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Top Chef Texas - Ep. #15 - 02/15/12 (Spoilers)

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Just whistle while you work (de-de-de-de-de-de-deeee!)
And cheerfully together we can tidy up the place
So hum a merry tune (de-de-de-de-de-de-deeee!)
It won't take long when there's a song to help you set the pace
~~~~~~~~~~~

Oh. Wait. We're not supposed to whistle! The chefs are in Whistler, BC. Silly me. :-) And we're at the beginning of the end - a pre-finale, so to speak.

The chefs arrive in Vancouver, and Sarah says the different Sarah who showed up in Vancouver is going to be a "nice Sarah". So she obviously knows she was a beeyotch in Texas! LOL They get into the Toyota and find a letter from Padma telling them to head up to Whistler and meet them up at the top of the mountain.

While driving, Paul asks Beverly how LCK was....and when she begins to describe it, Sarah calls out "Look at that tree!" Totally disrespectful. Guess that nice Sarah was left at the airport, huh?

They take a gondola up to the top of the mountain; it's windy and cold - 5 degrees! Padma and Tom are shown practically being blown off the mountain. Tom notes that Whistler was a prominent venue in the 2010 Winter Games. So Padma notes that it's an appropriate place to have the Top Chef Culinary Games. Only three will move on to the final round.

Three events - each event's winner gets $10,000. First event will be to create a dish while on a moving gondola from peak to peak. Paul says he gets motion sickness and he's concerned. When the gondola reaches the other peak, they'll have to jump out, get a new ingredient, and use that ingredient in their dish. They'll serve at Steve's Restaurant in Whistler.

They hop into their individual gondolas and find the ingredients with which they get to cook. Paul goes with lamb chops, Sarah doesn't know at first but later we find out she's using chorizo, Beverly's going with a salmon tartare, and Lindsay realizes that cooking at a higher altitude is more difficult, but goes with salmon.

Paul jumps out to get an ingredient - he takes wasabi paste. Sarah takes prune juice for a glaze; Beverly takes horseradish, and Sarah also grabs the horseradish. Paul's gondola arrives at the place to serve, and he's not happy with his dish, but he's got to go with it.

Padma introduces the guest judge - Gretchen Bleiler, professional snowboarder, Olympic Silver medalist. Tom and Gail are there with Padma and Gretchen.

PAUL - Seared Lamb Loin with Curried Mushrooms & Wasabi Crème Fraîche with a Juniper Gastrique

SARAH - Chorizo Sausage with Onions, Prune Juice, Gooseberries & Pickled Mushrooms and Almond

BEVERLY - Salmon Tartare, Anchovy Horseradish Crème Fraîche & Crispy Capers

LINDSAY - Seared Salmon over Red Quinoa "Risotto" with Chorizo and Horseradish Vinaigrette

The judges reviewed all of the dishes; Paul's meat was a bit unevenly cooked, but Gretchen liked the wasabi with the lamb. Sarah's dish didn't have enough prune juice, but Padma liked the gooseberries. Gretchen liked the crunchy capers, Tom liked the horseradish with the tartare (and a look from Sarah at the compliment), and Gail liked the knifework. Lindsay's salmon was well received by Tom and Gretchen.

The judges grade the dishes, and Padma reminds them that the winner will win $10,000, but ALSO they'll be the first person in the final round - so they won't have to cook in the next two rounds. Paul came in last; Sarah took third place. And the winner is? Lindsay. (And Sarah is VERY pleased for her, of course!)

They head to the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, and discuss what is needed to win. Sarah claims that she doesn't underestimate Beverly. The next morning, the three of them go to the Whistler Olympic Park. Padma introduces John Montgomery, the Canadian Olympic Gold medalist in Skeleton. In this event, they'll have to move quickly, just as those who compete in Skeleton do. Their pantry is encased in blocks of ice!

They have one hour to thaw the ingredients and make it into a dish. They have ice picks and they're off to try and chip out the ingredients. It's funny to watch them chipping away - both Beverly and Sarah realize it's very Psycho-like. Paul gets the crab legs, and Beverly gets scallops. Paul ends up helping to break the ice blocks for Beverly and Sarah - he says "This challenge is about the food and not about the number of ice blocks you can smash." Beverly ends up spending almost 30 minutes to loosen her ingredients.

SARAH - Pea and Spinach Soup with Turmeric, Almonds & King Crab - they like the flavor, but Gail thinks the almonds are a bit heavy since the soup is so thin.

PAUL - Poached King Crab, Toasted Almonds, Mango Chutney with Orange Marmalade - Gail liked the mango/crab combo, but the mango was a bit frozen.

BEVERLY - Seared Scallop with Red Wine Reduction, Bettered Peas, Corn and Couscous - John Montgomery asks if Beverly was thinking about any of the other cheftestants - Gail said "I'll bet she can think of 1 or 2 people!" LOL Gail was impressed with the sear on the scallop, but the sauce was heavy. Padma said the couscous was done correctly.

And PAUL WINS the 2nd round!!! Woo hoo!!!! So it's Sarah against Beverly - which is what Sarah was concerned about!

The next morning, Sarah and Beverly head out for their final competition. Beverly notes she was bullied throughout the competition, so it feels right to go against Sarah in the final round. They walk up to see Padma with a gun in her hands. Padma introduces the guest judge - Olympic Gold medalist and one of the first women inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Cammi Granato.

They are in a culinary biathalon. They will have to cross-country ski along a course through the trees before they return to the shooting range where they shoot for their ingredients. They get 10 bullets to get their ingredients. Once an ingredient is shot, it's no longer available. As soon as they've got their ingredients, they will cook and serve their dish. Padma asks them if either have shot a gun; Sarah has, Beverly hasn't. Nor has Beverly skied either.

They run to strap on the skis and head out. Beverly gets into the lead very quickly, but then starts falling as her skis cross. Beverly gets so far ahead that she's already turned around on the course. Sarah takes a few headers into the snow, but Beverly reaches the shooting range first.

(NOTE - the skiing biathalon part? Just completely STUPID! This entire episode was STUPID! Just have them COOK, for crying out loud! Bravo? Magical Elves? Tom Colicchio? Please STOP with the stupid challenges and get back to JUST COOKING!!!)

Beverly's ingredients are Arctic Char but then misses her next 4 shots. She then gets Celery Root, spends 2 bullets for Winter Truffles and Fennel. She finally gets Beets on her last bullet.

Sarah misses her first 3 shots for Rabbit and finally gets Rabbit on her 5th bullet and gets Cabbage next, and then Hazelnuts, and lucks out and gets Cherries on her final bullet.

They both run into the kitchen and immediately start cooking. Sarah realizes that Beverly's on her game, having won LCK. Beverly is concerned that the kitchen doesn't have coconut milk or lemongrass, her usual flavors. Sarah gets pissed off that Beverly comes over to use *her* electrical plug for the blender. "Beverly, really?" They both finish plating in time and bring their dishes out to the judges.

BEVERLY - Slow-roasted Arctic Char with an Onion & Beet Compote, Celery Root Truffle Purée, and Fennel Salad

SARAH - Braised Rabbit Leg and Heart with Cherries, Hazelnuts & Sauerkraut Purée

Both chefs remain in front of the judges while they try their dishes. Tom asked Beverly her thought process on the evolution of the dish. He liked the flavors, but thought it was slightly overcooked. Gail thought the earthy flavors were perfect. Tom said to Sarah that everything worked nicely, saying that the braising of the rabbit leg was a risky move. Cammi said it was full of flavor, while Gail thought the rabbit was a bit tough.

They leave the dining area, and the judges deliberate. Sarah's dish was well received - they could taste the cherries and sauerkraut purée, Tom liked that she included the heart, Cammi liked the simplicity. Gail said that Beverly's dish was smart pairing the seafood with earthy flavors; Gretchen liked the beets and onions with the fish; Tom thought the char disappeared because it wasn't seasoned enough.

So - slightly tough rabbit vs. slightly underseasoned char. I have a feeling it *might* be the underseasoned char that does Beverly in.

In the "in-betweener", Paul and Lindsay come into the kitchen before final judging to congratulate Sarah and Beverly on their last round. Lindsay notes that she and Sarah have a special bond and she hopes that they're together in the finale. Paul says he loves how Beverly just won't go down, that she's fierce.

(And Sheila D. from Lexington, KY wins bonus points for her Fan Favorite yet AGAIN! LOL)

They're back in front of the judges. Tom reviews both dishes, and Padma announces that Beverly is asked to pack her knives and go. DAMMITALL! Sarah gets into the finale. She and Sarah give a hug, and Padma seems REALLY upset to see her go, and Tom also is slightly teary-eyed to see her go.

Back in the kitchen, Sarah gives Beverly a big, long hug as she's leaving, telling her that she's amazing; she's glad she got a chance to cook with her, and that she'd see her in Chicago. So perhaps they ARE somewhat friends and the damn Editing Elves were leading us all along!

Previews for the finale show Anita Lo as one of their special sous chefs (my assumption), and Padma noting that only TWO of them will move on to the finale! So they won't have a 3-person finale this season!

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  1. this is just pure comedy :)))

    edit: the skiiing

    1. I am seriously disappointed...this is supposed to be a show about chefs showcasing their culinary skills. Really?

      35 Replies
      1. re: LiveRock

        It has been in the past; definitely NOT this season, LiveRock. Note my comment above in the middle of the final challenge - let them get BACK to cooking and stop with these stupid games!

        1. re: LindaWhit

          I am compelled at this point to type "Top Chef Survivor." How utterly stupid.

          Thank you, once again Linda, for taking the hit for those of us who gave up on the season.

          I'm disappointed that Beverly went home. go, Paul!

          1. re: nikkihwood

            Yeah, Top Chef Survivor would definitely be a good way to describe it. But I'm still floored that there are some who aren't watching but just reading my recap. Thanks! LOL

            1. re: LindaWhit

              Your recap is better than the time I waste watching good chefs spend most of their time in stupid gaming instead of head to head cooking challenges.

              1. re: mcf

                I agree. I should stop watching the dumb show and just read Linda's recap, which is far more entertaining (and intelligent).

                This was the silliest episode ever.

              2. re: LindaWhit

                You are most welcome! The recaps are terrific, and until I gave up,, it was a a challenge for a WestCoaster to not click on your thread before I got to watch each weeks' show.

                Reading your thread' each week and the intelligent and entertaining comments is great fun.

                I've gotten an hour of my life back for a few weeks. haha. I'm sorry that you will still lose some of yours. But we so appreciate it. !

            2. re: LindaWhit

              Nearly every challenge this season has been contrived, promotional and just plain silly. What a shame that these really great chefs have had to deal with the foolishness of everything from the Real Housewives of Houston to PeeWee Herman to last nights embarrassing faux Olympic challenges. These people are accomplished chefs out to demonstrate their skills, but were treated like yoyos out to play in ridiculous situations. A very disappointing season from every perspective.

              1. re: chicgail

                Well stated... if they bother having another season, I really hope they get back to what used to make this show worth watching. I'm no longer feeling any excitement about TC night nor loyalty to the brand/show after this ludicrous season. And WHY are we having athletes judging food at this late date, especially??

                1. re: mcf

                  I'm with you. I'd have to see some compelling promos next season to set my DVR to "record season".

                  1. re: mcf

                    I completely agree!

                  2. re: chicgail

                    Hear, hear.

                    Last night was particularly trying. Obnoxious, even, in its inanity. Sigh. Each of the three stages were ridiculous and increased in absurdity as they went on. The gondola-thing was headshake-inducing but tolerable; the ice-picking was ludicrous and preposterous; and the biathlon was beyond incredulity.

                    /rant/

                    What if Paul Qui *had* become motion-sick and threw up and fell down dizzy, unable to continue? What if that ice-picking-and-smashing scene (what does that have to do with cooking?) turned into another ER-scene, with heart attacks, smashed/bloody/pierced hands? What if that biathlon farce (with one out-of-shape person who had used a gun a long time ago but never skied; and another very slightly built person who had never used skis and never used a gun) incurred yet more medical scenarios instead? I didn't even find the tape of their fumbling and struggling on their skis and flailing around funny in the least, even though it did involve Sarah G.; or the shooting hoo-ha; rather, it was anger-inducing in that they would *still* be subjecting people who were chefs there to do COOKING in the run-up to the finale to humiliating physical endurance and skill tests better showcased by trained and specialized athletes - whom they paraded as their ridiculous guest judges. Why, do they think all chefs should be able to ski through the woods and shoot their own game? Or be able to survive on the tundra like eskimos? More power to chefs who *can* do such things - but the show is NOT supposed to be about that. At least not what it once purported to be.

                    Oh, and toss in a few random brief snippets here and there of what looks vaguely like cooking.

