shopping. Edward can't get fresh oysters, so he buys canned smoked oysters. Lindsay can't find calamari or octopus, so who knows what she ends up getting. They head back to prep.

Meanwhile, Sarah and Chef Mantuano head off to Citrus Restaurant for lunch and some tequila. Prep shows some chefs confident, some not so confident. Edward notes that if he loses a spot in the finale because Beverly came back and took it, he's going to be "really pissed!" (Hmm....a foretelling?)

Thirty minutes left for prep, and some are under the gun to finish. But they get everything on the racks to go into the walk-ins. Beverly returns to the TC house. She unpacks and they sit down to dinner. Beverly asks if they were surprised to see her return, and Sarah says (rather nasally and blandly, as if she doesn't mean it), "No." Lindsay asked what both Grayson and Beverly made, and Beverly briefly described what each made (Grayson made a seared scallop and Beverly a pan-seared snapper). Beverly said attention to detail was what won it for her. Lindsay said in the confessional that she had had problems with Beverly but she's back and she just has to beat her. Edward said "We were all excited because we thought we were the Final Four."

The next morning, Paul is shown on the phone with his girlfriend before they head out to the Hotel Valencia and finish their prep. Beverly notes that since she's doing a wok dish, she has to cook in small batches, so the most important time for her will be the last 10 minutes. Cook too early, and it will sit and wilt; too late and she risks not finishing her plating. Meanwhile Paul notes most of yesterday was cooking for him, but today was mostly assembly - with 14 steps to plate it. Lindsay is making a "unique interpretation of seafood stew."

The judges arrive at Citrus. They are the 4 mentors, Hugh, Gail, Tom and Padma.

BEVERLY is first up - Gulf Shrimp and BBQ Pork with Singapore Noodles - Tom was impressed by her cooking in a wok for so many people and Sarah thought the dish was very good.

LINDSAY - Seafood "Stew" with Mussels, Clams, local Gulf Shrimp over Toasted Couscous with a Broth of Emulsified Cream - Michelle Bernstein and Hugh both thought the various seafood was cooked perfectly, but Frank Crispo thought there was a bit of overpowering raw thyme flavor at the end.

PAUL - Chilled Sunchoke and Dashi Soup with Summer Vegetables - Michelle's first spoonful of the soup she thought was overly salty, but Hugh noted it was perfectly balanced with the unseasoned vegetables. Tom noted that Paul had been cooking a lot of Thai food, and this soup was something *not* seen from him all season. His mentor, Tyson Cole, said this is it is everything that had been preached to Paul over the years - balance of flavors. Back in the kitchen, Lindsay tries his soup and says "Wow, that is nice!"

EDWARD - Braised Pork Belly and Smoked Oyster Crema with Pickled Vegetables - Gail said that Ed packed the plate with a ton of flavor. Frank said he went back to his roots - he expressed what he likes to eat and prepare; Tom said he wasn't a fan of that particular oyster sauce. Both Gail and Michelle both think he needs to package his pickled vegetables and sell them.
NOTE - during the commercial, I realized "Wait! There's only 4 dishes - where the hell is Sarah's dish?" I started to back up the DVR before realizing Sarah did NOT have to cook! LOL
They're back in the Stew Room, and Sarah comes back in. Edward notes how daunting their challenges were during the season. Padma comes in and asks to see all of them, except Sarah. So Sarah gets to sit and wait in the Stew Room allllll byyyyyyy herrrrrrsellllffff.....don't wanna be....allllll byyyyy herrrrrsellllffff....anymore....

Tom said the judges were impressed, and their mentors were all pleased with the dishes. Tom told Paul that he had a lot of nerve to come in with a cold soup, but said he knew *when* to stop adding more flavors. For Beverly, Tom asked how she cooked for so many people, and Beverly said she had two woks with two batches. Tom noted how risky it was because you can't go back and reseason.

Padma announces that Paul and Beverly had their favorite dishes. Majorly CRUSHED looks from both Lindsay and Edward. Paul and Beverly will both be moving on to the finale, but PAUL wins and gets the Prius V! Woo hoo!!! He da man!

They leave the kitchen and go back into the Stew Room, where Sarah is. Beverly points to Paul as the winner. Sarah hugs him, but doesn't seem to say anything except a brief "congratulations" to Beverly. of course, there could have been those Elves doing something with the editing showing no hug from Sarah to Beverly.

So it's Lindsay and Edward in the bottom group. Gail noted that the aroma of Lindsay's dish was intoxicating, but asked why she added the cream. Lindsay thought it needed some fat to bring it together, but she realizes it would have been fine without as she had made a brown butter. Hugh noted that the herbs were overpowering - Tom said you'd be tasting a wonderful spoonful of the stew, and then you'd be chewing on the dried herbs.

For Edward, his pickled vegetables were wonderful, but the oyster sauce was just off. Hugh asked if they were canned, and Edward said yes, there were no fresh oysters available at all. Tom seemed very interested in the fact Edward had no access to fresh oysters (I'm wondering if he's going to say later at JT that he should have changed the conception of the dish and use something else that was fresh?) They leave and Lindsay asks if he had any bourbon to drink while waiting. Edward quietly notes that it's going to be him going home and not Lindsay before they enter the Stew Room.

Back at JT, the judges discuss the details of their two dishes. Each took missteps - Lindsay knew she made mistakes, but didn't try to fix the dish. Edward's oyster sauce was brought up - and sure enough, Tom noted that he ended up choosing the canned smoked oysters instead of changing the recipe. Hugh said "don't get fixated on the recipe; go to the market and see what's there and then cook from there."

So...who is it going to be going home? I think it'll be Edward leaving due to those oysters, although I'd LOVE to see him stay. We're back at JT, and Padma tells Edward to PPYKAG. Sadz. :-( Beverly noted that it's ironic that she idolized Edward, and she made it past him in the competition. They toast with champagne first to Edward, and to the four of them for making it.

Previews show they're in Vancouver, BC, cooking outside in the freezing cold! THIS ought to be interesting! Going from the heat of TX to the cold of Vancouver!

And that's it for tonight, folks. Time for bed - there IS no LCK tonight, although damned if I didn't go to Bravo's site looking for it! LOL

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I had to pause the playback to allow for my laughter when Ed said he had pork casings. Would have loved for him to win just for that.

    Paul please. PLEASE!!

    1. What a terrible episode. "I lost to bev" should be a t-shirt for all the losers.

      28 Replies
      1. re: kristina_kim

        as much as bev was a space cadet during the show, when it comes down to make a damn good dish she apparently came through.

        this is one of the issues i have with top chef. i get its any week you make a bad dish you go home. but ed was a star and not having him in the finale is a shame. i don't like they gave sarah the chance for spot in the final 4. at this point immunity for a quick fire is unfair.

        1. re: arjunsr

          I absolutely agree that immunity at this point is wrong. Ridiculous.
          I'm pretty disappointed that Ed isn't going on, but I had a feeling it would happen as soon as canned oysters made their way into his cart.

          1. re: debbiel

            agreed. It was a fairly obvious mistake, IMO.

            1. re: debbiel

              yep. that decision plus his comment about how pissed off he'd be if Bev came back and took his spot in the finale made it pretty obvious [to me, anyway] that he was out.

              perhaps my memory is playing tricks on me, but i could swear that someone in a past season made the same mistake of using canned smoked oysters in a dish and went home for it. does anyone else remember that? (did i make it up? was it on a different show?)

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                I don't remember if it was oysters, but it was something very close, but cannot remember who it was. I think it was last year or a recent past season.

                1. re: mcf

                  I'm not sure if it was in the early days of top chef or another show, but I too remember someone had brought a tinned product for their big meal, and it failed.

                  1. re: Bellachefa

                    I thought that happened on one of the "other" reality cooking shows, like maybe G. Ramsay's ??? It was someone who had never cooked with oysters at all and thought canned would be ok.

                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  The funny thing is, Beverly did not take his spot, Lindsey did.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I believe you're right. And there was also the frozen scallop incident.

                    1. re: perk

                      That really baffled me. Frozen scallops and shrimp are the way to go. Fresh is only good if you live by the ocean. The vast majority of what you buy in markets and what is served in restaurants has been frozen.

                3. re: arjunsr

                  +2 on Quickfire immunity. Granted, they didn't call it that, but that's what it was. And NO surprise that Sarah took it.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    I agree immunity at this point for a random quickfire is dumb. Sarah should have taken the car! At least she would have something when Paul beats her in the finale. But it really does show her lack of confidence.

                    This season has been pretty boring IMO. The challenges have been totally random, most have strange elements/constraints and are not about who can make the best food. Besides that, I think it's been pretty obvious Paul is the best in that group since the 4th episode, so there's not really any suspense over who is going to win.

                      1. re: Firenzilla

                        I recall writing this same reply somewhere else in this thread. Ed got an automatic entry into the finale for winning a QF in the second to the last episode when they were already at the finale destination of Singapore and there were four and not five chefs still in the running so it has been done before.

                        I agree that much of the reason for the lackluster season has been the producers' fault and not the contestants. They took too much money and direction from Texas. I hope they don't make as many concessions in future competitions.

                    1. re: arjunsr

                      But remember Ed was on the "Bubble" and already had a second chance as was Grayson.

                      1. re: Berheenia

                        But Ed and Grayson were never eliminated and then given a second chance. They were in the "not sure" category.

                    2. re: kristina_kim

                      I don't get what the big deal is with cooking noodles in a wok for lots of people. Any half decent Chinese chef can do that. If Bev served a great dish, fine, but the degree of difficulty isn't what it was made out to be.

                      It is a shame that Ed went home, I think he can give Paul a run for his money. Seems like this season is edited to emphasize the drama between the women (i.e., Sarah, Lindsay, Heather, and Bev). Maybe that's just to give this season something else to focus on other than the lack of talent!

                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                        Very happy for Bev and Paul, I hope they continue to do well. I don't know about the degree of difficulty in regards to wok cooking but Tom was impressed and that's good enough for me. Bev's cooking has been impressive to me all along but I'm partial to her style of cooking. Given the opportunity I would choose to eat food cooked by Paul or Bev over the rest of the pack. Well, I would add Grayson because I think the eating would be huge fun.

                        1. re: Worldwide Diner

                          "Any half decent Chinese chef can do that"

                          The problem with that is that you end up with half decent Chinese food. I've cooked fairly large dishes in a wok and I end up with half decent dishes but since I'm cooking at home for the family, half decent is ok. If you pile too much stuff into that wok it just doesn't cook right - that was the risk. It was actually pretty nervy to try that at this point in the competition. If she ended up with a dish that you could get in most Chinese restaurants, Beverly would be gone.

                          As soon as Ed was picking up those oysters I was thinking "not good" although I thought he might have pulled it off. I would have liked him to move on.

                          Of the 5, I think only Ed and Paul would have taken the car instead of the free pass to the finals although I don't blame Sarah for her decision.

                          Overall, not too bad of a challenge. Not too exciting but at least it was pretty straight foward cooking. Paul is still the guy to beat.

                          1. re: bobbert

                            i agree those two would take the car because they're the most confident. i just wish we could see them in the finale instead of sarah getting a free pass.

                            1. re: arjunsr

                              Agree 100%. Paul night have ended up with 2 Prius Vs - one for the QF and another for the EC. :-) It's going to be bad enough having Lindsay and Sarah both in the final 4, seeing Ed leave made it even worse.. It would have been wonderful to have Paul and Ed in there competing their little hearts out.

                              I also agree with Bobbert re: Paul being the guy to beat. I like him, so hope he wins!

                              1. re: KailuaGirl

                                I would guess the Prius that Ed won for the EC is technically the same one that Sarah turned down. I would guess the contract with Toyota called for them to give away one car, not necessarily two cars.