                    I really wish that wind had actually blown Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio down.

                    /end rant/

                    1. re: huiray

                      Nicely ranted, huiray. And 110% accurate.

                      1. re: huiray

                        So with you.

                        1. re: huiray

                          YES!

                          1. re: huiray

                            +1 I also wonder if the shenanigans this season will affect the caliber of chefs that try out in the future. I can't picture the Voltaggios or Kevin participating in these stupid challenges.

                            1. re: dmjordan

                              Never thought of that...I wonder if the producers have! Hate hate hate this season. Had to re-watch season 1, just to remember how it used to, and was supposed to be!

                              I remember when LeeAnne was challenge coordinator, and she said she tested each challenge and if she could do it, it was fair game. Doubt the current dorks do that....someone said they thought the challenge dorks were on crack, personally, I think it must be (bad) acid.

                              I also think Tom is just calling it in, has favorites, and just does not care any more. That makes me really sad....

                              Last rant, TC is one long boring, stupid challenge and infomercial with a teeny bit of cooking thrown in.

                            2. re: huiray

                              Why not just watch Chopped? I mean do you even like the show?? I watch the show to have a little fun. Thats what I find the challenges, not ludicrous and preposterous, but fun. This is not a show about finding the best chef despite everyones wishes. Its about finding a person who is the best at Top Chef the television game-show and producing great ratings. It is what it is. Have some fun.

                              1. re: ThoughtForFood

                                I'm so on the fence on this.On the one hand I agree the challenges here were pretty over the top, but heck, I also found myself amused! It is what it is. Fair? No. But the "stress" in wondering whether they will actually manage to shoot to get an ingredient does add some drama which wouldn't otherwise be there. You are right- it is what it is.

                                1. re: DGresh

                                  I have to agree, completely.... I was entertained.

                                  I have always admitted that I like a bit of the drama, because it helps me cheer for one person over another.

                                  It's like hockey - if I am watching my favorite team (NY Rangers!!) - I wholheartedly enjoy watching the game and cheering, but if I am watching two teams who I no nothing about/have no invested interest - then I can't find any enjoyment in watching the game.

                                  If I know nothing of these chef's personality, I would find no interest in watching the show.
                                  Now, if I was a judge and was there, and tasting the food - it would be completely different.

                                  so....I'm also on the fence on this one.

                                2. re: ThoughtForFood

                                  Chopped has those snarky sour condescending judges, especially Alex Guarnaschelli who is pretty insufferable.

                                  Top Chef *used* to be much more about the cooking. Seasons 4 and 6 for example as compared with this one were so different. Many folks on these boards, including me, have commented about how TC is a reality game show etc etc - but have also decried the increasing drift towards a form where cooking is but an afterthought, if it is even there at all. Including on this very thread. Perhaps you missed those posts.

                                  1. re: huiray

                                    +1000 on the Chopped and Alex Guarnaschelli comment. I can't stand that woman.

                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                      Look up sourpuss in the dictionary and there's a picture of her.

                                      1. re: bobbert

                                        Don't want to see her sourpuss, not even if I have to, and I don't have to.

                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                          She's the main reason I routinely flip back and forth, sometimes just refusing to watch Chopped at all. I'll usually stick around if Aaron Sanchez is on the panel, but Alex can sometimes cancel out even him. She's just horrid!

                                          1. re: KailuaGirl

                                            Alex is neither horrible nor a sourpuss. She's directed to be that way.

                                            1. re: chicgail

                                              She should easily win an Oscar or, I guess, an Emmy. Either her or the director because she pulls off a great sourpuss.

                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                I've read multiple interviews where the judges say that they hate having to be so.... awful to the chefs. They are told to be mean and to be "sourpusses" because the producers think it makes for more dramatic television. AG gets so much hate because of it, when that is not reality.

                                                1. re: kubasd

                                                  I guess Alex is just the best of the bunch, then.

                                                  1. re: kubasd

                                                    that is so fucking stupid it makes me never want to watch that show again.

                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                      I boycotted the show for a bit, but now when I watch it, I can't help but chuckle a little at the stink-eye face she makes

                                                    2. re: kubasd

                                                      If that is the modus operandi for the show, then I surely don't have any interest in watching it.

                                      2. re: huiray

                                        Thank you, huiray! You took the words right out of my mouth. I was fuming the whole time I was watching last night. If they keep doing this in the next season, I'm done with Top Chef. It's humiliating to the contestants and also to us, the viewers.

                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                      Seriously stupid! I'm starting to think Top Chef Scallop might be a good idea. Certainly beats Top Chef Skeet Shooter.
                                      I was sad to see Beverly go, and even more upset that Sarah got into the final three. It will be nice to see Anita Lo next week. I wonder who else will be there as sous chefs.

                                      1. re: KailuaGirl

                                        Pausing my DVR, I saw Floyd Cardoz. There was an East Asian guy there as well but couldn't recognize him.

                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                          Takashi Yagihashi, I think...

                                  2. Went over to Bravo to see if any blogs were up and read Hugh's blog here:

                                    http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/seaso...

                                    Funny as usual - loved these comments:

                                    "Lindsay is pretending this is like hunting gator in a Jon boat in the Okefenokee swamp. She is dressed like a Bond villainess, white turtleneck with black hat, making this gator hunt more interesting."

                                    "The ingredients are in ice blocks. This is a Canadian traditional joke that we play on Americans, much in the same way of us giving you Corey Hart and Bryan Adams. "

                                    "The timer goes off, and Beverly clutches her temple like her dark overlord wants her to return to base. The voices are strong with this one. "

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      Thank God for Hugh! This was such a stupid episode....

                                      1. re: jeanmarieok

                                        I actually made a phone call I knew would be long during this episode. It was ridiculous. Why would any of us care if these final 4 can ski and chip ice away from their food? Might have been a clever bit when there were still 10 of them, but the final four??
                                        My boyfriend had JUST been talked into watching this show and he is now questioning my judgement from this one show. And he watches Gold Rush, folks! It was useless. ;))

                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                        Have you (or others) read the comments on his blog, as well as those of Gail Simmons and Team Top Chef?
                                        "They" (i.e. Colicchio & Co.) supposedly read them. Do TPTB?

                                        1. re: huiray

                                          The comments on Hugh's blog? No, I haven't read them. Why?

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            Basically all of them slam the show or episode, some pretty hard. The comments on Gail Simmons blog I think are even worse than those on Hugh Acheson's.

                                            1. re: huiray

                                              Good. Hopefully TPTB will realize they've screwed up with their viewing public.

                                      3. So, I actually watched 10 minutes of Andy Cohen's show, and had to laugh at the Honey Badger's voiceover guy (Randall?) doing a Bev version. Anyone else catch it?

                                        18 Replies
                                        1. re: momjamin

                                          the randall video was more entertaining than most of this season.

                                          1. re: momjamin

                                            I totally fell asleep while they were chipping the ice and came here to read Linda's recap ...

                                            But now I learn that I missed a honey badger VoiceOver ?

                                            Grrrrrrrrrrr!!!!

                                            1. re: momjamin

                                              Umm....what's the Honey Badger? I can't abide Andy Cohen, especially how he's become on his own show, and have no idea what you're talking about.

                                              Can sumbunny 'splain to me? Get it? Bunny? And Sarah cooked rabbit? I crack myself up sometimes. Not this time tho. Lame-o. :-)

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                Viral video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r7wHM.... Randall's voice has become an internet meme, and they put together a bunch of clips of Bev with his voiceover. I'll post that clip if I can find it.

                                                1. re: momjamin

                                                  Bev gets honey badgered: http://www.bravotv.com/watch-what-hap...

                                                  1. re: momjamin

                                                    Ah... that was it? Thanks. I did see it but thought nothing of it except that it was a slightly idiosyncratic collection of vignettes and the voice-over was some unrecognized dude with a funny voice and a slight snark in the comments. "Honey Badger" stuff – sorry, still meaningless to me and sorry again but I don't get its humor. Just me. Anyway, I walked away from WWHL basically after that. Andy Cohen and L'il Kim (Who's she? Oh...some singer) were hard to watch with Cohen being even more of a Flapper than normal.

                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                      The honey badger is one of the most popular viral videos of all time.

                                                      With a good reason! Honey Badgers are pretty badass!

                                                      Heather was a honey badger

                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                        The honey badger stuff annoys me because now folks who've never even seen a honey badger in a zoo keep trying to tell me how much this that or the other thing is like a honey badger.

                                                        1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                          I can definitely see how it gets overplayed VERY quickly. I see Randall has a book tour. Yeah, I think I'll skip that. :-/

                                                          1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                            My tennis team became honey badgers because we take what we want.

                                                            our motto is be the honey badger, not the cobra!

                                                          2. re: huiray

                                                            Well, if you've been living under a rock and haven't seen the honey badger video, then I guess it wouldn't make any sense. Just to explain: you know how nature programs are always narrated by a serious man with a serious professional narrator/actor voice? Well this guy took some clips from a show about a honey badger and did his own narration in his funny voice with his snarky comments. And it's pretty silly. But a take off of a take off isn't funny if you don't have the context.

                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                              So I gather. Thanks for the explanation.

                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                I have been living under a huge hunk of Sioux Quartzite so I have not seen the honey badger video. After reading you description, I guess I have not missed much. I have a habit of avoiding the masses with their internet adventures.

                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                  My demographic definitely lives under that rock (or at least DH and I do) so I had to look it up. Now I get it, I guess :) I texted my DD at college and of course she knew about it. And then asked "*Why?" Guess she couldn't see any reason for dear mom to need this knowledge!

                                                                  1. re: DGresh

                                                                    We must be in the same demographic. The one that doesn't watch you tube videos. The one that asks our college kids, and our kids ask "why"? We were talking about "memes", and son said, "hmm....I thought it was a you-tube video".

                                                                    I still haven't bothered to watch it......(crawling back under rock....)

                                                                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                      I watch youtube videos - on occasion - but still have not bothered to look up this Honey Badger video. I think Ruth L's description is sufficient for me.

                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                        Yeah, it's a "I've seen it once; I don't need to see it again in slightly different ways."

                                                            2. re: momjamin

                                                              "Honey Badger don't care; Honey Badger don't give a shit!" OK, pretty funny! Off to see Bev get honey-badgered. :-D

                                                        2. It's interesting that Tom noted that Bev usually cooks "Asian," but he doesn't know that the reason she didn't is because she didn't have those ingredients. I can only surmise that Bev doesn't know much about flavor combinations other than those she already knows, which are predominately Korean, Chinese, and Thai. So she sticks to cooking "Asian" and does it well, but when she can't do "Asian" and when no one has picked the flavor combo for her (think Nyesha in LCK), then she stumbles. Ultimately I don't know why she lost to Sarah. It could've been the components didn't mesh well, or something else entirely. In any case, there's so much tension/drama with her on the show, and the bizarre challenges, makes this season really annoying to watch.

                                                          72 Replies
                                                          1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                            it didn't seem like she stumbled at all, did it? she did very well, they had to nitpick, in the end, to find the winner.... slightly undercooked fish, as opposed to slightly tough rabbit? i thought they were actually appreciating her effort and mostly success at going out of her comfort zone?

                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                              agreed. the judges' comments all indicated that Bev nailed the flavors of the vegetables, and were impressed with her pairing of their earthiness with the fish. not sure how WWD could take that to mean Bev "doesn't know much" about flavor combinations outside her usual comfort zone or that she "stumbled. in fact, when Tom noted that she strayed from her standard MO, he praised her for doing so successfully.

                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                Watch the extended judging. She used strong flavors which may have clashed and also obscured the fish. I was reading between the lines and generally right.

                                                                1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                  actually i'll take your word for it - i have no desire to watch any more of this dreck.

                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                    You're not a masochist? Heck, I thought we all were, especially since we come here afterwards to argue about stuff that we can't taste and support/degrade chefs based on some highly edited footages.

                                                              2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                Bev's was under seasoned as well which I believe was the deciding factor.

                                                                1. re: JAB

                                                                  right, but that doesn't mean she doesn't know about flavor combinations, it just means she didn't use enough seasoning. a simple mistake. and one that cost her. she's made simple mistakes in her asian dishes too. all the chefs have.

                                                              3. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                I think Tom has said all along that Bev really knows her flavors. The final elimination came down to a tough protein or an underseasoned one. I don't think anyone implied that she didn't meld her flavor combinations well. In fact, I think it was the opposite.