                                1. re: John E.

                                  I think so too. Wonder what the "prize" for the EC would've been if she'd taken the car? A bottle of wine? :)

                                  1. re: John E.

                                    I would guess the Prius that Ed won for the EC is technically the same one that Sarah turned down.
                                    you mean Paul?

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      Yeah, I don't know why I said Ed. I must have been posting something about Ed at the same time as that post.

                                      1. re: John E.

                                        Those boy chefs. They all look alike. LOL

                            2. re: Worldwide Diner

                              It wasn't too hard compared to some of the stuff the chefs have already done in this competition (Paul cooking three dishes and expediting during RWs, or two hours to cook healthy food for 200 people without grills or refrigeration and while under attack by bees), but it was challenging in a way that the other chefs' dishes were not in this particular challenge. A wok is usually thought of as a good way to make dishes that will be served sequentially, but not so much a way for one person to cook a bunch of dishes that need to be served all at the same time, all well composed and of the highest quality.

                              Maybe a little more fuss over the difficulty than necessary, but I think it was, at heart, a legitimate point.

                              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                Obviously I can't taste the food, but it does seem as though the judges, including Tom, are favoring her, but from here it's really hard to see why.

                            3. BTW, I just checked out the Wikipedia page - Paul has had SIX Elimination Challenge wins. Granted, two were team wins, but still - I think that's the most any chef has had for EC wins going into a finale. (He also had 2 QF wins.)

                              The only other season that came close was Kevin Gillespie in TC5 with 5 EC wins.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                Ah you beat me to it - I was still writing my post.

                                I don't think I would count that first EC win, since it basically just meant that he was on the winning team. But the other 5 are very legitimate, including his other team challenge win (in the BBQ challenge), since he clearly led his team there. Being up there with Kevin G is nothing to scoff at anyway.

                                Also of note - Stefan had 4 EC wins, but also won 4 QFs.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  In the Aftershow thing with Andy Cohen, Padma said that of all the contestants, Kevin is the one she'd like to have sexy times with. Andy said something like "the chubby ginger?" lol.

                                  1. re: secondbecky

                                    "gingie," Andy never says "ginger." He's all about cutesie pie stuff. :-)

                                2. About Sarah choosing the spot: when she was id'd as s top two in qf we both said, "she best take the spot." We just didn't feel she should be too confident about winning a spot in EC.

                                  I hated that they had immunity at this point, but if they do...take if. Take the spot in the finals. I get the pride of winning your way in, but y'know, none of the 4 nfl teams that had a playoff bye said, "no, thanks, we'd rather play our way to the division championships." Play by the rules, take any advantage the game offers you. Did anyone say they wouldn't take immunity in earlier rounds? Why would it be different now?

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: debbiel

                                    that's not an applicable analogy. if you lose in second without selecting the prizes you're going home with nothing.

                                    at least according to the first season people, they want money and exposure. having a guaranteed car usually means a lot.

                                    1. re: arjunsr

                                      Yeah, it's funny to me that people assume she's insecure for taking the guaranteed spot. To me, it's actually more of a gamble - if she loses in the last round, she goes home emptyhanded. Whereas if she takes the car, she has some kind of prize regardless of what happens later.

                                      1. re: piccola

                                        Exactly what I thought - at least she'd have the car...

                                    2. re: debbiel

                                      Your NFL analogy does not work because it's not offered to NFL teams to get extra money to play a first round game to advance in the playoffs.

                                    3. I thought this episode was worth watching, which is better than the last couple. A little more insight into the food this episode too, which was nice. Thoughts:

                                      - I enjoyed the 'cook for your mentor' challenge. Already a cliche on reality TV cooking contests is a whole lot of talk about how everyone takes inspiration from their mothers' cooking. The mentor twist is much more interesting and, IMO, sweeter too. It also lends a kind of intensity and urgency to the challenge that having the chefs cook for their family does not. I liked that everyone was so worried about letting their mentor down - it came off as genuine in a season that so far has been pretty hokey.

                                      - Notice how Bev thanked her mentor for the 'tough love'? Not sure the affection was quite at the same level between those two as it was for the other chefs. Just sayin.

                                      - Sarah probably made the right call by taking automatic bid to the final round. Regardless of the quickfire win, she strikes me as the weakest chef left in the competition.

                                      - Likewise, had he won, Paul would have done the right thing to take the car. Not leaving a whole lot of room for doubt about who's the front-runner this season. Despite the apparent weakness of this season's chefs (which I still think has more to do with the nature of the challenges than the talent level), I think Paul would rank pretty high among previous Top Chef winners. In fact, he has the most elimination challenge wins of any TC contestant in a single season to date.

                                      - Anyone notice Lindsay saying how hard it is to make chicken stock in 2.5 hours (sounded like she said chicken stock, but I thought she was making seafood stock). Just pointing out - she could have used a pressure cooker to good results If she had enough burners or a big enough PC.

                                      - Why is Malibu Chris still fan favorite? Guess there are more people still on MySpace than I'd realized.

                                      - Sorry to see Ed go. Seemed like a nice guy (meltdown in the BBQ challenge aside), and possibly a bit more talented than one or two of the chefs that are left. Some elements on his dish got a lot of praise, so I was a bit surprised he got the boot, but his error might have also been the most egregious.

                                      25 Replies
                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                        " Despite the apparent weakness of this season's chefs (which I still think has more to do with the nature of the challenges than the talent level),"

                                        +1 Going in this group probably had the most impressive resume's of any season. They just have not been given the opportunity to show what they can do.

                                        Watch out for Bev. The girl can cook. If she doesn't have to do crazy, multi-tasking, she's a force to be worried about. I'm thinking Paul, Bev, Lindsay and Sarah in that order.

                                        1. re: bobbert

                                          "Watch out for Bev. The girl can cook. If she doesn't have to do crazy, multi-tasking, she's a force to be worried about."
                                          I'm thinking the same thing. Bev has some obvious weaknesses in how she works, but making food that tastes good when she doesn't have a ton of constraints and teammates seems to be one of her strengths. If I had to bet, I'd say that the finale will come down to the judges picking between Paul and Bev.

                                          I think Sarah is outclassed a bit at this point, which isn't to say that she's dead in the water. Lindsay has some real talent, but she seems to be losing confidence and second guessing herself. Maybe a little wait in between taping this episode and the finale will do her good though.

                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                            That makes you wonder how she would perform in a challenge that involves leading a team consisting of eliminated contestants.

                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                              Interesting. I keep wondering how lindsay managed to stay in. I've been singularly unimpressed with her the whole season. Sarah hasn't been especially "nice," but I've eaten her food at Spiaggia and, while she seems limited to Italian, she can definitely cook that superbly!

                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                I haven't personally eaten either of their food. But Lindsay has made several dishes that really wowed the judges this season - her veal in the second episode, her beef cheeks last episode, her meat ball (I read an account of one of the guests who claimed hers was the tastiest dish there and that apparently her treatment of the quinoa was more interesting and innovative than came across).

                                                Sarah, while seeming competent, hasn't really impressed me with any single dish. Her wins have tended to come when the others haven't done so well, and nothing she's made stands out in my mind. I'm thinking she was a good bet to make it deep into the contest because of her ability to crank out reliably good food, but not a good bet to win because she just doesn't have as much ability to knock people's socks off as the others do.

                                          2. re: cowboyardee

                                            " Despite the apparent weakness of this season's chefs (which I still think has more to do with the nature of the challenges than the talent level),"

                                            this so much! All of the chefs this season have great technique, excellent work experience but it seemed like most of them really didn't have many chances to be chefs and instead had to be caterers and cooks for uninspiring events.

                                            1. re: tjinsf

                                              The more that I think about, the I more that I think that there was a real failure this season was the tone set by the first two challenges. The quinceanera challenge went to the team that was more authentic. The chili cook-off was won by the team that was more traditional. The dinner party for the awful people that followed should have been an opportunity to do really inspired foods without any weird constraints, but .I think a lot of chefs just dropped the ball because they had to deal with freaks.

                                              I can see how those early challenges make sense from a desire to weed out the idiots who failed to put in the research to understand the food and culture of the setting, but it didn't work as well as it could have.

                                              1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                I think the problem was Texas itself. Not that Texas is bad. It’s a fine state. The problem is that somewhere along the line, the producers agreed (read: were paid big bucks - $600,000) to showcase the three cities and “All things Texas”. Tex-Mex, Chili, BBQ, stupid housewives and their husbands, the Alamo, etc. For the first time the cooking took a back seat to the venues and it really hurt the show. The contract with the state dictated a lot of stuff that had to be worked into the show and therefore the stupid challenges. I don’t know if it was a net gain or loss for Bravo ($600,000 cash vs. the loss of viewership/income from other sponsors).

                                                  1. re: bobbert

                                                    + another 10 - especially re: venues taking front seat vs. the cooking.

                                                    1. re: bobbert

                                                      yes, agree wholeheartedly! And even WITH all the Texas promotions going on, the Houston Press still complains that it's not enough Texan.... C'mon, don't you want them to actually COOK??

                                                      1. re: bobbert

                                                        Is there anyway to get comments like this one to the producers? Or maybe to Tom?

                                                        There are so many great ideas in these threads on how to fix a show dying a slow death.

                                                        1. re: bobbert

                                                          The problem I see with your last point is that I doubt they have lost viewers because of their Texas commitments. The people that read and post on Chowhound are certainly not typical Top Chef viewers. My fear is that they have more viewers and will be seeking to get the money and give away the store, so to speak, in future competitions in other states.

                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                            I'm afraid that I have to agree with you.

                                                    2. re: cowboyardee

                                                      Malibu Chris is still fan favorite because each week it has been the same chick "Sheila from Lexington, Ky" who "earned the most points for her fan favorite." Seriously, Sheila needs a life. (and yes I realize the irony of that statement as I sit here and type this on a message board lol)

                                                      1. re: secondbecky

                                                        ROFLMAO! Has it been the same person, becky - really?

                                                        1. re: secondbecky

                                                          Do ya think Sheila's his mother ... or just a desperate long-distance crush?

                                                          1. re: chicgail

                                                            Or a stalker that resembles Glenn Close, who has a hankering for rabbits.

                                                          2. re: cowboyardee

                                                            "- Anyone notice Lindsay saying how hard it is to make chicken stock in 2.5 hours (sounded like she said chicken stock, but I thought she was making seafood stock). Just pointing out - she could have used a pressure cooker to good results If she had enough burners or a big enough PC."

                                                            She did say chicken stock. Surely, she must have misspoken, but I clearly did hear her say that.

                                                            1. re: Leepa

                                                              Seafood stock, unlike say, beef stock, takes only a short time, less than a 1/2 hour to make.

                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                I watched it again last night and she definitely said chicken stock and it appeared to be chicken stock when she poured it into the storage container with all the veggies, etc.

                                                                As mentioned below, she used a combo of chicken and seafood stock in the dish.

                                                              2. re: Leepa

                                                                I looked at the recipe since posting above: it seems she used a mixture of chicken and fish stock, and also used chicken stock for her couscous.

                                                                Still would have been faster with a pressure cooker, but in Lindsay's defense, I believe she was trying for a specific effect inspired by what Michelle Bernstein taught her.

                                                            2. My eyes rolled back in my head so far I had to simply close my eyes at yet more of those OH-MY-GOSH-Clap-Hands-Over-Mouth-BUG-EYES demonstrations. Annoyed that woman is still there.

                                                              Disappointed Ed Lee got sent home over Lindsay Autry. "Knowing her mistake yet doing nothing to fix it" sounds pretty bad to me. The smoked oysters had good taste according to the chef who tasted them in the store; why do the judges have such automatic spasms over canned/tinned anything?

                                                              39 Replies
                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                "The smoked oysters had good taste according to the chef who tasted them in the store; why do the judges have such automatic spasms over canned/tinned anything?"

                                                                I wonder often whether or not the judges know before tasting what ingredients the chefs are using and whether or not they're fresh. It certainly appeared (don't know if it's just good editing) that the judges thought something was "not right" with the oyster sauce and only found out for sure by asking Ed at judges' table. The assumption is that if the oyster sauce tasted, let's say, great it would have never come up where the oysters came from. I'm sure that with my palate I would have not noticed but with those judges? Otherwise, I thought his dish looked amazing and I so wanted to see Ed go to the finale.

                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                  "why do the judges have such automatic spasms over canned/tinned anything?"

                                                                  because 99 percent of the time using canned/tinned ingredients isn't as good as using fresh ingredients and certainly they rarely have the same taste or texture. I think if they picked up the smoked taste then they knew it had to be tinned smoked oysters unless he smoked them himself. Using smoked oysters instead of fresh oysters totally change the flavour of a broth or dish.

                                                                  1. re: tjinsf

                                                                    I agree that fresh is usually better - especially in Western/European cooking - but I wouldn't put it at "99%" of the time. What I had in mind was that there are indeed various foodstuffs that are used because they are dried, smoked, preserved, pickled, tinned, canned, etc - to give *that* specific taste and texture profile you can't get from using the corresponding fresh stuff.*** I don't understand why these judges (if not other folks in general) dismiss all canned/tinned/preserved/etc stuff seemingly so automatically.

                                                                    At other times the foodstuff is just as good - canned tomatoes, for example (especially brands like San Marzano and the like), when used appropriately such as in sauces, ragus, etc. I daresay many Italian chefs use the stuff. Mario Batali, for one, I believe.

                                                                    (BTW isn't caviar almost always - if not always - canned/tinned/bottled? :-) )

                                                                    Ed using the smoked oysters indeed would have changed the taste profile of the dish from what he may have originally intended, however. Still, I am in agreement with chicgail and Nellynel that the *canned* smoked oysters per se didn't seem to be the primary problem, rather it was that the "smoked oyster taste" profile was off in conjunction with the rest of the dish. I remember one of the judges (was it Gail Simmons?) commenting that there was just too much going on and Ed L. could have simply left off the oyster sauce altogether. Then, Hugh Acheson (IIRC) asked if they were canned (tinned?) and *then* the judges went into conniptions...

                                                                    *** In East Asian cooking, dried shiitake musrooms, dried oysters, dried cole, preserved/sour mustard, dried cuttlefish, dried orange peel, waxed duck, waxed/dried belly pork, etc etc (just off the top of my head) are things that are NOT replaceable in dishes that use the said ingredient (and the dish is messed up, or at least is no longer the intended dish, if "fresh" is used). Fresh shiitake mushrooms, for example, are simply too mild and give the wrong texture in many stews/braises [which I also make] where the dried (and reconstituted) mushroom provides a more intense (and subtly different) flavor/taste, besides the requisite texture, in the intended dish.

                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                      People preserve food for one of two reasons. Sometimes for both: food preservation and for concentrating the flavors. As huiray pointed out, the dried mushrooms in Asian cooking will have much stronger flavors after having been preserved.

                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                        The dried mushrooms in *any* cuisine have stronger flavors. Dried mushrooms are prized in the cuisines of middle and eastern europe, for example.

                                                                        And in Spain, canned seafood is a prized delicacy. So, if the judges reaction was just to the canned aspect of the oysters, they are ignorant. The oysters that Ed used weren't even canned (encased and then sealed shut through heat) - they were smoked and then refrigerated.

                                                                        They all seemed to love his pickles, I was hoping that would vault him through over Lyndsey.

                                                                        1. re: 512window

                                                                          I also noticed that and wondered why everyone, including Ed, referred to them as "canned." Unless the editing was misleading, they sure looked cryovac'ed and refrigerated to me.

                                                                          I guess ultimately it doesn't matter if they didn't work with the dish.

                                                                          1. re: 512window

                                                                            I too wondered why everyone was calling them "tinned". He was clearly in the refrigerator section and the container was opened, they were tasted, and then it was sealed back up. I didn't see any tins in sight at all.

                                                                            1. re: Leepa

                                                                              I thought the issue was that they were smoked?

                                                                              1. re: Leepa

                                                                                whether they were canned, tinned, jarred, or plastic containered, the point is that they were precooked & packaged vs raw & fresh.

                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                  No, I disagree. They oyster sauce just didn't taste good. If it tasted delicious, then no one would care how it was sourced.

                                                                                  1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                    I think they dinged him for the flavor of his sauce, and then sort of dinged him again when they figured out exactly why the sauce wasn't so great. If it was a matter of just buying fresh oysters that turned out not to be so great, then I think they would have thought that it was a more understandable mistake. When they found out that he used smoked, preserved oysters, they questioned his judgement, not just his execution or flavors.

                                                                                    Ideally, the judges would probably say they judge only by the flavors on the plate. But in reality, that's just not how people think. If he had just used not-too-great fresh oysters and the taste was the same, I don't know if he would have gone home for it.

                                                                                    Though I agree that if the sauce tasted amazing, the judges probably wouldn't care where the oysters came from.

                                                                                    1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                      my point was that the sauce tasted "off" BECAUSE of the product he used. when he said they were canned & smoked, Tom said "Ah, *that* was it."

                                                                                2. re: 512window

                                                                                  It's one thing to dismiss everything canned or preserved. But we're not talking about European white anchovies or dried mushrooms, and neither were the judges. Is anyone willing to vouch for smoked oysters as sold in American supermarkets? The ones I've had weren't inedible or anything, but they sure weren't competition-worthy either. IME, they seem to pick up metallic flavors really easily, develop an unpleasant sort of crumbly texture, and a smoke flavor that is somehow simultaneously both overpowering and indistinct.

                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                    I eat smoked oysters when I go camping and the taste is NOTHING like fresh, the smoke is very pronounce and the oyster have the texture more of a liver than the more gelatinous of fresh oysters.

                                                                                    There is also a big difference between prepared tinned food and something you are preserving and canning to change the taste or texture.

                                                                                    The judges have dinged people for using frozen scallop, canned veggies etc. the bottom line is they have a strong preference for fresh food and if you do want something pickled or smoked they expect you to do it yourself.

                                                                              2. re: huiray

                                                                                agree but I'd still much rather have homemade kimchee than some jarred stuff. Having grown up in Malaysia I'm pretty well versed in a lot of Asian cooking but thanks for the refresher I guess.

                                                                                canned durian is just so yummy. not.

                                                                                1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                  I'm in the camp where durian is NEVER yummy. lol

                                                                                  1. re: dave_c

                                                                                    Maybe in a parallel universe far far away.

                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                      Is your post in praise of durian, Phaedrus?

                                                                                    2. re: dave_c

                                                                                      seriously unless you eat if right when it's cut, it's not that great but fresh it's amazing!

                                                                              3. re: huiray

                                                                                My guess is that Ed's dish did taste much worse and there was some editing to make it appear closer. He seemed to think he was going home.

                                                                                There was that time in Top Chef Masters where Hugh Acheson just seemed to give up and allow himself to be sent home. Ed seemed to have a similar moment during the block party episode where he just decided he couldn't beat Paul and took his foot off the pedal a bit. I wonder if, upon re-watching, I could point to a moment where Ed thought he was going home and just took an "eff it" attitude.

                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                  The judges did seem to be surprised that the oysters were canned, which leads me to believe they didn't negatively impact the dish.

                                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                                    I actually didn't get the sense that they were surprised they were canned. My take on their reaction is that it did occur to them to wonder if they were canned (based on the taste and partially for the reason mentioned previously, that they thought correctly that they were smoked and knew he wouldn't have been able to smoke them himself), but that they were surprised that Ed would use canned oysters.

                                                                                    1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                      Oh, I agree with Chicgail - the judges seemed genuinely shocked, so they must not have dedtected the fact that they were canned at all.

                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                        They certainly realized the sauce tasted off. And IIRC, Ed didn't volunteer that they were canned - one of the judges asked him point blank. I don't get your argument.

                                                                                        The best you could say was that the oyster sauce tasted off, but the judges initially guessed that it was for some other reason, assuming he used fresh oysters... if for no other reason than because that's what you do on a nationally televised cooking contest.

                                                                                        Not a good call by Ed.

                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                          oh, I have no argument at all..
                                                                                          I was more surprised that the judges seemed shocked that the oyesters were canned - Canned oysters have such a distinct smokey taste, that they bear absolutely nothing in common with the taste of a fresh oyster.

                                                                                          I agree, it was a horrible choice to *substitute* canned for fresh, since the two are such diabolically completely different items...

                                                                                          Bad idea - even I wouldnt do that..
                                                                                          And I remember thinking the same thing when some other chef-testant used canned oysters instead of fresh.

                                                                                          But still, I LOVED Ed, ad am totally bummed he's not in the final.

                                                                                          Go Paul!

                                                                                    2. re: chicgail

                                                                                      I saw the reactions not as surprise that the oysters were canned but that Ed would USE canned oysters.

                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                        Yeah, but they wouldnt have ben **surprised** that he would choose to *USE* canned oysters, if they had already realized that they WERE canned oysters,

                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                          They appeared to know something was wrong with them because Tom did not like the flavor. My guess is it is all in the editing. I bet that Tom knew exactly what kind of oysters Ed used.

                                                                                      2. re: chicgail

                                                                                        I didn't get that. I got that the fact that they were canned explained an off flavor to them.

                                                                                        1. re: JAB

                                                                                          i suspect it was the fact that they were canned *and* smoked. completely different texture and flavor.

                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                            In Gail's blog she said they were "rubbery."

                                                                                      3. re: huiray

                                                                                        "The smoked oysters had good taste according to the chef who tasted them in the store; why do the judges have such automatic spasms over canned/tinned anything?"

                                                                                        It's possible that they were fine out of the container but once Ed used them as the base of his sauce that the cooking intensified the smokiness in a not great way. I really like Ed so I'm disappointed but as soon as he opted on the smoked oysters I knew he was toast.

                                                                                        Paul for the win, please!

                                                                                        1. re: Kalee

                                                                                          "...as soon as he opted on the smoked oysters I knew he was toast."
                                                                                          It need not have been so - see what I wrote above (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8326...) - but I fully agree it changed the taste profile of the dish he had originally conceived. What I am not convinced about was that it was a bad decision *simply* because they were canned.

                                                                                          p.s. I'm not addressing you exclusively here... :-)

                                                                                        2. re: huiray

                                                                                          They didn't know the oysters were canned before they objected to the taste of them. They thought that something was definitely "off" in the oyster sauce and that's why they asked about it.

                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                            I doubt if Tom did not know they were canned. What about the stuff we didn't see?

                                                                                          2. re: huiray

                                                                                            Yeah, I thought, at least he's tasting them and he thinks they will work. So I thought he might pull it out despite them being oh-horror *canned*.

                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                              The sauce tasted terrible, that's why he got sent home. Knowing that they were canned was just an explanation, not the reason. Here's Gail's explanation from her blog:

                                                                                              A lot of Edward’s dish was really great. The pork crackling was beautiful. The actual meat itself was cooked really well, had a lot of flavor. He made these amazing pickles that were a great counterpoint of sour and acid to the fatty, porkiness. And then he made this oyster sauce. Smoked oysters pureed with cream. Do I even need to say anything else? It was just so off in conception and in execution. He fell into that usual trap that a lot of chefs fall in: they get that idea in their head and even though they can’t find exactly what they need to execute it properly they can’t get out of it, they’ve gone too far down that path. I don’t know why. He should have changed direction when he realized there weren’t fresh oysters at the market. It’s not that oysters in a cream soup, fresh oysters, I mean, don’t work -- case in point: Carla’s oyster stew in penultimate finale episode of Season 5 in New Orleans! But this was a smoked, canned oyster. It had a very rubbery texture and an overpowering, almost synthetic smoky flavor. It was too bad because everything else he made to that point in the challenge had been great. All he had to do was not serve that sauce. And yes, it’s upsetting, but that’s how the game is played. I’m crazy about Ed. He’s a fighter. He’s an amazingly talented chef and I will be visiting him often in Louisville Kentucky. But we will not being seeing him compete in the finale...