                                                                I was a little surprised it didn't go to Bev with Sarah not cooking the rabbit well versus a slight seasoning problem, but Tom clearly likes Sarah. I guess in the end, Tom and the guest judge had more of a say than Gail and Padma who both seemed to prefer Bev's dish. I'm only disappointed because I cannot even with Sarah and her drama. She irks me more than Betty (season 2), Lisa (season 4?) and Jaime (all stars) combined. Which how? And yet, every time I think I'm being harsh, she does something else that is like nails on a chalkboard to me.

                                                                I can't blame editing on the fact that she interrupted Bev when they were in the car to say "Oh, look trees!" while on a mountain top. Or that she complained about the number of shots she got because somehow Bev had more? What the hell with her?

                                                                All I can say is that Paul had better win the whole thing because what with what he's done this entire season and his amazingness in helping both Bev and Sarah get their ingredients in that RIDICULOUS ice block challenge (so much for fresh ingredients and not using frozen seafood), he is now my favorite cheftestant ever.

                                                                1. re: Kalee

                                                                  AGREE on the interruption in the car and her beeyotching about getting more bullets than Beverly. REALLY, Sarah? You REALLY think that the producers are going to do that? Stupidity personified.

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    Did you see the look (smirk?) that she gave Lindsay behind Beverly's back after she did it? Clearly, it wasn't an accidental interruption. Meh, all the kindness towards Beverly from Sarah and Lindsay after she's asked to PYKAG seems really, really fake....at least to me.

                                                                    1. re: yummfood

                                                                      Missed that, but not surprised. The "nice Sarah" lasted all of a few minutes on the show.

                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                        Nice Sarah will be miles ahead of many people posting here. The nastiness is so overwhelming that I have to stop reading the commentary. It's really quite sad, actually.

                                                                        1. re: Lizard

                                                                          Given that the show has totally sold out to every conceivable product placement, cross-promotion and profit-increasing event, why do you find it so surprising that the Elves created a "storyline" that turned Sarah into a mean girl. Maybe she was and maybe she wasn't, but at this point it appears that the producers would encourage and accept anything that would increase viewership/botton line, regardless of whether or not it actually happened.

                                                                          1. re: chicgail

                                                                            True.

                                                                            After reading this article,
                                                                            http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news...
                                                                            it appears that the two women would have been told they had five bullets and then had to complete more laps on skis before getting another five bullets. But they had taken so long to that point that the bullet count was increased to ten on the fly.

                                                                            Hence Sarah being confused about hearing more bullets than five, and then her words and meaning were twisted in the editing process.

                                                                            This made me curious to go back and re-watch the first few minutes where Sarah appears to interrupt Beverly with the trees comment.

                                                                            The changes in background scenery make me wonder if that was really a continuous block, or yet more editing to suit the production's storyline. During that exchange, the scenery changes from open to wooded very quickly.

                                                                            1. re: souvenir

                                                                              Mischievous elves. Again.

                                                                              1. re: souvenir

                                                                                When I saw the 'look at that tree!' scene live I thought it might be editing by the Elves and knew Sarah would be called a b*tch once again, but I only saw the scene the one time. I too believe it is distinctly possible it did not happen the way we saw it on TV. There was a reaction shot somewhere in the episode too that was there to make someone look bad and yet we don't know if it was real or not.

                                                                              2. re: chicgail

                                                                                I don't find it surprising that there was an attempt to craft Sarah as mean girl. What surprises and disappoints (although clearly it shouldn't) is how readily so many here buy into that characterisation with absolutely no critical thinking. While I can see how this could be done, particularly after the Restaurant Wars episode in which some people articulated their frustration with Beverly's scattiness and tendency towards self-absorbtion, I think the construction has appeared forced. More notable has been the wilful disregard of other contestants' similar sentiments. That combined with declarations of 'beeyotch' as well as nasty slams on the character (and appearance) of women has made this really ugly-- and has had the comments come across as mean girlish far more than anything Sarah and Lindsay have ever done. I'm glad you're aware of the producers' creation of characters and narrative as we all should be; I'm less glad that people here can watch this and sense anything beyond that. I'm also not thrilled by the lack of critical engagement with the construction of the programme or the responses to it.

                                                                                Full disclosure, I think all appear to be fine chefs and I would be delighted to eat anyone's food; I have no favourites, just a distaste for nastiness.

                                                                                1. re: Lizard

                                                                                  I think everyone, or most people anyway, understand that the edit creates and exaggerates character flaws, takes comments out of context, manufactures scandal, etc. There has been plenty of discussion of the techniques used by the show's editors to create drama and narrative in these threads for as long as I've been reading em.

                                                                                  Thing is, these threads are here to discuss the show, the narrative, the characters. And it's tedious to include a disclaimer in every post that the editing is biased and thus not truly representative of the contestants as people IRL.

                                                                                  In a sense, it might help you to think of the on-screen contestants as characters in a narrative... and the commentary in these threads as comments about those characters. Walking up to sarah on the street and calling her a bitch is a terrible thing to do. Calling her a bitch on a thread about the show (which she willingly signed up for, presumably knowing that she might get a villain's edit) is not the same. Her 'character' was, in fact, bitchy. Is real-life Sarah? We don't know beyond a semi-informed kind of speculation. But that's not what the discussion is about.

                                                                                  While it is indeed useful to think critically about how 'reality' TV portrays or distorts reality, it is also important to think critically about what's actually going on in a thread discussing a 'reality' narrative.

                                                                                  I do agree that some of the comments about people's appearances have gotten unpleasantly crude at times. Forgiveness is granted (at least on my part) for any especially funny or clever comments about hair or clothing, though.

                                                                                  I also agree with you that all of these contestants look like excellent cooks IRL. I don't think it's clear how difficult competition cooking is to people who haven't competed.

                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                    This. I think everything that's said here is with the understanding that what we see may not be an entirely accurate representation of what actually happened. But at the end of the day, we can only react to what's shown onscreen, because otherwise, what's the point of talking about the show?

                                                                                    1. re: piccola

                                                                                      Until this season, I would have agreed with this. There is something about this season's editing that has been so ham-handed that I feel differently. I'm hoping this all can be chalked up to the everything's bigger in Texas approach, and next season will become more subtle.

                                                                                      I also wonder who is filling the Lee Anne Wong staff position. Perhaps they have not found a good fit yet and are filling in with staff from other reality show productions.

                                                                                      1. re: souvenir

                                                                                        i agree (Souvenir's post). in past seasons, contestants' personalities were allowed to come out more organically w confessionals, funny moments were allowed to happen, everything seemed more balanced. most importantly, there was much more focus on the *food* and the *cooking.* this season it seems like personalities or characters are engineered from the get-go-- but it is so "ham handed"... it winds up not making sense-- like when everyone was led to believe that sarah and bev despise each other, then it's like, oh wait, those two are hugging now? inconvenient details that don't mesh with the contrived & manufactured conflict of personalities and the "good guy/bad guy" edits are left out, so folks see the reaction of some contestants to the actions/statements of others, but not the context in which it would make sense. all in all it just looks like the show has lost touch w its original fanbase and is dumping them(us) in favor of another demographic, and the ad bucks that presumably come with those folks... but not if nobody watches the dang show.

                                                                                        so it's sort of a little less compelling than watching a badly dubbed anime segment chopped down to fill a half-time slot.

                                                                                        and there is virtually zero focus on the food or cooking

                                                                                        and-- not to overly belabor this point-- but in the future, contestants would be nuts to potentially open themselves to the sort of exploitative editing that is so overt this season. i expect to see less talent (& a roomful of """chef tyler stone"""- types) next year, to see respected (top chef masters level) chefs and restaurateurs be less willing to associate with the show as judges, and for myself, to not bother watching, at all.

                                                                                        tom c.'s media silence is pretty telling. show's got some major integrity problems right now. how are the ratings going, i wonder?

                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                          Who's Chef Tyler Stone? Curtis? He's a sham, IMO. But Tyler Florence cooks.

                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                            chef tyler stone is the "personal chef to the stars" that you may remember (or may wish to forget), from the very first episode this season, where the big group of chefs were awarded coats, sent home, or put "on the bubble." he was very young and conceited, and mangled the butchering early on, affecting grayson's cut of loin. tom sent him packing, despite his cosmetically enhanced smile.

                                                                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                              That should have been a forewarning of how this season was going to go except that he was summarily dismissed for being an inept jerk. I do wonder what Tom thinks of all the nonsense this season.

                                                                                              1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                AH, yes, thanks. He was uber obnoxious and inept.

                                                                                            2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                              Thank you souvenir and soupkitten. I'd also clarify that the lack of critical engagement with what's 'onscreen' or the inability to consider the manipulations that do seem so prominent, strike me as disappointing and naive. The fact that these so often lead to nasty claims about characters is also troubling, because even if these people have submitted themselves to become characters for a programme, it would be decent of viewers to remember that there are real people beyond that representation and to rethink the level of vitriol they use. They are characters on a story we are watching, but because this is a non-scripted programme using non-actors (who perform versions of themselves) some consideration of the real-world effects of such nastiness would be nice.
                                                                                              Plus, I still can't get over the gendered aspect of these characterisations that accompany braying cries of 'beeyotch' (really?) and other unpleasant epithets...

                                                                                          2. re: piccola

                                                                                            From what I have read on these threads I don't believe more than 20% of people watching and posting here has any idea of what the video and audio editors can do to manipulate what we see on these programs.

                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                              Reality shows are scripted - scripted - before they are shot. The producers know what they want. They set up situations, ask the right questions and provide enough footage so that the editors can produce the final product as it was preconceived.

                                                                                              I agree with soupkitten than this heightened drama and product placements and contrived situations and exploitive editing would discourage many self-respecting chefs to consider participating.

                                                                                              The ratings may well be up, but the quality is in the toilet.

                                                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                The ratings may well be up, but the quality is in the toilet.
                                                                                                ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                indeed. Charmin would be the perfect sponsor for this season.

                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                  "Charmin would be the perfect sponsor for this season."

                                                                                                  Ugh. Think of the product placement..."After we got out of the Toyota, I headed to the bathroom to enjoy the go with my Charmin bathroom tissue"

                                                                                                  1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                    Too bad all the soap operas are getting cancelled or they could plug all the drama going on with the drama going in in the show. I can see Susan Lucci going head to head with Heather and/or Sarah as the head drama queen.

                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                      which pales in comparison to the drama going around here:
                                                                                                      "oh how they've ruined MY show"
                                                                                                      lather, rinse, repeat.

                                                                                                      1. re: linus

                                                                                                        and you know, we're all (apparently) still watching the darn thing, and commenting on it. As I suspect we will next season regardless.

                                                                                                        1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                          actually, i don't plan to watch next season unless i know one of the competitors and want to show my personal support for them. otherwise i'll just keep an eye on the general reaction to it. if it sounds like they've returned to something more akin to the good old days perhaps i'll rejoin the fray at some point.

                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                            You're going to leave me ogling AB and ER all by myself? ::::sniff, sniff:::: (If either show up, that is.)

                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                              But...but...there're all those other muscular, bronzed studs that would be (postulatedly) showing up... :-) After all, AB and ER are only going to be a subset of the "cast members" that TC seems to be headed for... :-P

                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                Name two. ;-)

                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                  Heh - I said "postulatedly" - so we'll just have to wait to see what hunks turn up in the cast, won't we. :-)

                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                    :::Wishin', and hopin'::::: :-)

                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                It's a sign LindaWhit ... come back to your true love. HK

                                                                                                                1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                  No way, no how, Firegoat. Ain't happenin'.

                                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                  you should be happy you get them all to yourself! i don't need eye candy on TC, i get my weekly fix on H5O ;)

                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                    um, ahem. i'll be right there behind you, trying to edge you out.

                                                                                                              3. re: linus

                                                                                                                Nobody will actually watch the show. Instead, we'll all just comment on how the show is now so awful that we don't watch it.

                                                                                                                1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                  Well, I'm not going to recap if no one's going to watch!

                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                    I'M GOING TO WATCH LINDA!!!! PLEASE DON'T STOP THE RECAPS!! PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZE.... ok, you can have AB and ER all to yourself, ok? I'm completely done with them! please, just please say you'll keep recapping... oh please oh please... *whimper* *sniff*....

                                                                                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                      ::::Giggling:::: Well, 17 episodes makes for one tired LindaWhit. So I do have to say I'm glad next week is IT after the Finale Part 1 last night. Other than the Reunion show (will have to check to see if that's the following week).

                                                                                                                      And what chowser said below - we KNOW what the show *could* be, having seen it in several seasons. So to see it go back downhill to TC5-level antics is disappointing. I hope wherever they choose to film next year (Portland, OR or Boston, MA) they STOP with the stunt Quickfires and ECs and just let. them. cook.

                                                                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                      I'm watching. Crazy me, I actually still enjoy the show.