                                                                                            2. I fell asleep during the commercial break between the tasting of the QF dishes and the announcing of the winner. I must not have been out for long because I woke up when Beverly was talking about cooking with a wok and being glad to be back in the competition.

                                                                                              I kind of think it is a little less noble for Sarah to have chosen a guaranteed spot in the finale over a brand new car (I suppose that's more diplomatic than the phrase I originally wrote that used the word "chickenshit") but to those complaining, Ed got a guarantee into the finale in TC 7 by winning the QF although he did not have the choice of a car instead.

                                                                                              Since I did not see the description of how the Elimination Challenge worked, would someone please explain to me why Don Rickles was invited to participate in the meal?

                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                By Don Rickles, you probably mean Frank Crispo, who is Ed's mentor. Linda's OP mentions each contestant's mentor -- they were the ones invited to participate.

                                                                                                1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                  I did figure out the mentor thing while I was watching the program. I was just trying to be funny with the reference to Don Rickles. It would have been funny if Frank had called someone a hockey puck.

                                                                                                  Speaking of the mentors, Michelle Bernstein has an odd mouth thing going on similar to Ed's mouth when he talks. I think maybe they both have underbites.

                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                    I figured there was a good chance you got the mentor thing, but no one else had replied to you, and I thought the Don Rickles ref was worth posting pics ;-)

                                                                                                2. re: John E.

                                                                                                  HEY! Read my recap buddy! That weren't no Don Rickles! (But very good "Switched at Birth" comparison! LOL)

                                                                                                3. Sad to see Ed go, sad to still see Lindsey there. I think Sarah was smart to take a place in finale, I don't think that makes her insecure, I think it makes her smart and focused on the big prize. I was surprised Ed didn't win the challenge.

                                                                                                  I liked that the elimination challenge was non texas themed one but didn't like that they had shopping at stores that don't seem to have basics like fresh seafood. I can't imagine my whole foods not having seafood in stock.

                                                                                                  Paul's dish for the elimination was really smart as it showed off all his technique abilities while being daring doing a chilled soup.

                                                                                                  I'm happy Bev is back because no matter what the other contestants have said about her, her individual food has almost always been deemed well by the judges. I like that she is spacey and yet she still delivers when she needs to.

                                                                                                  As always thoughout the season I forget Lindsey exists until she makes a catty remark.

                                                                                                  28 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                    <. I can't imagine my whole foods not having seafood in stock. > They always have fresh seafood, but not always fresh oysters. Especially in the summer, when oysters are basically out of season.

                                                                                                    I like smoked oysters, but they surely do have a distinctive flavor, and cannot imagine using them in a sauce -- especially as a substitute for fresh.

                                                                                                    Sorry to see Ed go. I had envisioned an Ed/Paul finale.

                                                                                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                      I actually bothered to record Watch What Happens. Ed was on the phone and said it was the one time Whole Foods didn't have oysters.

                                                                                                      I know it gets replayed later in the week, so it is worth watching to see Padma in a tank top and not pleading the fifth when asked which cheftestant she would like to hook up with.

                                                                                                      1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                        I don't usually watch WWH but kept the tv on this week for background noise. I thought it was great that Padma chose Kevin Gillespie for the chef she would hook up with. Some of the episode was actually funny. I don't think I could stand to watch it all the time though, Andy just bugs the crap out of me.

                                                                                                        For the record my choice would be Brian Voltaggio :)

                                                                                                          1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                            i dunno, i can see the kev gillespe/salman rushdie bear thing goin' on w padma...

                                                                                                          2. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                            For the record, my TC crush is Sam Talbot from Season 2.

                                                                                                          3. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                            I'm not an oyster guy, but aren't you supposed to only eat oysters harvested in months that include an 'r'? I believe production of TC9 was August in Texas. Possible not a good month for oysters.

                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                              One can get fresh oysters year round.
                                                                                                              (Especially if a restaurant has their own oyster beds)
                                                                                                              (I had some really nice ones - Cape May Salts - at The Lobster House on Cape May last June)

                                                                                                              ETA: Also some decent but not-as-flavorful Chesapeake Bay ones at The Narrows at Kent Narrows in MD that same time in June.

                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                Isn't Cape May in New Jersey? The cold waters of the Atlantic are different than the Gulf waters in August. I'm not saying you're wrong, but your comparison does not seem to work.

                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                  It wasn't a "comparison". I was simply responding that you CAN get oysters year-round, in general, not just " in months that include an 'r' ".

                                                                                                                  Besides, why can't Whole Paycheck stock oysters sourced from other regions besides the Gulf in August?

                                                                                                                  Someone else here in this thread also mentioned hearing Ed Lee say that it was the only time (i.e. "first" time) he had not seen oysters in WF. That implies there were oysters available on their previous visits to whatever Texan WF they were shopping in when they were shooting all these episodes of TC.

                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                    I said I wasn't an oyster guy but I have heard the thing about not eating oysters harvested in months without an r. It's not really a big deal to me.

                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                      <Besides, why can't Whole Paycheck stock oysters sourced from other regions besides the Gulf in August?>

                                                                                                                      WFM generally goes for local when ingredients like this are concerned. Yes, fresh oysters are available year around now, but their texture is different in summer than winter. Summer oysters are noticeably softer and "milkier." Just saying I'm not surprised if they didn't stock oysters regularly during the summer.

                                                                                                                      I've had Appalachicola oysters in New Orleans in June that were wonderful, but again, it was not nearly so hot as Texas was last summer. It was one of their hottest summers EVER.

                                                                                                                      And the flavor profile of smoked oysters is considerably different than just "canned" oysters.

                                                                                                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                        That may well be. Still, it seems that Ed L. did see oysters offered at WF on previous occasions as I wrote about above. The texture of summer oysters are different, as you say, but still they are available.

                                                                                                                        Pray tell, where were you dining in The Big Easy?

                                                                                                                        As for the "smoked oysters" that Ed Lee used - I agree it changed the profile of his intended dish. But, as I explained elsewhere in this thread, I am not convinced their being 'canned' was the deciding factor, nor that it should have been a possible primary point of focus by the judges; rather, that it was that the flavor profile did not, in the event, fit in with what the rest of his dish was supposed to be.

                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                          It was a while ago, but I believe we actually were at Black's in Abbeville, not NOLA. I was with a local chef and he took me right up to the kitchen window where their chef dispensed gigundo (and very sweet) oysters, shucking as he went.

                                                                                                                          SO good!

                                                                                                                2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                  I believe the "months including an R" thing is an outdated rule of thumb that originated back when there was no refrigeration.

                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                    I don't think so. I think it has to do with the oysters' breeding season. During the warmer months, more of the oysters' energy is devoted to spawning, and the meat is supposedly less succulent than during the colder months.

                                                                                                                    Personally, I can't say I'm enough of an oyster connoisseur to have ever noticed the difference. I like em, but eat em infrequently (also, I think clams are underrated and often more affordable).

                                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                      There are two separate things here. One is that oyster is better in the cold months, but it also used to be believed that it was outright unsafe to eat oysters in the summer. The latter is no longer the case, but some people cling to the R rule with a forcefulness that is only justified by the latter interpretation.

                                                                                                                  2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                    not anymore. most oysters on the west coast are farmed with Japanese methods and can be harvested and raised anytime of the year. Whole Foods usually ships oysters in from both west and east coasts to inland stores so while they may not have had gulf oysters they would have had some oysters.

                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                      Here in New England, back in the olden days before modern scientific food testing, the Native American Indians are legend to warn about eating oysters in the summer months - the months without 'r's Not unlike other cultural historical mores, such as not eating pork and keeping kosher, this was likely due to the problem of red tide. It was a health issue.

                                                                                                                      Science can now monitor red tide, and oyster beds are shut down when it is found present.

                                                                                                                      Some olde school oyster afficianadose prefer the brininess of a winter oyster while others are just as satisfied with a summer harvested oyster, properly shucked. At this point it is a matter of taste and not quality.

                                                                                                                      I suspect Ed made two fatal mistakes. Finding no fresh oysters, I am willing to bet had he looked real hard in the fridge section of the seafood dept at Whole foods he might well have found a container of freshly shucked oysters that would not have been tinned or smoked.

                                                                                                                      I don't think the issue was fresh or tinned, but that the sauce sucked.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                        It's hard to find containers of fresh oysters except around Thanksgiving or Christmas. Trust me. I've tried.

                                                                                                                        1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                          gosh, I happened to notice them yesterday while checking out crabmeat. I gather neither of us shop in Texas

                                                                                                                          1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                            Nope, not Texas. But now I'm going to make a point of looking for them again.

                                                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                              Chicago. Do you think it matters? This time of year I know I could find shucked oysters at the fishmonger, but not at WF.

                                                                                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                well, i live in San Francisco and there are fresh oysters at my local fishmonger's year-round, but of course, we're by the Bay. I'm not sure at WF.

                                                                                                                        2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                          I got food poisoning from eating raw oysters in Hiroshima in August one year. After that I always stuck with the "r" months. That was decades ago, though, and I'd probably be fine now given how much technology and aquaculture have advanced in that time. Still love my raw oysters despite the horrible experience.

                                                                                                                      2. Very happy to see Paul (And, given the call to the girlfriend, relieved) as well as underdog Bev make the final but, I too am sad to see Ed go. I've been unimpressed all season by Sarah and Lindsay.

                                                                                                                        As much as I enjoyed this episode, I was instantly dismayed at seeing the teasers for next week. I wish the producers wouldn't be so keen on overproducing. Instead of a finale where pure cooking skill gets the deserved spotlight, it now looks as if we're in for another episode of "Amazing Top Chef Race." I'm hoping not.


                                                                                                                        47 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Kris P Pata

                                                                                                                          I agree about the look of next week's episode and having to cook in the cold or whatever is going on. Really? At this stage of the game they've gotta cook in snow or wind or on a ski lift? Maybe it's all a fake out.

                                                                                                                          I agree with those who say there's no reason for Sarah not to take immunity, esp. when there's now 1 more person to deal with which you didn't expect. But why is it being offered at this point? I feel like they grab these bitchy looks from her any time Bev is mentioned and not sure I believe she's *constantly* smirking like that about Bev.

                                                                                                                          Too bad about Ed. Didn't someone else have a problem with canned oysters in the not too distant pass?

                                                                                                                          It certainly seems to be Paul's to lose.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                            Yes, Joanie, - as soon as Ed picked up the canned oysters, I remembered someone got eliminated based on using canned oysters - very recently....
                                                                                                                            Last season??
                                                                                                                            I am not exactly sure who/when - but I know it happened!!

                                                                                                                            1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                              Are you maybe thinking of Spike with the frozen scallops?

                                                                                                                              1. re: kubasd

                                                                                                                                No, it was definitely canned oysters...it was a female chef..I can't remember who

                                                                                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                  ok :) no idea who it was either, I can't find it online

                                                                                                                                  1. re: kubasd

                                                                                                                                    Was it even this season, the first episodes when they were weeding out chefs??
                                                                                                                                    It seems very recent, yet not a **familiar* chef

                                                                                                                              2. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                Somewhere in this thread I pointed out that Ed got an automatic bid into the finale of TC 7 by winning a QF so they have done this before, although I wonder if Ed would have taken a car instead of immunity. He also cooked in the EC in which he had immunity.