                                                                                                                      1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                        I'll still watch and am still enjoying the show. I just think it has been, and could be, so much better w/out the unnecessary drama/unrelated stunts. OTOH, it's still far better than most other shows out there,

                                                                                                          2. re: chicgail

                                                                                                            Your point is why I never put too much stock in the comments made in the confessionals. How many times and ways is a question asked to elicit the desired response?

                                                                                                2. re: Lizard

                                                                                                  Sarah was edited to show meanness (eg many of the comments people have posted here). People have commented negatively on that so you, in turn, post negatively about people who post negatively about Sarah. How is your comment different from other posters comments? I have no horse in this race since I haven't commented on Sarah's behavior here. Calling others "quite sad, actually" is as bad as most comments about Sarah.

                                                                                                  1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                    Isn't that a little pot/kettle-ish?

                                                                                                3. re: yummfood

                                                                                                  Yeah, that wasn't kindness, just spontaneous outpourings of relief that they no longer had to compete against her because on most days she outcooks them both, and while annoying as heck, isn't mean.

                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                    That's what I got as well. Relief that it was all over as opposed to sincere kindness.

                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                      Totally agree. She was so afraid to go head to head with Bev. She didn't even mention going head to head with Paul, who in my opinion is the better chef.

                                                                                                      1. re: dmjordan

                                                                                                        It is probably because she would have no fear of shame in losing to Paul.

                                                                                                    2. re: yummfood

                                                                                                      Ugh. Yeah, Sarah's nice comments at the end seemed totally fake. I actually used to like Sarah a lot at the beginning of the season -- until she decided to follow evil Lindsay's lead and her very ugly side came out. Do not like. Maybe it's editing elves, but I don't think so.

                                                                                                      I'm now rooting for Paul, who seems like the nicest guy ever and a wonderful chef to boot.

                                                                                                  2. re: Kalee

                                                                                                    http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/seaso...

                                                                                                    I just watched the extended judges table. It clearly shows that Bev mixed too many flavors and not all were complementary.

                                                                                                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                      I watched that and read Gail's blog. Looks like Bev also had a plating slip up on Gail's plate.

                                                                                                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                        That explains a lot.

                                                                                                      2. re: Kalee

                                                                                                        Bev's was undercooked and under seasoned.

                                                                                                        1. re: Kalee

                                                                                                          Paul is the Mother F...ing man. If anyone has any doubts as to whether he would have taken the car or not, let that be put to rest last night. If he was going to win, it was going to be what he considered fair play and not because he's better able to chop ingredients out of ice better than the other contestants. The show has even jumped the shark for the contestants.

                                                                                                        2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                          I believe Beverly lost to Sarah because the producers felt the show needs an antagonist going forward.

                                                                                                          1. re: silvergirl

                                                                                                            Antagonist=Beeeyatch.

                                                                                                            1. re: silvergirl

                                                                                                              Sarah isn't an antagonist with respect to Paul or Lindsay. If your theory is correct, they would've kept Bev because she's the one that doesn't get along with others.

                                                                                                              1. re: silvergirl

                                                                                                                Check out the link to the extended judges table in a post above this one. The producers do not choose who stays and who PPYKAG.

                                                                                                                1. re: silvergirl

                                                                                                                  That doesn't happen on TC.

                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                    Anthony Bourdain, who I believe had a falling out with TC so has no reason to defend them, except for his own integrity, said unequivocally that producers make absolutely no decisions when it comes to who stays and who goes. the judging is completely on the up-and-up, and no considerations of what makes good drama ever comes into play.

                                                                                                                  2. re: silvergirl

                                                                                                                    If you want to come up with a conspiracy theory, you might as well say that the second challenge giving the advantage to someone who is physically stronger and get at more ingredients was intended to give manly Paul the advantage if he didn't win the first challenge in order to maximize the probability of a female-female catfight in the third challenge.

                                                                                                                    1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                      That conspiracy theory doesn't really sound too crazy.

                                                                                                                      1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                        I admit to wearing a tinfoil hat. It's in my nature. But Top Chef just makes me sad this season.

                                                                                                                      2. re: silvergirl

                                                                                                                        If that's the case, they would have kept self-professed BFF Lindsay and Sarah vs.Bev and gotten rid of even keeled Paul. But, then that's what was said about Heather and she left much earlier.

                                                                                                                    2. Wow. Just wow. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

                                                                                                                      I do think that if there was a plug where bev was cooking, it was pretty rude to plug in where Sarah was cooking.

                                                                                                                      I wish Paul, bev, and Sarah had just refused to chip ice. To have stood united against the idiocy. And I adored Paul for helping people and his comment about how it should be about the cooking.

                                                                                                                      I would like to have Sarah's rabbit dish on my table tomorrow night, but not tough.

                                                                                                                      Are they really cooking for 150 next week. Down to three and we have a catering challenge? Is that typical? Yuck.

                                                                                                                      Linda's note in the middle of the recap was dead on. Thanks Linda, for giving us something to look forward to on Wednesday nights.

                                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                        Oh - that's right - I forgot the preview of the cooking for 150. Gah. Whoever's coming up with these challenges needs to be canned. And I don't mean the cooking-type of "canned".

                                                                                                                        1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                          It's Top Chef, not Top Cook. They should be cooking for more than four or eight or twelve people.

                                                                                                                          1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                            Cooking for a smaller group is probably more applicable to restaurant cooking. Mainly because in a restaurant, one person usually only cooks so many portions at a time. The problem with catering challenges is just that - they're catering.

                                                                                                                            The exception that proves the rule - restaurant wars. There they cook for many people, but they serve them sequentially. And despite the large numbers of plates served, no one really complains about restaurant wars, because it allows the contestants to use their skillset well and makes for compelling TV.

                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                              Nevertheless, let us recall that:
                                                                                                                              • In Season 4 they had Richard Blais, Stephanie Izard, Antonia Lofaso and Lisa Fernandes cook 3 dishes each (with help) for a Garden Party/Reception hosted by the Governor of Puerto Rico in Part 1 of the finale...with guests perambulating simultaneously and en masse... (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Chef...)
                                                                                                                              • In Season 5 they had the finalists cater a Masquerade Ball at the New Oleans Museum of Art for ~100 people... (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Chef...)
                                                                                                                              • In Season 6 the Voltaggio brothers, Kevin Gillespie and Jennifer Carroll catered the "crush party" in the Napa Valley with two dishes each for about 150 guests... (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Chef...)
                                                                                                                              • In Season 7 the finalists as a team catered that Food & Wine event in Part 1 of the finale - but that was more of a "Restaurant Wars" type thing with dishes served a la minute. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Chef...)

                                                                                                                              In Seasons 2 and 3 the first part of the finales also involved catering for a large dinner party (Aspen; Season 3) or that Hawaiian beach party (Season 2) although there were probably fewer guests. In Season 8 the 5 finalists did have to cater for 'The King of Junkanoo' and his party and hangers-on in that restaurant where they had the fire... :-) although there were also probably fewer guests than 150 and it was also "restaurant style".

                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                True. But one challenge does not a season make. Like I said to John below - I wouldn't mind this weeks episode so much if I wasn't already quite sick of challenges that don't allow the chefs to use their skillsets well.

                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                  That's why I asked. I really couldn't remember. I think it annoys me more than past seasons because of the number of annoying challenges this season.

                                                                                                                                2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                  I actually think restaurant wars is a bit overrated and I'd like them to put a spin on it, like make each team come up with a name and a one- or two-sentence mission statement, then force them to swap concepts.

                                                                                                                                  The real purpose of restaurant wars is to put the contestants in a stressful situation so that someone has a meltdown. It's setting the chefs up for someone to fail, which usually makes for great TV.

                                                                                                                                3. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                  How often do restaurant chefs cook for 150 people at the same time? I don't know of any restaurants in my town that open the gates like that. They have seatings, tickets coming in continuously, but that seems very different to me than having a warmer of food for 150 people ready to go.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                    I've done both, and you're absolutely correct. Caterers regularly cook for/serve multiples of 100. Restaurant chefs prep for a crowd but cook for the table.

                                                                                                                              2. I kinda understand that they have to have the chefs do something to force them to be creative and cook something that they haven't practiced for months but the only thing that might be stupider than these challenges would be, I don't know, maybe have PeeWee Herman as a judge but that would be so stupid they'd never do it.

                                                                                                                                Guest judges: WTF? as in WHO TF? Did we troll some Whistler bars looking for obscure sport champions? OK, they were very attractive but I'm sure that had nothing to do with it.

                                                                                                                                Too bad for Sarah that Bravo blew the entire wardrobe budget on Padma's ever changing snow bunny outfits and she had to shop at the Whistler Good Will.

                                                                                                                                I think Sarah must have been appalled by how she's been portrayed during the season and her new "nice" persona actually won me over. Good for her to want to change.

                                                                                                                                Lindsay's still a bitch.

                                                                                                                                How cool is Paul, really? During the stupid challenge... I guess I should specify which stupid challenge.. the one with everything frozen, he helps out the ladies basically saying how stupid it is and that it should be about the cooking. And then he's so composed you could have pictured him plating, throw on a dinner jacket and light up a pipe ala Hugh Hefner and kick back on a lazy boy while the judges tasted the food.

                                                                                                                                Oh yeah, I guess they cooked some food as well. Most of it looked pretty good but the absurdity of the challenges really overshadowed everything else.

                                                                                                                                23 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                  How cool is Paul, really? ... he helps out the ladies basically saying how stupid it is and that it should be about the cooking.
                                                                                                                                  ________
                                                                                                                                  Right on. I have a hard time imagining anyone but the friends and family of his competitors rooting for anyone but Paul at this point. Classy move on his part.

                                                                                                                                  Either of the last two challenges could have easily had one of the chefs without anything to cook.

                                                                                                                                  The chefs seemed to do reasonably well with the challenges they were dealt. It's become fairly clear (to me at least) that the talent level this season is on par with other seasons but the challenges have been more ridiculous and less suited to good cooking.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                    "Sarah had to shop at the Whistler Goodwill" - TOO funny, bobbert!

                                                                                                                                    But you really think her "nice" persona came out? She interrupted Beverly in the car driving up to Whistler right off the bat. I don't think she changed much.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                      I agree, Linda..

                                                                                                                                      I was really annoyed at how many times Lindsay and Sarah mentioned how much they wanted to beat Beverly.. I was really getting angry.

                                                                                                                                      Enough already...we get it...keep your mouth shut!

                                                                                                                                      Yeah, I'll freak if either of those two win...

                                                                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                        I think they'd say that about anyone who got back in the final off LCK.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                          No way!

                                                                                                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                        Yeah, I thought she must have been watching the show and didn't care for what she looked like. On the other hand, the first time I watched I missed the "tree" part. I might have been having my first (of many) aneurysm during the show.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                          I sure hope that bobbert was being sarcastic.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                            I believe it was a bit of funny hyperbole on bobbert's part. Just an extreme comparison of their outfits.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                              Since there was very little cooking to critique I thought I'd critique their outfits. OK, Padma has to look the best, I get that. Paul gets a kind of snow border dude look, cool. Lindsay gets that James Bond 007 girl look that Hugh writes so eloquently about. Beverly has a pretty nice outfit. Then there's Sarah. Who the hell dressed her? The producers had to be thinking how much fun it would be if they just rummaged through the base lodge lost and found and made her wear whatever miss-matched clothing they could find.

                                                                                                                                              "She needs a hat? I saw this redish one in the parking lot that fell off a school bus. Go grab it from that golden retriever before Sarah finds something that might match the rest of her outfit." Did they tell the cheftestants to bring warm ski wear and that was what Sarah came up with on her own? If so, she deserves to lose on principle alone.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                Like. Like. Like.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                  +2.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                  OK, I'm back in if you continue this week after week. LOL!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                    ROTFLMAO!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                      i have to make one positive comment about Sarah - i like the slightly longer hair on her. it's much softer.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                        i liked the new do too!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                          It's always a bit odd to see the contestants after the pretty long break. Paul looked like he'd gained some pounds (but in a good way).

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                          OK, while it looks better? She now has a Justin Bieber haircut. And that just squicks me out.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                            my nieces would be devastated to hear me say this, but i wouldn't know Justin Bieber if i tripped over him...so fortunately i didn't make the association with Sarah's 'do :)

                                                                                                                                                3. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                  When Gail said that the mango was still slightly frozen, I wanted Paul to be like "really? REALLY? It's down to the wire and I'm cutting food out of blocks of ice."

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lbs

                                                                                                                                                    Oh, now THAT would have been a perfect Grayson-like response from Paul! I just don't think he's capable of saying it out loud though.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lbs

                                                                                                                                                      I wanted him to say some thing along the 'No s**t? It was embedded in ice I've had to cook and serve it out side in below freezing temperatures."