                                                                                                                              3. re: Kris P Pata

                                                                                                                                Yeah, the previews of cooking outside in the cold dressed in parkas and dealing with wind and cold was a "WTF???" moment. Just let them cook for reals? Please?

                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                  yeah Gail said her blog:

                                                                                                                                  "can tell you that this next episode is for sure the most physically demanding episode we have made, for all of us, but especially for our chefs. We put them through an “Olympic”-style hazing."

                                                                                                                                  Why? Why? WHY??? So annoyed already. This season really seemed to cheat the chefs out of a true Top Chef experience.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: lbs

                                                                                                                                    It appears they will be doing some pentathalon events, at least the shooting part. Did we see them on X-country skis in the preview?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                      Ugh. And I was joking when I posted this:

                                                                                                                                      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.

                                                                                                                                      By gaffk on Feb 2, 2012 05:04 PM


                                                                                                                                      So glad I didn't watch this week. I think the finale preview would have given me nightmares.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: kubasd

                                                                                                                                          Or this season has such predictably bad challenges?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                            yeah, true..... but it's more fun to think you're psychic. :)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: kubasd

                                                                                                                                              I *knew* you were going to say that ;)

                                                                                                                                    2. re: lbs

                                                                                                                                      I think anything physically demanding will work against Sarah. Lindsay points out the altitude factor - hopefully they all practiced cooking at altitude as it changes things up a lot.
                                                                                                                                      I'm not against throwing curve balls at them even at this point. It forces them to think out of the box and possibly cook outside of their comfort zone. Sarah might not be able to cook Italian and Beverly might not be able to cook "Asian". The last thing I want to see is something that might be on the menu in one of their restaurants, no matter how good it might be - in theory one of their line cooks could do that. By "forcing" them to work outside of their norms, they can't just reproduce a dish they have been working on for 6 months. I don't know about skiing or shooting but something has to be there to force creativity so we don't end up with a winner who could be "top line cook".

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Kris P Pata

                                                                                                                                    Oh God, yes. Doing biathalon (apparently) for their favorite ingredient? I thought we were so past that.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                      Maybe they thought Bev would go nuts and shoot Lindsay and Sarah....that would be good TV.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                        She can serve their remain with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

                                                                                                                                        Oh wait Tom would dock her points for oversalting the livers.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                          Lindsay is probably too stringy, whereas Sarah probably has too much fat. I dunno, maybe she can shoot Gail - she seems to be have the right amount of fat, and muscles that aren't overworked.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Kris P Pata

                                                                                                                                      it was bad enough for the All-Stars finale when they had to dive for shellfish & use primitive makeshift equipment on the beach, with the winds from an impending storm blowing sand & flames everywhere. i can't believe this nonsense for next week's challenge - it's just ridiculous. cross-country skiing? ice picks? using rifles to shoot your ingredients off targets? come on!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                          and you're entitled to your opinion. i personally would rather see straight-up cooking in a civilized setting for the finale, so that the chefs can *finally* showcase their true skills and styles without the requirement that they brave the elements, kill their own ingredients, and MacGyver their own cooking appliances using nothing more than a polished rock and a peacock feather. this isn't Top Survivor or The Amazing Chef Race.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                              Yeah, what GHG said. Give me a final like the one Michael V. won.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                Or, more along the lines of Top Chef Masters. They don't make the Masters do stunts along with cooking. They might give them interesting challenges, like cooking in a dorm room, but we haven't seen Hubert Keller dive for his own conch.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                    I would so pay good money to see Hubert Keller dive for his own conch.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                      They treat the chefs on TCM with more dignity and respect instead of pandering to the lowest

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                        Ha-ha Chowser I must be tired... I had to read your post three times cause I though you said Hubert had to dive for his own cooch... :'-). Anyway thanks for your thoughts regarding the lack of interesting challenges, i agree as well... this season was an epic fail to me as we got no real sense of anyone's style until way late in the game.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Kris P Pata

                                                                                                                                                I was not aware Vancouver got that cold! It's on the west coast after all, and sort of like San Francisco (except for day length) at other times of the year.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                  I guess you missed the 2010 Winter Olympics there.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                    I DID miss them. Was that a typical winter?

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                    I'd guess the shots we saw were at a ski resort in the mountains just north of the city.

                                                                                                                                                    It's only about 1,000 miles north of SF.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, but the city at least, is still zone 8 and with a coastal influence. And it looks like that in Tahoe in the winter, but Tahoe is nothing like San Francisco. I live and learn!

                                                                                                                                                      Anyway, I LOVE it there. I've been in the winter, but never when it was snowing. I was really surprised! Less surprising if it's on a mountain.

                                                                                                                                                      PS skiing in Tahoe this year is pretty bad.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                        The weather in Vancouver is like San Francisco or Seattle. Similar to Seattle, once you get about 30 minutes east and into the mountains, the weather changes drastically. Whistler is where they had the Olympics, not Vancouver per se and it looks like the challenges are in Whistler as well.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: samlev

                                                                                                                                                          Except that the weather in San Francisco and Seattle is not the same - it snows in Seattle and it doesn't snow in San Francisco.

                                                                                                                                                          The previews make it seem like the perfectly crafted ending to this ridiculous season.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: 512window

                                                                                                                                                            I bet what sam means is that the weather in San Francisco is similar to Seattle or Vancouver in the warm months of the year. I don't believe there is much chance of 6 inches of snow falling in San Francisco. The only place that appears to be scared of snow more than Seattle is Washington D.C. (My reference is to the snowfall in Seattle in January).

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                              All I meant, in my original post, was that that did not look like the Vancouver I know; winter or otherwise. I heart Vancouver! No it's not California, and neither is Washington, but I think of it as fairly moderate with coastal influences.

                                                                                                                                                              My bad.

                                                                                                                                                              I guess I was wrong, but I still wonder; from those of you who have been there, even in the winter; how many of you looked at that clip and said "yup! Vancouver!!", or "Vancouver is to winter, as San Antonio is to summer!" or say "ohhhh...too bad for them, having to suffer through cooking during winter in Vancouver!"?

                                                                                                                                                              I spent some of last winter in Portland and Salem Oregon, and Seattle and wherever Gonzaga is (oh yeah, Spokane), Washington. And I live "near" San Francisco, on the way to Tahoe.

                                                                                                                                                              The whole coastal/inland thing is interesting.

                                                                                                                                                              Anyway, back to our show....

                                                                                                                                                              "The previews make it seem like the perfectly crafted"

                                                                                                                                                              I guess that's it.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                It was Vancouver, but actually it was interior, meaning a ways east, so it probably was not within the city limits of Vancouver but in the mountains to the east. I bet once the moisture coming off the ocean hits the mountains it falls as snow instead of the more likely rain in Vancouver proper.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                                                        They were at Whistler, which is indeed a ski resort and venue for the 2010 Olympics.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                                                                                          And whistler is only about 2 hours outside of Vancouver, but WAY up.

                                                                                                                                                          Just like here in Seattle, we can be having a normal mild winter day in town, and just over 2 hours later, you are up in the mountains in the snow skiing. So they may have some of the show in snow - like the previews showed - in the snow in Whistler, and some back down in Vancouver under normal mild, West coast winter weather (read; drizzle and 40-something degrees).

                                                                                                                                                          I can't wait to Sarah struggle with skiing, shooting, and any other physical stuff. I don't get the impression she gets to the gym a whole lot.
                                                                                                                                                          After the previews, my money is even more on Team Paul!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                            Didn't they shoot the finale a few weeks ago when we (SEA) got dumped on with SnowPocalypse 2012? Vancouver must have had snow on the ground that week, too.

                                                                                                                                                      3. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                        no it's not, Vancouver gets snow, not loads though and it's while it's not like the east coast it does below 0 C and drive 45 minutes to where the mountains are and roads are closed in the winter because of snow storms.

                                                                                                                                                    2. I'm going to miss Ed. In my fantasy world, he's some Asian gangster who started a restaurant that open only a few days a week as a front for him to launder money then discovered he was actually good at cooking and went on Top Chef because he wanted to be on TV.

                                                                                                                                                      Lindsay vs Beverly seems like the finale matchup that would make for the best TV and Paul vs Beverly would make for the best food.

                                                                                                                                                      EDIT: Before they showed the LCK winner, did it seem like Tom was alternating between a stern and smiling face in shots of him, as if he was trying to repress his amusement at the reaction he was expecting when Bev came back?

                                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                        I hope this doesn't come off in the wrong way, but I think Ed could have played a villain in the original Hawaii 5-0 television series.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                          John E. He could play one in a guest spot on the new one! That would be a fine consolation prize.... I would watch for sure!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                            I wonder if anybody else is watching the new one...I know I am not.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                              i am...though really just because it's an hour of [an often shirtless] Alex O'Loughlin.

                                                                                                                                                              but Morimoto's guest spot was kinda fun.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                +1 not a bad reason to watch that show at all. :)

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                  +2 I never saw the original, but that lovely "scenery" got me to start watching it. It is relatively mindless entertainment, but dang is it fun to watch :)

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                            Asian gangster who started a restaurant to... Sounds like an old Gomer Pyle episode.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                              Love your fantasy world, FP. :-) And yes, I noticed the sly smile on Tom's face - he KNEW it would blow away Sarah and Lindsay to have her walk back in.

                                                                                                                                                            2. I was happy with the elimination challenge because it was more focused on the cooking than on some ridiculous gimmick -- like choosing ingredients blindfolded. The chefs were actually able to focus on what they do best -- cook. What a concept. And there we are, in the previews for next week, forcing everyone to cook under really horrible conditions. Weather-challenged cooking -- boiling for the season, and freezing for the finale. I am not sure what any of that really proves.

                                                                                                                                                              I was not surprised to see Bev meander back in. As soon as she was eliminated, I predicted that she would be the winner of Last Chance Kitchen if for nothing else than the drama. The look on Sarah's face was priceless. Truly, if looks could kill, and I am sure that Sarah made the right decision. Despite her hatred of Bev, Bev appears to be the superior chef and Sarah is one of the weaker of the remaining cooks.

                                                                                                                                                              You know what I'd like to see? I'd like to see the judges blind taste the food. It would be so interesting to see how they would react to a given dish without knowing who cooked it. I'd like to see them award a loser and a winner without knowing ahead of time. Clearly, track record must play a role in all of the winning and losing, and it would be extremely interesting to eliminate all these biases in the judging.

                                                                                                                                                              17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                Oh, blind tasting has been discussed. Tom has said in his blogs that they get VERY used to the chefs' styles, so even if they were blind tastings, they'd easily be able to figure out who made it based on the plating styles *and* the cooking styles.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                  So he says, but I'd like to see him prove it!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                    My thoughts, too! Blind tastings where the judges are put on the spot to identify the chefs as well as their favorite and least favorite dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                    but they might not have matched that soup to Paul...

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                      but they might not have matched that soup to Paul...
                                                                                                                                                                      I agree. There's no reason not to have blind tasting. In fact, they do for Top Chef Masters' QF challenges, right? Frankly I don't always buy their self-proclaimed unbiased judging (which can happen subconsciously!). Why not do blind tasting so that isn't even an issue?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                        I don't buy that the judges are completely non-biased in their tasting either.

                                                                                                                                                                        BUT I'm fairly sure the main reason not to do blind tasting on a regular basis is just that it doesn't make as good TV. For one, there's that moment where the chefs get to present and explain their dishes, along with the occasional kitchen walkthrough by Tom and the during-dinner analysis by the judges - the producers seem to like all that. For another, I'm sure the producers prefer that a little unconscious bias come into play - if, say, Paul makes a weak dish the judges might be a little more inclined to look for something to like about it than if moto chris made the same dish, and thus strong and/or compelling contestants don't go home so easily.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                          I agree with you on the reason why they wouldn't do blind tasting. I just think Tom's explanation is bunk.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                            I don't agree that it doesn't make good television to have the judges do blind taste tests. There would be a way to restructure the presentation of the dishes so that the chef would discuss the dish later on. I think it would add an element of, for lack of a better word, suspense, where the audience knows and the judges don't, which evens up the score somewhat since in the current incarnation, the judges know and the audience doesn't. It would be extremely interesting if it were tried mid-competition, for example, when the judges supposedly know the styles of each of the chefs. And if the cheftestants didn't know that this was part of the structure of the episode, they wouldn't know to make their dishes typical of their individual styles

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                              If I were going to do some blind tasting, I would have the chefs judge each other blind in a quickfire. Getting them to be critical so that some of their thin-skinned colleagues becomes resentful would make for good TV.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                It would work fine as a change of pace for an odd episode or two. But as the default method of judging, it would be clunky and inelegant for the reasons I outlined above. It removes one element of the 'narrative' from the show only to satisfy people who seem to be stuck on the semi-ridiculous notion that TC can and should be completely 100% fair.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                  Agree on all points. Additionally, the chefs often have to explain how they met the requirements of a particular challenge and as far as tasting is concerned, one often needs an explanation of what's on the plate to fully appreciate what they're eating - at least I do. Blind tasting would be fun if we had a competition to be a judge.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Finally, we have before us a bowl of risotto, a braised short rib with Korean flavors, a grilled side of beef, some crazy shit that is smoking from liquid nitrogen, and a simple yet complex and delicious Thai street food-esk pork dish. We don't know which one's were prepared by Paul, Grayson, Moto Chris, Beverly and Sarah?

                                                                                                                                                                                  Edit. I write "crazy shit" in a positive way as I really liked Moto Chris - he kinda grew on me. As an interesting aside, I found it difficult to pigeon hole Paul (he's left by process of elimination above), Lindsay, and Ed. I think that says something about them as chefs and competitors.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                      Typically, of course you're right, but remember this week Tom said "Paul has never made anything like this before" so I think if a chef is willing to step out of his or her comfort zone, the judges could be fooled.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                                                                                        Not having made it _for the judges_ before doesn't equate to it being outside Paul's comfort zone, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                          You're right. I probably should have said "pattern" rather than "comfort zone."

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                                                                                            That could be part of the Blind challenge - cook so out of your comfort zone, that the judges wouldn't be able to guess who's food they were eating.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. It is ridiculous to have immunity at this point in the competition.

                                                                                                                                                                        Have mixed feelings about Sarah taking the 'bye' into the final. I certainly see the strategy and the reasoning. Most cooks I've encountered want to cook and show what they can do. It seems wimpy to make it to the finales not on your cooking but on a loophole of winning a prize. It reminded me of The BBQ challenge when she showed up rested in a change of clothes, plated her food for the judges without trying to fit in with the team and disrupting the system her team had devised for service. Then bitched about how they weren't welcoming enough to her. Once her judges plates were done she simply left. It was the same 'I don't care' attitude. She's coming across a lazy cook who is great when things are going well. But given an easy out she'll take it.

                                                                                                                                                                        It seemed that Bev's mentor wasn't an Asian chef but all Bev dose is cook Asian(which is fine). Like someone else posted I was at a loss to see what was so great about Bev's dish. I even missed what it was. They kept say how great her noodles were.

                                                                                                                                                                        Sorry to see Ed go. But have to say it seemed it was a silly mistake on his part. Hugh Attcheson(sp) summed it up say that Ed was to fixated on his menu instead of adapting to what the store had to offer.

                                                                                                                                                                        13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                          It's entirely possible that by taking the "bye" Sarah may well psych herself out and second-guess herself ("do I really belong here?"). On the other hand, hasn't the winner of the car invariably lost TC in the past? It was a tough choice.

                                                                                                                                                                          We shall see.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                            Michael Voltaggio won both the car and the season he was in.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                            I watched the last 15 minutes, will go tonight through the recorded episode. But - Sarah sitting there in regular clothes/not having to cook didn't sit well with me. Where is her pride to really show what she can do? Obviously she knows she isn't good enough to make it into the last group of 4 on her own.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RUK

                                                                                                                                                                                I would have preferred if she had the immunity but still had to cook. I would think she would be happy to get to cook for all the mentors.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                  I was actually glad they didn't have her cook. It would have seemed a rather pointless exercise.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: RUK

                                                                                                                                                                                  I wonder what her mentor thought about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                    He didn't seem to have a problem with it. He did tell her (paraphrasing here) that he knew that she had what it took be be a good competitor due to his experience on TCM.

                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                  Usually (but not always), a chef with immunity still participates, but is safe. Perhaps the possibility of sitting the challenge out was not in her mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                    Agree on your paragraph re: Sarah. And what RUK said above - Sarah probably knows she's *not* the best chef there, and took the easy way out, vs. cooking her best dishes ever for the finale and potentially going out with respect from others. Not sure she's got that.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                      Think of it as self-preservation. She might kill herself if she gets eliminated and Bev moves on.

                                                                                                                                                                                      So, what would you rather have, a guaranteed spot in the finals or a car a one-in-five chance of an experience that will make you commit suicide (or come close to it).

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                                        A car is not particularly useful to someone who lives in Chicago. You first have to come out of pocket for the tax money on the reward, then you have to garage it somewhere. Here's the counter argument. The Prius V starts at $26k. She could easily sell it for $20k+, pay $6 or 7k in taxes and pocket the difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Has there ever been more crying in any episode of Top Chef?

                                                                                                                                                                                      I kept finding myself instinctively reaching for an umbrella.

                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                        I loved this episode. Genuine emotion and appreciation for their mentors. Shows how wonderful these Chefs are. Very touching and best episode I've seen.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The importance of a mentor and their great relationships with their mentors as keys to their success was quite evident.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                          ohmygod, i was wondering when someone was going to mention it!
                                                                                                                                                                                          the boo-hoo-hoo-ing was out of control! but i was actually really touched by Paul and his reaction to his mentor.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                            Let us remember that Tyson must have been the one who helped Paul rise up from the drug haze and the dog poop strewn decor he was living in. Blubbering may've been in order. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. When Larry Bird went into his first three point shooting contest at the NBA all star weekend, he walked into the locker room asked in a loud voice: "which one of you guys is going to finish second?" The he proceeded to smoke them, sending up the last shot and not even looking at the hoop.

                                                                                                                                                                                          The reason I bring this up ius that whenever you are given a chance to compete, you compete. Sarah got the bye, which is ridiculous to me at this point in the competition, and she backed off. I don't blame her, and I would be very tempted to do so myself, but this just reflects her mindset going into the finals. I don't see this coming out well.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I will miss Ed. Now if I can get myself into his restaurant next time I am in Louisville to actually taste the food.

                                                                                                                                                                                          23 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                            Although I didn't see Sarah take the bye over the car I am reminded of Kevin Gillespie in TC 6 where he barely hesitated when asked if he want $10k or immunity. He had enough confidence in his cooking to take the money and compete. I don't remember if such a choice has been offered any other times. Wait, there was a QF inTC 6 where they could have taken the money but let it ride double or nothing on Restaurant Wars.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Exactly what I was thinking about. Has a Top Chef contestant ever taken the easy road out before when presented with an option? I'm pretty sure each time the contestant took the money and cooked, saying "I know I'm good enough so give me the $$ instead!"
                                                                                                                                                                                              Sarah wussed out.

                                                                                                                                                                                              On a side note, when they show the pictures of her from before the show, when she had longer hair and was a bit thinner, she was kinda hot no?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: secondbecky

                                                                                                                                                                                                I must have missed those images. I don't have any animosity for Sarah, I hope she does well. I was hoping that Ed would make it into the finale even though he treated Sarah a bit harshly. I attribute most of the 'mean' behavior to the stress of competition so I let it mostly slide.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I missed the replay as well as the original part where Sarah took the immunity. Did she hesitate at all? I might have been a bit embarrassed to take immunity over the car.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't recall any hesitation, but I was also busy typing. :-/

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                    She only asked if they were going to tell her about the elimination challenge beforehand so she could decide better. When they said 'no' she jumped at the no cook option.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe she just REALLY didn't want the Prius.;-) That would have been interesting for product placement. Actually, her decision is the opposite of what Toyota would want, given their donation. I wonder what their marketing execs are thinking now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                        How is it a donation, rather than compensation for product placement promotional value?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: secondbecky

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I did not see any attractive pictures. What I did see was nasty frowns, and a disturbing look of Sylvester salivating over Tweetie Bird whenever a female guest judge was introduced...and I mean that in the most ickiest of ways.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ed seems like a genuine nice guy and he took the hit with dignity. He will go far.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Nasty, mean Sarah, not so much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                                                                                                        don't get me wrong, I've very much anti-Sarah. She has always rubbed me the wrong way. But if you go back to the first few eps, they show her from like ten years ago. anyways, still haven't found anything, but did come across some very interesting naked pics of Ty-Lor. male nude model?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah, I loved how Ed was trying to comfort Lyndsay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          And I loved when they showed him in the stew room teasing evryone for crying - very cute, it was!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          oh, and he was very sweet when Paul forgot the shrimp in that quickfire challenge...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah, I love ED.


                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think his mentor described him as being pretty tough when they first met. I suspect he's come a long way, but some of that anger is still there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                              We didnt see too much anger from Ed..... He got a bit pissy at Sarah that BBQ challenge, but nothing OTT..
                                                                                                                                                                                                              We've seen allot worse on TC

                                                                                                                                                                                                              In fact, he seems really laid back to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: secondbecky

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Top Chef, Season 6, episode 1, Robin held on to her immunity rather than compete for $15,000 against four other chefs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                                                            She did not take immunity over a car or cash. She took immunity over a CHANCE to win cash against 16 other cooks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Technically, she took it for a chance to win cash against 4 other cooks, as she could give up her immunity to compete in the second stage of the quickfire.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think that was a much worse decision than Sarah taking immunity. Sarah has seen enough of her other chefs to do a cost-benefit analysis. Robin was mentally frail to be afraid of going home on the first elimination challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I look at it the other way around. Robin did not take immunity over actual money or a car, she took it over a chance at the prize. It was so early on, I don't think it mattered what she did. I think Sarah looks bad for taking the immunity so late in the game.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I see her as giving up money. Specifically, I see her giving up (1/5)*(prize amount) at a point when immunity is worth close to zero.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But she did not give up any guaranteed money at all, she gave up only a chance for some money, there is a huge difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I will miss Ed, also. And I don't recall anyone else saying this, but I will miss Grayson.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I miss Grayson as well. She seemed the most fun of all the contestants this year although we didn't see enough of Chuy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think there's a slight difference in that Bird knew exactly what the competition was going to be. Sarah had to choose before she knew what the elimination challenge was. Given the challenges this season (and the fact that she was hospitalized with heat stroke during one of them), it's not unreasonable to think that no matter how good a chef she is, she might be concerned that the challenge might include external factors that could bring her down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                            sad that the contestants can't conclude that they can just cook, already... but that there are endless cross-country skiing, bike riding, map deciphering, blindfolded ingredient searching, trap-shooting, totally *unrelated* to cooking, survivor-type obstacles to get through just to get to the point where a person can cook :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I am sorry, but I don't like Bev. Tom seems to favor her, but I am skeptical that she isn't kept in for the drama factor. She has cooked Asian every dish. Is it Top Asian Chef?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I would have picked Ed over Lindsay, but I think the editing may not have fully portrayed how bad those canned oysters were and everyone knew Tom would not tolerate it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Paul seems like the man to beat. If Beverly wins, I will be terribly disappointed. She has not shown the range or the poise that a TC should have IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            34 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: shell22

                                                                                                                                                                                                              " She has cooked Asian every dish. Is it Top Asian Chef? "
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hmm, what do you mean by "Asian" ? As far as I know she has cooked dishes influenced by many countries including Cantonese, Szechuanese, Korean, Japanese, Pan-EastAsian, even a touch of "indian", though not Turkish or Persian or Uzbekistanian; as well as purely "Western" such as in the chili challenge. That is a far wider range than most other cheftestants, *especially* Sarah Grueneberg. Most others have cooked only European, whilst Sarah G has cooked almost wholly "Italian", not even "European".