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lbs

                                                                                                                                                        +5000 lbs. Frozen? REALLY? whodathunk!?

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                        Re: the choice of the Olympic athletes as judges. OK, I can maybe get behind an athlete who has some cooking chops, maybe published a sports-related cookbook or something. But don't Olympic athletes typically have a primary goal in dining as something like "consume 5000 calories a day to keep up with the training"? Not to overgeneralize, but I'm not thinking "discerning palate."

                                                                                                                                                      3. I don't recall, did many people on these threads suggest the diving for conch and cooking on a fire on the beach as being a stupid challenge? The final four last season had to team up in twos and cook for 150 as well. I do not think this season's last couple of episodes are all that different from last season in terms of difficulty or outlandishness.

                                                                                                                                                        82 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                          The conch-diving conceit was indeed a stupid challenge, though the diving didn't have a whole lot of bearing on the final dishes.

                                                                                                                                                          But it's not about any one challenge. A good mix of stupid, zany challenges mixed in with challenges where the chefs get to show their stuff makes for a fun season. A season chocked full of zany, silly challenges and almost none that allow a skilled chef to use their talents makes for a frustrating, boring season because it kills the narrative and detracts from the main reason that a lot of us watch the show.

                                                                                                                                                          My favorite season, hands down, was season 6. I thought at the time that was because of the talent level of that season... but in retrospect I'm noticing that season also had quite a few challenges where the chefs got to show their stuff.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                            I guess tonight's challenge bothered me less than some of the others earlier in the season. Maybe I've been desensitized to the zaniness. I kind of liked the biathalon part of it, but I'm a shooting enthusiast, so I suppose that has a bearing on the situation. Sara's experience with a shotgun really was no advantage in this competition. Those girls got a lesson in how to shoot off camera. It is unlikely they would even know how to line up the scope on the target without such instructions. They probably got some instructions on how to cross-country ski as well. Getting up after falling down and turning around can be a bit tricky. I guess because I have lived my entire life in locations with winter that mostly has snow on the ground, I was less bothered by this episode than some of the Texas themed competitions. If a dozen contestants had to do what was done tonight, it would certainly have been even more of a fiasco.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                              In fairness, this zany challenge was arguably more entertaining than previous zany challenges this season. I'm just sick of all the zany challenges already. Were it earlier in the season or had this season featured more in the way of straightforward cooking, I wouldn't mind it so much.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                I can totally see a gag reel being made with the skiing, falling down, shooting, gondola-cooking being included.

                                                                                                                                                                "Zany challenges" - I think that's what most everyone is tired of.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                  I couldn't agree more. I think most of us are just tired of watching the chefs jump through totally improbable hoops.

                                                                                                                                                                  And I wonder what the cheftestants thought of this season with all the zany challenges.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                    All I could think about last night, was back in season 1, when the finalists showed up in Vegas and were wondering what their challenges were going to be, and Dave joked about being sent out into the desert to kill and cook something...that was supposed to be a joke! Not a suggestion!

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                  " But it's not about any one challenge. A good mix of stupid, zany challenges mixed in with challenges where thers. e chefs get to show their stuff makes for a fun season. A season chocked full of zany, silly challenges and almost none that allow a skilled chef to use their talents makes for a frustrating, boring season because it kills the narrative and detracts from the main reason that a lot of us watch the show."

                                                                                                                                                                  Bingo! In a nutshell, that paragraph sums up what makes this season so bad compared to others.

                                                                                                                                                                3. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                  The big difference is that people actually do dive for conch. No one has ever had to chip ingredients out of block of ice to cook it. If it's a twist that has to do with cooking or food I can understand that but this is not an athletic competition.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                    People actually do use rifles to shoot their food.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                      Yabbut, not these people, and not on X country skis they've never been on before, and not at targets for ingredients, with ten bullets totals, etc... preposterous in context.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                        When most people go hunting for food they don't shoot at a target and then have someone hand them a celery root.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                          You don't hunt using biathlon rifles. They are designed to be highly accurate and sensitive. They also doesn't pack the firepower needed to bring down an animal. This whole biathlon thing was contrived to fit the Winter Olympics theme. Form over function.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                            Of course those tiny pea-shooters are not used for hunting. My point is valid. People dive for conch and people shoot game. There is no denying that.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                              sorry, your point is not valid as they were not hunting for game. tjinsf said people actually do dive for conch. they were not hunting for game here.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                no your point isn't valid. as already mention I didn't saying hunting was invalid although anyone who think do target shooting is the same as hunting in the wild is crazy!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                  I never once implied that target shooting and hunting are the same. If you think so, you misunderstood me. The shooting of targets is a valid comparison to conch diving from last season because they were not really diving for conch just like the shooters were not shooting game. Those conch were planted there in 5 feet of water 12 feet out into the water. That's not really diving for conch.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I tend to agree with you on this one. Those guys were 'diving for conch' in a way very similar to how I go 'foraging for mushrooms' near the back of the bin in the supermarket.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Nobody on this episode shot any game.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                    "People dive for conch and people shoot game. "

                                                                                                                                                                                    First, they weren't shooting game. But, people do it doesn't mean chefs do it. How many James Beard award winners are out shooting their own game for their restaurants? How many are out there diving for conch?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't disagree with you on your point about James Beard award winners, but I'm not sure any of those contestants were winners of that award and second, it's a stupid reality TV show, not reality.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                        " it's a stupid reality TV show,"

                                                                                                                                                                                        That's the point everyone is making. It didn't used to be stupid but has become so and everyone is complaining about it. You don't see the decline, everyone else does.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                          everyone?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                            Actually, I have pointed out many times over many threads that I believe Top Chef has jumped the shark.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, that's the point.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                              free to check out the james beard award regional winner for the last five years and you'll see many of the contestant have actually been winners. So you are saying that they are really actors pretending to be chefs or that they aren't actually working chefs who graduated from the CIA and cordon blue schools. Where exactly are you getting this information from other than thin air?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                What information?

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                        considering I got my hunting license at 14 and can skin a deer I am well aware of that. However please link any time that people cut frozen lobsters out of block of ice. seriously?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                          Of course they did not shoot game. This program is not reality, it's reality television. My comparison that people shoot game and people dive for conch is valid and you are also entitled to your opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                          14? What took you so long?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                            But your analogy doesn't work. Bev and Sarah shot for ingredients, they didn't hunt animals. It was like grade school field day, had nothing to do with foraging or hunting to find food to cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                              you just don't get it. I'm guessing you watch a lot of reality TV.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                The only other reality TV competition show that I watch is Top Shot on History Channel. I guess I have/do watch the Next Food Network Star and some other episodes like the next Iron chef, but I don't watch every episode like I do with Top Chef and Top Shot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                What don't I get?

                                                                                                                                                                                                The shooting of targets was as much hunting as was the 'diving for conch' last season. The conch were planted. They went swimming 12 feet from shore, dove down 5 feet for the conch planted there before they got there. Again, what am I missing?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  As I said before I didn't care for the conch diving either - but I don' t think anyone was risking an injury from doing it. So since you like Top Shot and Top Chef it's a big win for you for you to have Top Chef have a challenge involving target shooting. It's kind of like this entire episode was designed with you in mind specifically. Except I'm going to say for the third time, and you have yet to answer this, nobody shot any game on this show. They shot a TARGET and then some assistant handed them a beet or a celery root.

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I thought the diving for their own conch was dumb as well - especially since it was obvious the conch shells were strategically staged and placed where they were found.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                          The diving for conch was stupid,and I disliked it for the same reason I didn't like this challenge - that not everyone can swim, and swimming ability is unrelated to cooking ability. But cooking on a beach over an open fire IS something a cook, even a Top Chef, might have to do in real life. The cooking in the gondola was garden-variety dumb, but the skiing and the target shooting were even worse than the diving. No relation to cooking at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                                                                                                                            Where was it written in stone that this was a cooking show? I don't believe it is. It's a reality show where cooks are made to do stupid stunts that result in some sort of food to be judged.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Collichio said that it was a cooking show, way back in Season 2 when he got Sam thrown out of the finale because he "didn't cook anything and this is a cooking competition."

                                                                                                                                                                                              I hated this episode. Nobody needs to know how to ski or shoot or hack things out of ice in order to be a cook. But this episode reminded me of one reason I would rather not have Bev win the whole thing - she often takes the easy way out. She was the only one who didn't cook anything on the gondola.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: 512window

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah, I disagreed with Tom with that criticism. If that were a valid way of looking at it then Beverly should have been disqualified for here gondola dish because she only cooked a few capers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: 512window

                                                                                                                                                                                                  <Collichio said that it was a cooking show, way back in Season 2 when he got Sam thrown out of the finale because he "didn't cook anything and this is a cooking competition.">

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wonder what Tom thinks of this season's antics. Wonder whether his failure to blog since mid January has anything to do with feeling that this season's challenges have become inane -- maybe even inSane rather than appropriate?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Just thinking out loud here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was wondering the same re: tom's blog... perhaps a form of silent protest?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Heh. You're not the only one thinking that about Colicchio's lack of blogging. I found it quite noticeable. I've made comments a few times about his disappearance from the bloggers' roster (but no one bit). I wonder if he was embarrassed about having to defend or comment on the restaurant wars imbroglio (especially in the women's kitchen - or Lindsay A.'s disappearing act from the FOH) which really accounted for his first blogging absence...and his recusements just snowballing from there. :-) One could just imagine the comments that would have been and would be hurled his way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just thinking out loud here too. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sadly that's what it has morphed into. The beginning was that stupid conch diving and this episode was far worst. I'm a ski instructor and have pulled too many students like Bee and Heather off the ground. It's not an easy sport (I teach downhill) and unfit people can easily get injured, especially on the hills they were on. They were lucky to fall on them. If they had gone careening down the hill, out of control, it would not be pretty. The Bee should be Beverly--i hate autocorrect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                      And I'm guessing the Heather should be Sarah?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, I keep making that mistake. Must be something Freudian. I can't blame autocorrect for that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                        None of my posts here are to actually defend last night's show, just that this is not new. I was more worried about the ice pick going through someone's hand than I was worried about the ACLs of Beverly and Sarah.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cross country skiing is completely new and unimportant. Stopping to shoot accurately w/ a high heart rate doesn't show what a good chef a person is. Ice picking food is not something a chef does. I've complained in the past about the conch diving. The show has gone downhill. The Volt bros never had to do anything that ludicrous. The show is dumbing down to appeal to the food network crowd/Housewives/PeeWee Herman crowd.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        funny I wonder why they have the word CHEF is the title then if it isn't a cooking show?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                          My point is that it is reality TV. It really is not all about cooking, as evidenced by this season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Would you prefer to watch the stupid stunts or the cooking? If you prefer watching the stunts, why do you watch this particular reality show and post about it on a food-related website?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I would prefer to watch a Top Chef program that was all about the cooking where the contestants were given the various constraints and things to cook but were then doing all the cooking in the Top Chef kitchen. I think most of the Chowhounds posting here would agree with me. But I also know a little about television and the producers need to make it wacky enough to get a larger audience. If they made a show that we would really like, it would not get enough viewers to pay the bills let alone make a profit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              off the top of my head i can think of 6 non-CH friends who have been avid fans of the show and said they won't be watching any longer thanks to this ridiculous season. pushing the envelope to appeal to a wider audience is fine, but they've pushed the show off a cliff...essentially alienating their core fan base.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I hope you're right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                That show already exists, Its called Chopped. I really don't understand how removing the fun parts of TC would make it a better show. I would be willing to bet that they did some sort of research on which challenges fans of the show like best and many said the fun, crazy challenges. There is normally a good balance of both.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ThoughtForFood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I guess I did not flesh out my thoughts enough because in no way did I mean a similar show to Chopped. I refuse to watch Chopped, because of the annoying host and judges and the ridiculous food that shows up in the baskets. When I said contraints, I was not only referring to the food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ThoughtForFood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Gosh, I don't think watching talented chefs humiliate themselves by trying to icepick frozen food out of blocks of ice or cook fall down while cross-country skiing to find food or ride PeeWee Heman bikes to the Alamo "fun." I would love to hear how many of you do consider that "fun." Maybe I just have no sense of humor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'd love to see one of them just say "screw this, I'm not doing this ridiculous shit", right in the middle of competition and just walk off. Of course, that will never happen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Leepa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Off topic but-- As a long-time "Survivor" watcher (testament to the strength of habits), I've wished really hard that some tribe or another would pants Jeff Probst. Presumably, there's a "No Pants-ing" clause in the contracts contestants sign.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: monfrancisco

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LOL! Now THAT would make for a great gag reel!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Glad you think so, too! Can't you just see Rupert going for it? And thanks for the recaps. Tons of work at your end, tons of pleasure at mine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Leepa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It seems like Paul's helping the others with the ice pick was along that line--he was saying I'm not playing your stupid game to win; I'm cooking to win. It made me respect him even more; and I wonder if the judges felt the same way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't think those were in any way humiliating. The chefs should take Bev's apparent attitude during the culinary games and just have fun with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Okay, understood. Fair enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Edited to add that I don't know why this comment posted way down here - I intended it as a reply to John E.'s answer about what he would prefer as to a balance between cooking and stunts on Top Chef, above.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The conch diving was awesome. I'd like to see a future season that stresses farm-to-table and has the chefs living in a farmhouse, picking produce straight from the land, and slaughtering chickens themselves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I remember writing a similar post saying where I thought they should have to gut, skin, and butcher a suckling pig, chicken, pheasant, duck, goose, etc. Now that they have introduced guns to the show, I want them to shoot pheasants at a game farm and proceed from there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is Top Chef not Top Pa Ingalls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LOL! There is *no way* that Michael Landon would have shown any shooting on "Little House on the Prairie" - except in defense of a bear attack.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As for John E's comment about shooting pheasants at a game farm. Gah. That reminds me of a former boss who used to go "deer hunting" at a private country club in Ligonier , PA - the entire 75,000 acre complex essentially is "stocked" for private hunting groups. That's not hunting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Or shooting fish in a barrel!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63Y5Xj...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Well, Charles Ingalls knew how to keep his gun at the ready, and the books have plenty of snout to tail detail. Michael Landon was no Charles Ingalls ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh, I was a HUGE fan of the books reading them over and over. Yes, Michael Landon was definitely no Pa Ingalls. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                x1000000000000. some of the first foodie books, for me - what were the cakes they made for a bday party, served with lemonade? and almanzo wilder's hotcakes? such good stuff....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I just reread Little House in the Big Woods and picked up a lot of things I hadn't when I was younger. The way he hunted bear (Laura's favorite) or deer and could leave them strung up overnight, up high, but the pig had to be butchered and preserved immediately shows how much food knowledge they had, even then. And, there was the whole nose to tail use of the animals, all very interesting. The bladder became a balloon, the tail, a kebab.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I loved that whole part of 'Little House in the Big Woods', on how they processed the pig. I loved all the food references - it fascinated me, even as a kid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I recommend to you The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Classic Stories, by Barbara Walker, which discusses all the foods mentioned in the nine books (and has recipes for recreating them).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.amazon.com/Little-House-Co...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      To chowser's point, I'd say they had much more food knowledge then, due to the needs of farming and general self-sufficiency, as well as the lack of store-bought staples in their country lives. Caroline Ingalls grew up a city girl, so imagine all she had to learn when she married Charles and went to live first in the big woods of Wisconsin and then as a homesteader!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      To answer mariacarmen's question, per The Little House Cookbook (I still have the copy my mother gave me as a gift when it came out in 1979), what Ma Ingalls made for Laura's birthday in By the Banks of Plum Creek was something called vanity cakes: unsweetened, eggy batter fried and dusted with powdered sugar. The lemonade (the first Laura ever had) was served at Nellie Oleson's birthday party in town in the same book. (I reread the whole series a few years ago.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i actually had (maybe still have??) the cookbook! and yes! vanity cakes.... i always thought they sounded so dreamy....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think you've inspired me to put the book on my summer read list. I know I didn't appreciate this aspect of it when I was a kid reading the books. Any thoughts on how much foodiness is in the rest of the series?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The foodiness runs through the entire series, described in detail from the plenty and excess of Farmer Boy (about Laura Ingalls Wilder's husband Almanzo's childhood) to the deprivations of The Long Winter and everything in between.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Excellent. Now I've given myself an "adult" reason to revisit some of my favorite childhood books. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh Almanzo... he was so dreamy in the television series.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Me too! I guess I'll have to go raid my (college) daughter's bookcase for the boxed set I gave her years ago!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                They could get Ted Nugent to guest judge. He would make a pass at Padma and Padma would kick his ass. Oh wait, Padma is too old for Ted, he prefers teenagers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I used to be somewhat of a fan of Ted Nugent. His music was ok and I kind of liked his attitude about hunting, etc. However then I learned a little about his antics at avoiding serving in the military and lost any respect I may have had for him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  HAHAHAHA shooting game at a farm isn't shooting game. that's hilarious if anyone thinks that is hunting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I never said shooting game at a game farm was hunting. It is as much hunting as this program is about reality. Shooting pheasants at a game farm however is about as close to hunting as can be done in a controlled environment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Since you started deer hunting at the late age of 14, what exactly is it that you know about pheasant hunting?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. What self-respecting chefs out there are going to want to come on this show anymore?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've never been so angry watching this show. Stupid ass challenges. I'm angry at myself for continuing to watch...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              24 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: BDMTHRFKR

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Tiffany from season 1 said it best. Top chef puts butts in the seats. Add in the prizes per round you could walk away with some nice cash and either a trip or a car without even making the final show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks to the earlier poster who linked Hugh's blog. That was hilarious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As to this episode the ridiculousness of the show has already been discussed. I'm
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Just glad that the elements/altitude didn't seem to come into play in their dishes. Maybe hy didn't stretch it as far as earlier seasons but they looked like they put out some good menus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For future seasons I'd like to see a ban on tartar and scallops. Let's stretch the imagination a bit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: arjunsr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You're welcome for Hugh's blog. Always an entertaining read. He bothered me early on in the season, but reading his blog has made me warm up to him. He'd be fun to sit down and have drinks with. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm with you....Hugh has grown on me and now I find his blog far more entertaining than the show

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: BDMTHRFKR

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  considering how little many chefs get paid and how much they spend going to CIA or other schools, those 10 grand challenges are a big incentive and the publicity can be a very good thing if you are planning on opening your own place. Look at how many people go to crap places just because they've been that douchebag's show on food network.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: BDMTHRFKR

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    <<
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What self-respecting chefs out there are going to want to come on this show anymore?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    >>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i think it's a fair point-- as it's become clear that the production of the show isn't about the cooking, but the fake interpersonal drama. arguably the biggest winners on top chef don't actually win the cash prize, but they can leverage their personalities into other career opportunities that are ultimately more lucrative (e.g. carla hall). the show will get more (TNFNS-type) folks who are interested in food media than serious restaurant chefs who are interested in skilled cooking and craft and being at the top level of their field. these folks will see the folks they may know or identify with getting uncomplementary edits that may hurt them on a business level, and the focus not being on the food. moreover, having to worry about looking stupid on skis or playing golf or riding a horse or whatever the next thing will be?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    in the past, the show has capitalized on the fact that the profession is a poorly paid one, and has gotten fantastic, exciting talent... now the focus is off of the food and cooking techniques and on sport challenges that are not aimed at activities that regular working chefs engage in. once we're looking at these vail/winter olympics-type challenges, the object of social class exclusion becomes clear, as well as the message that future contestants should be as young and physically fit (equaling telegenetic) as possible. the housewives ep, in retrospect, also helps set this up. of course the food (not that anyone considers this anymore) will become more mainstreamed and homogenous when you're basically excluding 90% of the field.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    dh and i were talking about buds who would do *awesome* at top chef-- erm, the *cooking* part of top chef... but it was like, well, she's incredibly talented, her food is subtle and finessed, but she's overweight, so she'd more likely than not get the evil witch edit, get hate emails from people who've never had her food, have to lock her twitter account... and the other guy, he's competitive, and would *kill* with his skill set, he's fast and has incredible range, but he tends toward line-cook-anti-bullshit mode= *easy* villain edit. although the person as a whole is kind and humble and "normal"... i think anybody would/should worry about public judgement and repercussions. meanwhile nobody actually gets to just show their stuff and cook-- which will take all the appeal and challenge out of the competition-- for serious, competitive chefs... so again, the show will just get folks who are interested in being on t.v.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Good post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Most of your points may well be so, and I also entertain notions that TPTB have decided that TC will indeed be the Survivor/Housewifes Cooking Edition in the future. (It already is, in a sense) Physical beauty, good hair, physiques that fit the stereotypes of hunks and blonde bombshells (who cares if they can really cook) may be the casting criteria. Look at who's still the current Fan Favorite in this wretched season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If they had had such cast members (note: not "chefs") on this last episode, they could have had tape footage of a muscular, bronzed, handsome stud stripping off his jacket and down to his tee shirt (or bare chested!!) when they were sweating from the exertion of hacking away at those ice blocks. Or svelte big-chested females in skin-tight spandex striding along the snow, their unblemished skin glistening with droplets of sweat while they shook back their tresses of hair. Etc etc etc. A young Fabio [not Viviani] et al would be quite at home on a future show. Or, if they had one of those studs in the shooting segment, they would show how he would lay down on the snow, his biceps rippling as he glinted steely-eyed down his rifle scope...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ;-) :-P

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes! That would be so wrong (trying to stop mind from going to image of muscular bronzed handsome studs)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Great, now you've revved up LW and GHG.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          How about more Charlize Theron?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ghg and I don't need no stinkin' muscular bronzed handsome studs! We gotz AB and ER! :::waka-waka-waka!::::

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              No? ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Uhh...you play Pacman, I guess?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hey! I'm a Fozzie Bear girl, not Pacman!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8uY79...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                that's right. we likes them rangy and trash-talking or french and debonaire.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Would those big-chested females striding along the snow do?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  FABIO? blech. i'd rather look at Charlize! anyway, i don't watch this show for eye candy - i've got Hawaii Five-O for that ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  " Or svelte big-chested females in skin-tight spandex striding along the snow, their unblemished skin glistening with droplets of sweat while they shook back their tresses of hair."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What day/time is this show on? I need to set the DVR.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    :-P

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    <Look at who's still the current Fan Favorite in this wretched season. >

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As I understand it, Malibu Chris has been campaigning on MySpace for Fan FAvorite ever since the show began. Brings new dimension to the meaning of "Fan Favorite," no?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      he can campaign all he wants, but no one is going to vote for him unless they personally choose to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        um...isn't that what "voting" means?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        People still use MySpace?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Maybe they log in with their CompuServe accounts to access it......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think they've all been campaigning for fan favorite. Go Paul!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think you might be taking a running joke I made a couple times in previous threads seriously.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I couldn't explain why the hell Malibu Chris was so popular on fan favorite, so I posited that the world's entire myspace community rose up and voted for him. The (intended) joke was that myspace is supporting him because he is one of their own. Have you looked through myspace recently? A lot of creepers on myspace. It's basically all porn producers pretending to be 18 y/o girls and advertising back and forth to each other.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I just read this... http://www.chow.com/food-news/105919/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ...and here's the roundup... http://eater.com/archives/2012/02/17/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            :-P