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I just don't think she has shown much range and uses many of the same flavors and ingredients in her dishes. The only thing I can think of that was out of her comfort zone were those baked beans she made in the bbq challenge which were unsuccessful. I don't find anything particularly Italian about the soup that Sarah made in the QF yesterday, but her dishes have been Italian influenced without a doubt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                It sounds as though Beverly's dishes are delicious and that is why the judges have put her through, I just don't think she is on the creativity level of past winners. Whereas Paul has been quite inventive while being "Thai influenced" for the most part as Tom stated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: shell22

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bev beat Nyesha in Last Chance Kitchen with Nyesha's ingredients. None of the other chefs remaining have touched Paul, as inventiveness goes, which is why Paul has swept this season. While I'm not a Bev fan, I don't think she's a weaker chef than Sarah or Lindsay. If anyone but Paul wins, I'll be seriously disappointed. I'd like to see Bev beat Sarah and Lindsay only because they've been so mean to her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I agree with your last statement. I would be so thrilled to see Bev knock off the bad girls. The only thing that would have been better would be if she had also won on LCK by knocking off Heather instead of Nyesha. Then it would have been a trifecta for her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Leepa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In her own quiet way, Bev is one of the bad girls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I still would prefer to have seen either Nyesha or Grayson in the finals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Why do you see her as "bad"? I see her as clueless in that she doesn't notice how her actions could negatively affect people but I see Sarah and Lindsay as choosing actions to be mean.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Clueless as in completely inconsiderate of other people, that's "bad." I see the others as merely reacting poorly to her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I thought 'bad' was good?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As in "Shaft is a 'bad' muthah____."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, she's a bad mofo when it comes to shortribs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                No, that's not "bad". She's just wired differently. If you can imagine that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lenwood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Steve Jobs is wired differently. Should Bev create the next iWok ?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ditto that last sentence. Actually, the last two sentences. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Also, I think it seems Tom has been favoring her because she has been cooking well. Was he favoring Nayesha when she was on her streak? I don't think Bev being there has anything to do with drama, Tom wouldn't play it that way. In my opinion Paul & Bev's cooking is a level above everyone else's. It took Bev quite a while to get comfortable with the competition aspect but at this point it won't surprise me if she wins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Please, please, please. Let's not go there.... again. Even though I agree with you especially about Sarah.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've seen Bev do Korean, some pan-Asian (anyone can throw five-spice on rubbery duck), and some Thai (using coconut milk and curry). To say Bev can cook Asian is to give her too much credit. She can cook some generic pan-Asian, not authentic cuisine of the various Asian countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: shell22

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It seems to me that Paul has dominated TC 9 in a way that no other contestant has in all previous seasons of Top Chef. He has won $50,000 cash, a car, and a trip to the premier of Snow White in LA, at least I assume it's in LA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: shell22

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Good lord, are we going to this every freaking week!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: shell22

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I know right. Sarah has cooked European every dish. Lindsey too, you must really dislike them too right? Is it Top European Chef?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I see your point about bev, she's only cooked Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Singaporean, Korean and of course american inspired cuisine where as Sarah has ranged from northern Italian food to southern Italian food. What diversity!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: shell22

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Asian food is better then European food. I can see how always cooking Asian could be considered an unfair advantage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Huh? How can you make such a blanket statement about food? I guess you can since it's your opinion of course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's likely I'm going to make similar statements every time I read someone complaining about a contestant always cooking Asian food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I understand it can be annoying, but blanket statements of any kind annoy me. What I cannot stand is intolerance... ; )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yeah. Me, too. I hate haters. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Certainly it's easier since all the flavors are the same, apparently.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hee! Thanks for that. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I find it really annoying when people say that all Asian cuisine is the same. It's really, truly not. And if you think so, I can only assume that you haven't eaten much but Chinese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chinese isn't the same as Vietnamese which isn't the same as Thai which isn't the same as Malaysian which isn't the same as Korean which you see where I'm going.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Even ingredients are not prepared the same way. Oh, well. Clearly an internet posting isn't going to convince people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Kalee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hell, even Chinese isn't the same within Chinese cuisine. You have Taiwanese, Mandarin, Schezuan, etc. Each of these is distinctive and unique in flavors and styles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: samlev

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Actually, there's no such thing as "Mandarin" -- it's an American term that came into vogue in the '70s to differentiate the more Northern-influenced dishes that were being introduced from the Cantonese-American "Chinese" food people were familiar with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                China is a huge country that encompasses many cultures and geography and climates. There are many, many regional styles of cooking in China: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Kalee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                and Malaysian isn't even "malaysian" what with Indian Malyasian, Nyonya and Hakka and hoikkien.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's funny most Americans would get offended if you assumed that all American food was like fried chicken and grits but they have no problem lumping a dozen countries together in one style of food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Reminds me of a Facebook thread a while ago: A friend of mine raved about a new Japanese restaurant she'd tried. A friend of hers replied, "Ugh, I tried Japanese food once and didn't like it at all." I refrained from saying: Once? Did you have sushi, teppanyaki, ramen ...? Probably not tempura, that's battered and fried, like "American" food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: shell22

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I wasn't comparing her to Sarah, I was comparing her to past Top Chef winners and the level of creativity and diversity in her dishes. Everyone has their own opinion on what it should take to win.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. When Ed picked the smoked oysters, I knew he was toast. TC history has shown that the judges do not liked prepared ingredients as a substitute for fresh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In regards to Sarah, wasn't she the one that stated that taking the bye was a cop out?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Irregardless, I have no problems with someone take the bye. The objective it to get to the final and to win. With the hectic filming schedule, a break may give you an edge for the finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Ed's sauce and Lindsy's broth both looked unappetizing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Paul's a genius.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If Paul doesn't end up winning, it will be at least as bad as Blaise not winning his season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              52 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Blaise just couldn't go the distance. You never know who is going to hit the wall and when. It was a shame to see him practically give it away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you read Gail's blog she goes on and on about the soup. I think she calls it the best thing she ever had on top chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Well, I guess that pepperoni sauce made by Mike Isabella has fallen by the wayside, hasn't it? ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ya know, I made that pepperoni sauce and didn't like it a bit. Perhaps my pepperoni wasn't as good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Paul has got some real cooking chops. We ate at his restaurant last month, 13 different dishes, all amazing and different. Can't wait to go back, but I think it's going to get increasingly more difficult to score a reservation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Right now, I believe the only way Paul can lose is if he loses focus and tries too hard. He said in last night's episode something about restraint with a dish and that's a difficult thing to do. Maybe that's the problem with a lot of the non-winning dishes, too much stuff on the plate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree - like with Ed and Lindsey. Both added something extra that didn't need to be there. Gail said in her blog that the oyster sauce didn't add anything to the dish and that the cream added to the soup threw the flavor balance off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I hope you're right, BUT... there are several months between what we've just seen and the shooting of the finale. That's a lot of time for any oneof them to a.) have lost focus; or b.) to have gotten their $h!t together and run away with the competition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Also, Paul was on his "home turf," certainly in Austin, but in Texas, in general. Vancouver, BC is a whole different animal, especially in winter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What was i teresting about TC 7 is that while Angelo may have been a favorite, before Angelo got sick Ed dominated but I believe Kevin won because he did the most research on the local cuisine and if it were even close going into the desserts Ilan's sticky toffee pudding (or whatever it was) was not going to beat Kevin's dessert that used dragon fruit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You never know, it looked like Blais, Angelo and Stefan had it in the bag going into the finals too. It only takes one mistake or one amazing dish by someone else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Paul can lose only if he pulls a Blais.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Strongly disagree. Was Blais the strongest chef on his season, and is Paul the strongest of this season? Absolutely. But they both faced stiff competition from other talented chefs. After all, it's not like either of them won every challenge. In fact, Stephanie won 4 elimination challenges -- same number as Blais -- prior to beating him in the finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If Paul cooks his absolute best stuff, yeah, he'll win. But he could make some very good food and still lose.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If Lyndsay wins, it might be worse for me than Hosea or Ilan... ...As far as the "ew, I just can't stand her/him" factor....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Although if I rewatched season 2, I'd probably say otherwise...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't see her winning, but it would definitely be the kiss of death if she did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    blais lost to stephanie izard. who is a great chef and sort of notably in a league above paul's competitors. just sayin'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not denigrating Izard. Even Blais admits to overthinking and over analyzing, which made him not give his best effort. The contest should be about giving your best effort. I don't know if Blais would have won if he wasn't so insecure, but that would have been a better contest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        right. i am just thinking that blais and izard were both exceptionally talented chefs, and it was easy to be okay w either of them taking it, due to their competitor having a bad day, or just getting outcooked, or whatever. (for me, at least)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        but, i will be majorly. pissed. to see anybody win this but paul... luckily i don't think that even if all 3 of the chicas pooled their talent, they could compete w him. so, i'm not gonna worry ;-P

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Of the contestants that were in it last night, the only one I would have been ok with winning besides Paul was Ed. I thought that Ed was extremely talented. I will try to get a reservation at his restaurant in Louisville the next time I am there on business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That will make 7 or 8 TC contestant restaurants I have been to.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          List is as follows:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Richard Blais
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Stephanie Izard
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Kevin Gillespie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Both Voltaggios
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hugh Acheson's
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Rick Bayless

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My hope is to hit all of the winners and most of the finalists restaurants, excepting Hosea, Ilan and Sourpuss from Izard's/Blais' season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: samlev

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            hey great field trips! dh was pretty bummed to see ed get eliminated. i thought he put out some great food. for myself, can't believe lindsay is still in the competition, or that bev made it back. :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think Paul is going to have to bring it to win. Any of the remaining chefs is capable of coming up with a knock out dish. I think they've had some time to prepare so who knows what they've been doing. Look at last season; clearly Mike I used his time wisely, I don't think anyone saw that coming. And clearly Antonia didn't show up with her game face on. One loss and your out means anyone can get knocked out. No reason to get pissed, just the nature of the competition. I once suggested they should keep a cumulative score throughout the competition (up until the final 4) and was roundly criticized for the idea so I think people really like this single elimination system. But you have to accept the most consistent chef may not always win.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: californiabeerandpizza