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Excellent post soupkitten.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This show just needs a little rebranding:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          CASTING CALL: Talented chefs wanted. Must be willing to endure humiliation and risk alienating future employers and clients for the opportunity to win cash and prizes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Send video resume to: RESTAURANT WHORES (formerly known as "TOP CHEF" )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Random thoughts for this episode:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        - Do the people who make this show even watch this show?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That is all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        69 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          no television show would survive by appealing solely to the demographics of television producers. or chowhound, for that matter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh but wouldn't it be nice? Imagine if we could watch a season of Top Chef devoted to the food & not silly theatrics & drama.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Last night I told my kids I'm about done watching Top Chef with all the nonsense & my oldest said yeah right you'll be right back here at the start of the the next season complaining but still watching. Damn that she is right!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The season is not even devoted theatrics or drama. It is devoted to promotions and product placements. It is all about maximizing profitability.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Food is beside the point all together at this point. Pathetic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              They survived 8 seasons by being appealing to foodies. I don't see the imperative to make this show a ridiculous clusterfuckathon now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Course I'm not a TV producer or network exec, the best of whom still try to cancel The Wire after 3 seasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                they survived eight seasons, and have been renewed for a tenth, by the way, by appealing to much more than foodies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Your point?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Why decide to mess with a proven formula and up the ridiculousness in season 9?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Here's the thing about foodies, btw - they're [we're] the ones who keep coming back to this show season after season. The reality show junkies are just going to move around to whatever is newest and most scandalous. What distinguished Top Chef from other reality shows had once been that the contestants practice their craft at a high level - that it wasn't all about drama, in-fighting, and circus stunts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Joe Rogan is an MMA announcer nowadays.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Do you really think the food doesn't matter on Top Chef?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    my point is no t.v. shows would get the kind of ratings 'top chef' does by solely appealing to so-called "foodies."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    as far as messing with a proven formula goes, well, what was the formula again? i suppose someone with more ambition and emotional investment than i can go on wikipedia or whatever and count the number of "ridiculous" challenges, "drama," "in-fighting" and "circus stunts" on past seasons as opposed to this one, and draw some kind of conclusion as to whether or not any formula was "messed with."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    if it was, well, how has that turned out for the producers? does anyone know about the ratings this season as opposed to other seasons? i'm pretty sure they'll look at those and adjust the show accordingly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    of course the food matters on 'top chef,' but a lot of other things, with a broader appeal than food, also matter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    as to foodies "coming back to the show season after season" as opposed to "reality television junkies," or t.v. viewers in general, well, that may be demonstrable, but i haven't seen any real proof of that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You keep on asking me for 'proof' while offering none of your own. As in many of my previous posts, I'm speculating. You can't be bothered to wikify this conversation. Well, neither can I, man. I'm talking about what makes the show work for me, and also my intuitive sense of what makes Top Chef successful and worthwhile and able to maintain an audience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'll change tack. Here are three questions for you:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      - Do you personally enjoy the show as much or more when fine cooking is marginalized in favor of complicated challenges focusing on non-cooking skills, strict time limits, and producing hundreds of plates?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      - Do you actually believe that Top Chef is a more appealing show to TV audiences at large when fine cooking is thus marginalized?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      - Do you disagree that this season has marginalized fine cooking to a greater degree than previous seasons?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I believe my views are pretty clear. If you're not arguing for the sake of argument, you're welcome to disagree on any of the three questions (though it certainly seems you're fighting against popular sentiment if you disagree about question #3). We'll just have to leave it at that unless someone feels like doing a whole bunch of research on the matter - it's not going to be me to do it. Heck, even that wouldn't definitively settle that matter because we'll have to see how this season's direction affects the ratings in later seasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        here are my answers:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1) the reasons i personally enjoy the show are irrelevant to the point i was trying to make that the t.v. show gets the ratings it does because it has a broader appeal and audience than "foodies."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2) yes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3) i'm not sure. my first guess is, yes, i disagree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fair enough. We must now await the research fairy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Though about question #1: I think sometimes we can be a little too quick to assume that we on this site care about food while everyone else does not. There are a lot of 'foodies' out there. Your personal reasons for enjoying the show aren't strictly speaking generalizable to a larger audience, but they're not completely irrelevant either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "my point is no t.v. shows would get the kind of ratings 'top chef' does by solely appealing to so-called "foodies."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But that's exactly what TC did in it's first seasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i disagree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You disagree that the first seasons were food and chef skill centered? Or that those putting the show over the top were foodies? Or both?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              both.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ok. I see it really differently.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As do I, mcf. While the early seasons *did* have low-level "stunt" challenges (gas station food shopping, vending machine amuse bouche, single supermarket aisle dish creation), NONE of them compare to this season's physical stunts (biking about in a 105° day looking for kitchens to cook in, gondola cooking, X-country skiing (for NO reason!) and then target shooting for ingredients).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, I think the gimmicks in earlier seasons focused more on the need to improvise with unexpected ingredients or conditions, but not to this Survivoresque degree where the focus on chef skills, knife skills, etc... is minor or absent altogether.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Exactly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        TC hasn't jumped the shark; it's gone over a cliff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i wonder if it could be argued the "stunts" have gotten more...we'll say complicated, so the chefs would be less prepared for them.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the idea being to put the chefs under stress requires a higher degree of difficulty, because the show is in its ninth season.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        just spitballing here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think the stressers were as high in the years that they were food/chef-ing related. And more importantly, they really separated the most resourceful and imaginative chefs from the, uh, well... the ones who were better at diving, skiing, target shooting, all of which have their charms but add nothing to one's abilities to produce great meals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't think the stunts are more complicated, I think if anything, they're dumbed down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            how good you were at diving, skiing, etc. , had nothing to do with producing a great meal. sure, if you shot more targets, you got more ingredients. but there was still a pantry waiting for you. would it be harder if you hit zero targets? yes. but then again, you want chef resourcefulness tested, right? do you really think the better skier won the challenge? the better shot? no, it was the one who cooked the more successful dish.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            so let the chefs put down the guns and cook from the pantry. that's resourceful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not so; you had to get to the targets with enough time to cook once you used the skill of target shooting to get ingredients. It was a factor, definitely, whether decisive or not. It determined what you could prepare.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              YES, let the chefs cook from the effing pantry, like, oh, I dunno... REAL TOP CHEFS!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                but you could have forgone the target shooting completely and cooked from the pantry. or shot really fast at one target and got one ingredient and then cooked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                they didn't judge the shooting. they judged the food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Or they could have had kitchens, pantries and conditions suitable for exploring the creation of excellent food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    coulda, shoulda, woulda. you tried to say the contestants were judged on something other than their food.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    they're not.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    they created some excellent food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I didn't "try" to say anything. I am asserting that we didn't get to see/know what quality of food they might have produced had they not had so many non food related challenges in the way of creating it. Did you watch the previous seasons? These guys created food that rose above the circumstances, but not what fans of the show came to expect from previous seasons when cooking great food was the focus. Didn't get the chance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i have watched all the seasons of 'top chef.' i disagree with your assertions. whatever the contestants do or not do, they are judged and proceed or not according to the food they make.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          her point was that the challenges this season haven't provided the chefs with much opportunity to showcase the *extent* of their culinary talent and skill. and she's right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i think that could be said of all seasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I suppose that's why Harold Dieterle, Blais, Stephanie, the Voltaggios never got a shot at showing us their talents. Along with notable others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                you're entitled to think that. i disagree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't intend to jump into the middle of your discussion, you seem to be handling it just fine, but I believe you are correct. Top Chef cannot survive with just so-called 'foodies' as the audience. They have to get as many eyes on the show as possible and if they produced the show the way even I would like to see (chefs cooking in a kitchen and the viewer seeing much more prep and cooking) then the show would not get ratings as high as they seem to get with the way it is currently produced. That being said, I do think they went overboard this season. I do however think this particular episode was not much more over the top than some stunts in earlier seasons or even some in past seasons. (but don't ask me to name them).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Typical with any successful enterprise, the tendency is to expand the audience and reach out to anyone who does not already watch it. The road to ruin is littered with shows/products/companies that have over extended. Hence the term Jump the Shark, as it applies to Happy Days. Anyone remember what made Boston Chicken so great? The chicken. What stemmed their growth? Doing everything else. How about New Coke?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It is when someone decides that if a little is good then more is better, more outrageousness, more over-the-top shenanigans etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Overall I agree with you re. The audience being made up by many more non-foodies than foodies and the necessity of catering the edit towards whatever will garner the most viewers (which incidentally corresponds to more advertising revenue).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Where we diverge is I believe, as apparently do the majority here, that this season has a much higher percentage of really stupid challenges that do little to showcase any chefs individual cooking abilities.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As I pointed out on a much earlier thread this season, in the end, this is not about finding out who is the top chef. This is about selling more Toyota's. If we happen to see some good cooking along the way, that will keep the foodies watching and... more Toyota's sold. If we can have some good cooking, some cat fights and maybe a sexual affair - that would be hitting the trifecta for the producers because... more Toyota's sold and higher prices charged to advertise on "Top Whatever".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm sure there are people in the audience who are less interested in fine cooking than I am. But I still pose this question: why bother watching Top Chef if you're not interested in the cooking? If you're not a 'foodie' at all? Isn't there a plethora of other reality shows and even reality competitions to choose from? Wouldn't all the cooking just get in the way of the competitive and interpersonal drama that shows like Survivor or Big Brother or The Bachelor can deliver undiluted?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In reality, there's a balance between cooking and silliness that Top Chef has to meet to be as successful as possible. I'm not claiming otherwise. But it seems that the show is tipping that balance far enough in the direction of silliness that it is at risk of losing the viewers who are most interested in the food. And that's dangerous, IMO. They're courting a more fickle, less-invested audience. They're also moving further from a format that has served them well to this point. I can't prove it, but my guess is that season 6 generated a ratings bump that lasted them over the course of the next few seasons, and that's because the cooking and the skill level of the chefs shone through. It generated buzz and enthusiasm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm sure TV people would love any show to sell more cars and healthy choice dinners. But the best way to do that isn't necessarily to turn a show into a big damn infomercial for said products. Infomercials don't enjoy great ratings. At the end of the day, a show has to bring more to the table than that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                To your question of "Why bother watching Top Chef if you're not interested in the cooking?", my response is that the *very name* of the show puts this show *way* above others in the same genre, especially if you're looking for a show that highlights the cooking and inventive food. Or at least it *should* put it heads and tails above other shows that are lumped into the same genre.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "Chopped", "Next Food Network Star" - both of those titles don't really give you the impression it's supposed to be all about food. "Top Chef" does.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I totally agree with you that TC6 probably garnered a surge in ratings with the caliber of chefs on that show *and* the fact that they didn't have to do hula-hoop contests or ride bikes or ski to make their dishes for the judges.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was hooked season 1, by Dieterle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You and me both. Harold had the quiet "head down I'm going to just cook" attitude that I want to see (and that we saw in TC6).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I remember seeing commercials for TC1 and reading about it here...and I really looked forward to watching TC. After several episodes, I was totally, completely hooked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "head down I'm going to just cook" Yes, that's the whole thing, really set the bar for me... and got me hooked. Which is why this season is so hard to take. Michael Voltaggio was obnoxious, but I was always excited to see what he'd attempt, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm sure most viewers are at least somewhat interested in cooking because, as you state, why would they tune in to begin with? That much being said, I tend to think of a foodie differently from a non-foodie who may still enjoy food and cooking but maybe at a, I don't know, a less refined level? Even with all the silliness those people still get some cooking but they also get a bigger dose of entertainment. Most of us here seem to want the cooking to be the emphasis with entertainment second. As you suggest, it's quite the balancing act and the producers risk losing those of us who are invested in the show - the ones who will be watching when there is no "drama" in a season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It will be interesting to see the ratings for this season. I kind of hope they've gone down a little so that this "experiment" in stupidity might lead the producers back to what made the show a success in the first place, which is the cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    the ratings have been going down for a while, after a peak in season five.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah but Bravo is making more money than ever off of it and plans yet another spin off. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That the link from another thread - a real good read

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Edit: even if I can't write it's still a good read.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (Challenges sometimes are scrapped altogether because they too closely mirror those of previous cycles. "It's becoming more and more difficult to come up with new stuff," says Kriley. "Fortunately, we have a lot of talented people who can come up with genius ideas out of nowhere.")