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              actually i'm basing my comment on basic talent and experience, and ability to adapt, not consistency-- but i see what you are saying. anyone can have a good day and win :) that said:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              lindsay seems to have a hard time preparing anything besides fish/seafood. this ep, she was challenged by making chicken stock... her food doesn't seem to reach in conception or extend past the skill set of a good 25 yo sous chef. i think she'll be brought down by finale ingredients that are unfamiliar to her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i have a hard time w bev coming busting back into the final four w... singapore noodles? what the heck am i missing here, when contestants are making takeout dishes w a few better ingredients and not getting eliminated at this point of the competition? i don't think she has the skill or imagination to get her food to transcend sort of basic homestyle recipes/flavor profiles... she is also horrifically rude-- i am with hugh, who wonders how bev survives in a pro environment-- her lack of basic kitchen etiquette is appallingly bad. every time she runs someone over in an effort to grab ingredients or sneaks up behind someone working with hot pans and knives without so much as a "behind", i cringe and wonder who will be seriously injured. i didn't get the strong sense that her "mentor" had the same strong bond w bev that was so apparent w the other chef/mentors, or that she even liked her very much. so glad when bev was eliminated, so chagrined to see her back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              sarah actually has very deep skill in her specialist cuisine and has a less objectionable personality than the other two ladies. i'd actually love to see her come out with interesting italy-meets-canada finale food-- but again, i think that paul's inventiveness and conceptual skill trumps her technical chops, and that sarah may tend to go too simple to grab the win.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              all in all, paul's weakest dishes are better than his competitors' weakest dishes... his middling dishes are much better than their middling ones.... his winners are miles above their winners. sure, he might fall down and flub it terribly, and i would be bummed. but i'm all excited when i think about what he might pull out for the finale, while with his competitors i pretty much think it will be more of the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You give Lindsay in particular a short shrift. Her best dishes this season have not been seafood (actually, seafood seems to be her self-destructive protein of choice). Likewise, her best dishes have seemed to garner more praise than Sarah's best dishes, or really, any of her competitors except Paul. As for her difficulty making stock, on the extra videos on Bravo's site, she said Michelle Bernstein had worked with her on methods of creating particularly intense stocks, and that she was trying to highlight that some specific stock-making techniques this episode (though I still say she could have gotten more done in the same time with a late model pressure cooker).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I can see why Bev would tick off the other competitors if she's going around doing things like leaving whole fish by the sink. That said, I think it's pretty clear that she does have cooking chops. She worked at Charlie Trotter's for over a year. If she didn't have what it takes, I don't think she'd have lasted that long.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Looking over the season, I was surprised to realize that Lindsay actually did really well. I thought her behavior during RW was atrocious, but I can chalk that up to stress. Over all, her flavors appeal to me more than Sarah's. I think I lumped her in with Sarah and have had a bias against her because of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I just can't with Sarah. Her refusal to cook anything but Italian but dinging Bev for cooking only Asian is just the tip of the iceberg of my dislike. She might be a great person and a great chef, but it hasn't been displayed well here. At all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Still, I could see any one of the three possibly pull off an upset. But that better not happen! Paul might very well be my favorite TC cheftestant after the Voltaggio brothers. I never thought anyone would come close, but he does.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Kalee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Paul has the talent but he's as boring on the show as Bryan Voltaggio. Only Ed and Grayson seem to have shown some personality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, that's important, which is why the show is called Top Personality...oh wait, it's not...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But it's nice to watch people with personality, even if their personality rubs you the wrong way. That said, I think Paul has way more personality than the Voltaggio bros. Which isn't saying too much actually.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          oh absolutely! those brothers were a total snooze - except for their cooking. Paul is sweet, has a bad-boy history, is clearly emotional, seems kind.... the Voltaggios were not only boring they seemed mean, or at least, Brian did, to me (he's the one who won, right?) and arrogant. if that's what people call a personality...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think Michael won.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Eater is up:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pretty good. "Were chefs allowed to use spices or oils or anything not grabbed blind? That's unclear. I wish it showed them smelling pans and also oven temperatures. "This stove smells like it's 600 degrees and my eyebrows smell like they burned off four minutes ago."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Appropriately, Beverly's mentor Sarah Stegner seems least attached to Beverly. Their hug was awkward, and their bond seems to consist of definitely having met once."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "Cruelly, the producers don't even start them by the shelves, so Beverly spends about half her allotted time tip-toeing around an empty fridge and apologizing to the wall. Has no one ever even turned out a light on her? How is she so bad blind? I half expect her to tell her a tearful story about how hard her Dad worked to pay for electricity and that's why as a matter of pride they never turned out the lights and also she'll never let a man treat her like that again and that nice wall reminds her of her son."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "Tom and Padma announce that they'll be working with the mentors that inspired their cooking, and Bev guesses it will be her son. Her son taught her everything she knows in the kitchen? That explains the Last Chance Kitchen dish she won with, "Pizza Butter & Jelly Sandwiches with a side of Pictures of Katy Perry Makes It Feel Like There's Soda in My Neener.""


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The pork casings comment was chokingly funny!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I thought it was the funniest recap yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Michael Voltaggio won.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I strongly disagree with your assessment of them. I thought the Voltaggio brothers - especially Michael Voltaggio - were exemplary people, focused on what they were doing, talented and confident that they were capable of doing good things but mindful that they could fail. They did not have a high tolerance (especially Michael V) for being waylaid by incompetents which I found fine for who they were. They had high passion and emotive sides which they kept internal and was something I far preferred over the theatrics and emoting that others before, then, and since have shamelessly demonstrated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Agreed. It was all about cooking and presenting the best dish they could with most of that season's chefs. The chaff was weeded out pretty quickly, and talent was left.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Completely disagree. Paul is on the quiet side, but he's shown a sense of humor and has an easy smile and seems like a really decent, nice guy - probably the one person this season I'd most want to sit down and have a beer with. Bryan Voltaggio came across as a self-serious robot....I don't think it's an apt comparison at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: Kalee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "I can see why Bev would tick off the other competitors if she's going around doing things like leaving whole fish by the sink. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Really?? I think there were only about 5 min. left in the challenge and she was rushing to get that fish in the pan. I'm sure the other chefs' left their own little messes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dmjordan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm sure they did. And it's one thing for her own work station to be a disaster, but the sink and other common work space should be respected.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think I'd really like to try her food, but I can imagine working with her, under these circumstances, probably isn't easy, not that that justifies Heather and Sarah's behavior towards Bev.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Kalee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think you hit the nail on the head with the circumstances. People keep wondering how she survives in a professional kitchen, but in a professional kitchen -- especially one that she's running -- she wouldn't always be working "on the fly." She'd be familiar with the menu, the ingredients she had available, the kitchen layout and equipment and the people working around her. I think she's probably very meticulous and organized when she's in a situation where she's allowed to be organized. Her problem isn't so much that she's chaotic, but that she gets flustered in chaotic situations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Kalee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i don't remember any fish by the sink incident. in an office analogy, that would probably be like inconsiderately leaving your dirty coffee cup in the break room for someone else to clean up, right? :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i'm more focusing on bev's obliviousness in an environment where that can lead to serious injury to herself or others. bev carries around pans that are on fire rather than covering them and keeping them contained on a stovetop, she sneaks up behind others handling razor sharp knives and hot pans without telling them she is there, she runs over other people trying to snatch ingredients that are behind them, she throws hot oil on a hot grill in the direction of another competitor..... if this was "top warehouse worker" bev would be the person putting the fork lift into reverse without checking behind her or beeping the horn; if it were a boot camp reality show, bev would be the soldier who discharges her weapon when other people are downrange, just because she's just so absorbed with what she's doing. then she seems surprised that nobody else wants to work with her. *shrug*

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i get the pov that bev is just a cute-but-annoying absent minded professor type person, and that everyone else on the show is a big meanie, but i just think there is a big difference when the environment is 600 degree grills and ten inch blades, rather than pencils and calculators. people are supposed to learn fundamental kitchen safety before they even pick up a saute pan or a knife, it isn't an optional thing at all when you work in such close quarters + dangerous tools & equipment. bev reminds me of very poorly trained folks i've worked with who have caused serious injuries. nobody's food is so great that they can go around endangering other people, and bev just repeats the same negligent & dangerous behaviors, to the point where everyone else in the house agreed to sit down as a group and have paul read basic "rules" of conduct and etiquette they all agreed to follow. i really get the others' frustration w beverly, and it isn't just the so-called "mean girls"... paul, ed, grayson, nyesha have also commented. i don't mean to be disrespectful of anyone else's pov on the subject, and if i'm a big mean megabitch as well for having my pov, i'm okay with that, too. it would kill me if bev took the big prize in the competition-- because if any line cook or dishwasher repeated the same behaviors bev does, they would get shit-canned in a big hurry. any little restaurant's workman's comp insurance simply can't handle a big liability like bev. maybe at her restaurant they just put her in a room all by herself? anyway i guess this is my can of worms for the day. it's not so much that i don't like bev personally, it's that the thought of being in the same room with her while she's cooking scares the hell out of me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Paul has more confidence in himself than Blais did. i don't see him falling apart like that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I also think Paul wants to cook well and show what he can do. Blais wanted to win. Paul has no competition in this, except from himself. I still think Stephanie could give him a run for his money, even if he cooked his best. No one, if all cooked their best, could touch Paul.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, Blais overthought and second guessed himself constantly and it cost him. Paul made the point this week that you have to know when to stop doing stuff to the dish, and not overdo or add too much. That's very self assured and masterful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And it's what Blais had learned in the several years after he lost to Stephanize Izard but then came back and won All-Stars.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So glad he stared that demon down, too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And don't forget, Stephanie beat Blais again when the winners came back late in the All Stars season. She's definitely worthy competition. And I'm so glad Blais won All Stars ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I loved Stephanie's food, have yet to make her lamb medallions that sounded so amazing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Actually, Richard beat Stephanie in that challenge. Quickfires were never her strong suit. She did beat Antonia, but Colicchio basically said that hers was the better dish of two mediocre dishes. That said, I would still love to try her food one day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I checked wikipedia -- Steph beat both Richard and Antonia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Check again. Season 8. episode 13. Winners in bold.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The judges didn't much like steph's dish for that particular challenge. Or Antonia's for that matter, IIRC - I think steph is also in bold because she beat Antonia, but I might be mistaken about that. Richard won easily.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Steph is still an excellent chef, btw. Not taking anything away from her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Correct, Richard Blais won over Stephanie Izard; Stephanie I. won over Antonia Lofaso.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Stephanie Izard does great things at Girl & the Goat in Chicago. http://www.girlandthegoat.com/ You really should go.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        She'll be opening her offshoot, Little Goat, soon: http://chicago.eater.com/archives/201...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dishes cooked with restraint don't make for exciting TV and I wonder if some of the chefs who have gone far despite cooking things that some viewers here found boring were exercising the restraint that Tom was praising Paul for.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I need to go back and watch the episode again with sound I can hear. But I was rather annoyed that Ed got booted. He was an extremely strong chef and I would have preferred that Lindsey went home due to both quality of cooking throughout the season and general dislike of her personally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Also, here is the link to my meal last night at Uchiko. It was fantastic!



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. PAULIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That is all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Ed's exit interview with TV Guide. He made some interesting points


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                22 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  and now we finally know why he slept in a blazer last week!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Why did you wear a suit jacket to bed?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ed: [Laughs] It was a running joke. Every day we'd wake up and say, "It's all about business." And I brought this suit and I never really had an opportunity to wear it. So I was like, "If we're going to be about business, I'm going to sleep in this suit."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't like the sour grapes from Ed about Beverly coming back in, and the whole "was top four, now it's five" schtick. Even if Beverly hadn't come back in, he would still be out. He was in the bottom two with Lindsay, not with Beverly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chatsworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That doesn't make sense because the finals are for 4 people so he'd be in (altho they end up cutting one person before the final finals, don't they?). I totally understand his feeling of not wanting to do yet another challenge when you thought you were definitely in the finals. (Is there another word for finals?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The top four really isn't the 'finals' even if they take four to another destination. The finale is when nobody is told to PPYKAG.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Chatsworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm with Ed on this. This is my pet peeve with ALL reality shows. Once you are gone you should be gone. This "last chance" and "getting back in on a technicality" all irritate me to no end. I was done with Next Food Network Star with that whole season wit