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the Executive Producer and i clearly have disparate opinions of what constitutes "genius."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "nobody knows anything." -- william goldman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            +1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              +2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                +3!!! Genius??! <*snort*>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And that notes that LCK will return for TC10. So those competing will at least know about LCK.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I am not a fan of LCK and wish this season was a one-time-thing. Alas, I guess it will return.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I won't give your post any sort of plus sign because I don't generally do that kind of crap, but I agree with every point you made in this post. I started watching Top Chef with TC5 so I don't think of that season as the miserable failure as some here seem to think it is, but I do look upon it fondly after the bad choices made by the producers this season. I too will wonder if the ratings for this season will have an impact on how the production ensues for future seasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i think it's likely ratings are always a factor -- not the only one -- on how they go about producing the television show.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            it's also possible, if the ratings were particularly poor (however, remember, the show was picked up for another season weeks ago), the producers will change things up.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            let's remember the ratings for this show have been declining for a number of seasons, for a number of reasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I guess I did not realize they had a large slide in the ratings. If so, that explains the wacky stunts they pulled this year. It is likely they were attmempting to get higher ratings by appealing to the Survivor and Amazing Race crowd.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But aren't the ratings down from the years they weren't so stunt oriented? Why not return to what worked better?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  someone else is going to have to do a ratings analysis. i did some looking around and can only seem to find a bit of information.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  the ratings were highest during season five, which, you might note, was the season the anti-christ, hosea, won. if you read the posts here, was a bad bad season full of horrible things no one here likes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (edit) it should be noted the high debut of hosea's season came after season four, featuring stephanie and richard blaise.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  also, after hosea's season, the next season featured a slight drop off for the debut of season six.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  make of this what you may.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  after that, FOR MANY COMPLEX REASONS, the ratings started to slide. including, i might add, during the GREATEST SEASON OF ANY T.V. SHOW EVER, season SIX, featuring the god like, never do wrong voltaggios, etc, and that BEST EVER SEASON of anything.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  in fact, after that season -- which common sense would tell you bring in and keep so many more viewers, because that's EVERYTHING TOP CHEF SHOULD EVER BE -- the ratings had their biggest slide to date, losing some thirty percent of their audience.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  after that, the ratings have continued to drop a little, but at a much, much slower rate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  so, to sum up:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1) this analysis is my own, and i am nothing close to a t.v. ratings expert. i'm just a guy on the internet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2) this is based on the ratings info about the season debut episodes only. however, i have looked at the ratings over a couple of seasons (7 and 8) and they tend to hold consistent with the debut, with a slight spike for the finale.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2) "returning to what worked better" is a misnomer, because a) the earlier, "better" seasons didn't "work" better and b) there are many other reasons for ratings decline on t.v. show, for example, competition from other shows, competition from other cooking-oriented shows, competition from the internet and a myriad other competitions.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3) this notion that "getting back to cooking" will increase the ratings is just...a guess.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  a guess y'all are welcome to make, but a guess just the same. and one, that seems from this overly facile analysis, doesn't seem all that likely. but i could be wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "the ratings were highest during season five, which, you might note, was the season AFTER the anti-christ, hosea, won season four, which, if you read the posts here, was a bad bad season full of horrible things no one here likes."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ---------
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Not quite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Season 4 (Chicago) was won by Stephanie Izard. This has always been considered a good season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Season 5 (New York) was won by Hosea Rosenberg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Many people commented on how the Rosenberg–Cohen romance was a turn-off as well as that Rosenberg won over more deserving cheftestants. THAT was the beginning of the slide.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i made some mistakes and corrected them in my post. mea culpa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It appears they have had ratings decline and the stunts are an attempt to get new viewers. At least that's my theory. As I recall, as part of the finale in TC 6 they had to cook in the galley of a moving train, but that is actually a normal place to cook as opposed to the gondola stunt. What would be interesting to see would be ratings episode by episode. I wonder how Episode 11 'Fit for a Queen' stacks up against some of the more zany ECs this season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://winetrain.com/dinner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      an example of a train with a kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There used to be a dinner train in the Twin Cities until the guy wished to retire and ended up selling the tracks to the DNR for trails. When I was quite young my parents took us on a train trip (pre-Amtrack) because there were sure passenger trains were not going to be around for long. I remember eating in the dining car. That was the real thing, unlike the dinner train I mentioned or the one to which you provided the link. I'm not sure how much of the cooking is actually being on the train for the Napa Valley Wine Train.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I loved going cross country (from Colorado to California and back) on trains in the summer back in the 60's. The scenery was amazing, but the food was only so-so. Trains through Mexico had horrid food, but there was good food sold by vendors on the station platforms where we stopped. For my college graduation we took the train from L.A. (after Disneyland) to Seattle, then along the Canadian border to Minnesota. I'd gladly go anywhere in the world on a train if I got a compartment!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's almost like the producers are looking at the ratings slide backwards. Most of us believe it's because of the wackiness of the challenges but it seems like the producers see the ratings, have a meeting, and conclude that the problem is "not enough wackiness!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'll whack THEM if they don't get back to the damn cooking!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'll send you the mallet/anvil/weapon of choice. I'll be right here behind you...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I can't find the number for this season, but the Wikipedia article for Top Chef seems to indicate that the ratings for each season/'s premiere peaked in Season 5 and has been trending downward. It also doesn't say how the ratings have progressed through the season, but I wouldn't be shocked if there was some perceived need to change things up a bit. If the ratings data this season continues a downward trend, then I wouldn't be surprised if the producers make some changes in who the judges are.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Just as season 6 may have buoyed ratings over the course of the next few seasons, season 5 may have hurt ratings over the course of the next few seasons. ;) I don't think this will be something we can sort out just by looking at the ratings trend, because causality has not been established, and neither do we know for certain what would have happened if season 6 was all scandalous like season 5 was. I'm just making a case for what makes sense to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I wouldn't be too surprised if some of the judges makes changes to who the judges are. Tom's stated reasons for why he originally agreed to do the show are fading.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What were they thinking canceling The Wire? I'm sure it would still have devotees if it was still on the tube. It might have been my favorite show of all time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'd like to know what the TC producers are thinking, too, but only in terms of degrees of stupidity. I miss the cooking challenges that were about cooking, not stupid challenges with no relation whatsoever to food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              To be fair, David Simon prevailed and the Wire had two more glorious seasons. But from what I've read, it was a major fight to get seasons 4 and 5 produced. And this is probably the greatest TV show of all time, on the one network that claims to support great television for its own sake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm pretty sure DVD sales over the next decade or so will make up for The Wire's poor ratings while it was on air. Just like Firefly and Freaks & Geeks, etc. TV execs have a long history of undervaluing quality as a way to make money in the long run, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So yeah, I want Top Chef to keep doing what I think made it a quality show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And David Simon did take several of the Wire actors and transplant them to NOLA for Treme, another great show that I really miss now since I no longer get HBO. Treme also has some great cooking and cameos from the likes of AB (who also consults). Great jazz, too, with lots of famous musicians regularly featured and Elvis Costello occasionally making an appearance (at least when I was still able to watch).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4. This is perhaps the worst episode of top chef I have ever seen, in the worst season of top chef I have ever seen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Someone needs to get fired. There are many ways to incorporate some unusual elements without turning it into this clusterf...mess. I feel bad, because there are obviously some talented people here. But, they get screwed by the challenges (Nyesha is obviously as good as any of the surviving bozos, but she gets screwed in a partner challenge, then screwed again when she has to trade ingredients). Sarah has some skills and pedigree. Other than these two exceptions, I don't see anybody in the same league as michael voltaggio or bryan voltagio or kevin or the goat girl or michael blaze or angelo. And I don't see any of those people excelling in this kind of circus freak act this season has become.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe this show has always sucked, and I'm just now realizing it. Or maybe it sucks more now. I dunno. It better improve fast if it's gonna have any credibility at all. I remember when Top Chef was a show you didn't have to be embarrassed to say you watch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. This was freaking crazy. I know it's reality TV but it's suppose to be a reality TV COOKING show. Since when will chefs ever have to get ingredients out of a block of ice and I wouldn't even get started on the insane third challenge. Exactly what does knowing how to shoot a bullseye have to do with cooking?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm guessing they also got some money from Whistler, the Olympic committee or BC to film there and do a Olympic tie in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Lindsay as always comes off as both forgettable and as a witch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I doubt Bev knocked Sarah down on purpose but I was happy she did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm thinking the final two are going to be Sarah and Paul. I don't care if it's an favourable edit but I like Paul. I've eaten his food and it's good and I liked that he helped the other contestants, has never jumped on the bev bashing bus and knows it's about cooking well, not attacking others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Agree on Bev not knocking Sarah down - their skis crossed, and Sarah took a header. It was one of those "Watch What Happens" because they weren't adept enough to avoid each other.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It was an accident. Two people who've never skied before on the same path something will happen. It was funny that they showed Bev with all her foibles and reputation being the one who tripped up Sara.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                One could see Sarah as the one who ran over a flattened, helpless Bev.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. having Bev and Sarah take pratfalls on those skis is textbook low comedy. could have been truly hilarious with torn knee ligaments, broken wrist, hip, or collarbone. are the producers concerned with the competing 'reality' show, "Top Shot" ? there's no need to be, it's on a different night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Paul has already won, when he took care of the essential chore of ice breaking for his competitors ; safe to say none of the other three would do the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Really! So very very stupid...taking people who have never skied and forcing them to? For a COOKING show?? I'm sure they sign a waiver, but still.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This is not WIpeout, or Survivor, or Amazing Race....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's Top Chef, not Top Biathlete.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Apparently the Elves think it's Fear Factor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Linda: remember what i said AB said about the editing, which we acknowledge constantly, but still fall prey to? EDITING IS EVERYTHING! Sarah's not so bad, Beverly's not so bad, Linday's not so bad, they don't hate each other as much as we think, no one's really evil, they're just people, like the rest of us, thrust into this ridiculous construct, bonding, competing, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              this was by far, to me, the stupidest set of challenges ever - when, EVER, would you need to cook haute cuisine, outside, with your ingredients frozen in glaciers.. BUT... it proved once again, to me, how really talented these chefs are... because they all came up with really impressive dishes. so in that respect.... maybe not so crazy. i don't like it, but maybe they're just trying to say - throw anything at all to chefs at this level and they can make you a stellar meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i'm beyond bummed Sarah's still in, but i shouldn't be... as i should know that Sarah is not as bad as I've been lead to believe. and yet.... magical fucking elves hold sway. FUCKERS. THIS is why i hate t.v. so. very. much. and yet, i watch it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              YAY PAUL. the most telling thing about his character, besides his helping everyone else out, is him saying that the stupid gondola challenge and his failure at it wasn't the gondola's fault, wasn't the weather's fault, it was his fault for screwing up his dish. that man is a something else. then again, maybe that's just what the elves want me to think. FUCKERS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't think the "elves" manipulated things *that* much did they? Yes I thought 'please stop showing the Sarah smirk for the 90th time' each time Beverly says something, and wondered if that was indeed when she smirked. But she did say some shitty things to her and they weren't all edited. Was Beverly lying all the time when she spoke in the confessional booth about the way they treated her? Then again, the way they all hugged at the end when they supposedly couldn't stand each other? I wondered if they felt it was mandatory or maybe they actually weren't so bad to each other. I don't even know anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                With that said, I hated last nite. It's become a time for me to preview records for my little radio show and if I miss something halfway interesting, oh well. I didn't see Paul chip ice for the gals, that was nice. Who gave a flying F about the Olympic athletes and their thoughts on the food? I like Hugh's comment "I was usurped by a multi-medalled Olympian. Whatevs."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  <EDITING IS EVERYTHING! Sarah's not so bad, Beverly's not so bad, Linday's not so bad, they don't hate each other as much as we think, no one's really evil, they're just people, like the rest of us, thrust into this ridiculous construct, bonding, competing, etc.>>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, I wanna bash the Editing Monkeys with an ice pick right now. Fartknockers. JUST SHOW THE DAMN STRAIGHT-UP COOKING!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And I see you've still got a bit of AB's language going on. I like it. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Linda I just have to tell you how much I loved this comment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Which one? The "bashing the Editing Monkeys with an ice pick" comment? Or "Fartknockers"? Or the "just show the straight-up cooking"?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Or perhaps all of the above? :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Let's just say all of the above, but I will say I almost spewed my drink all over my computer when I read "fartknockers"!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've never heard that word before but it will now become one of my favorites! Yes, sometimes I have the mentality of a 12 year old boy instead of an almost 40 year old woman.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It was coined by Butthead from "Beavis and Butthead". I never/rarely watched, but my older brother and younger sister would dissolve into helpless piles of giggles watching the show. It became a favorite phrase for me to use when I was ticked off at something/someone. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And I'm a 53yo woman who uses it. So you most *certainly* can. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Our family tends to go with the term "honyacker' which thankfully has nothing to do with any television show, animated or otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, yes, yes & yes!!! Well said!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Don't sugar coat it mariacarmen. Tell us what you really think. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i know. sorry to be so vague....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, come out of your shell.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          there is clearly editing manipulation but it's also clear that Lindsey doesn't like Bev because she has actually said that. Yeah she calls it "personality clashes" or conflicts but when only person is saying that it's pretty clear they just don't like Bev. And you know what? they have right to not like here but to act mean towards her isn't necessary?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't believe it's all editing. I'm sure the shots they choose to show effect how we view the contestants to a degree, but Sarah has had a clear vendetta against Bev second only to Heather. She's comes across and spiteful and spoiled. I was truly hoping for her to get sent home packing, but at least I can take solace in the fact that Paul or Lindsay will likely make short work of her in the next episode.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. In a nutshell - this episode was all around painful to watch and Paul better wins!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. They've lost me for good with that ridiculous episode on top of the rest of this awful season. . Any idea how I let Bravo know this?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Jdbc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm betting that Bravo has assistants and interns monitor the comments to gauge the temperature of the audience.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I hope that Bravo's TC gets a huge backlash for this season. It's insulting to waste our time watching this dreck (not the talent, but the producers).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bravo, please go back to booze-fueled head shaving, egomaniacal rapping and pontificating sommeliers, you know... the good old days. PLEASE!!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "I'm not your bitch, bitch!"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Good times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jdbc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They may be monitoring our comments, but they are also noting how many of us continue to watch and post. And that's all they really care about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think that collective apathy that many of us are developing will eventually translate into a decline in ratings numbers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was simply offering a way to communicate displeasure with this season's offerings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's like a crack habit. Even with all the bad trips, you keep going back in the hopes of repeating that first ecstasy filled watching experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Of course we all know how crack habits end up doing to the addicts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        chicgail nailed it. they don't care if it's positive or negative so long as people are watching it or talking about it. they add the drama from the negative and positive attention, to draw the viewer in with a personal connection.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Jdbc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I saw someone who works for our Toyota dealer last week. We were talking about my buying another car (I have a Toyota) and I said something like, "Next year maybe. But if Top Chef doesn't get its shit together, I'm going with a Honda."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I say we go for a strong social media campaign directed at their advertisers. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Think Ford first...Honda's lost its mojo (new Accord...snoozemobile. new Civic...has to be redesigned one year out of the gate because it's so uncompetitive...I could go on but this isn't the board for that!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Toyota product placement is increasingly annoying, along with all the other blatant placements. Whole Foods anyone? GE appliances?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And worst of all, HEALTHY CHOICE? Gaa. Dreck. Frozen dinners are to a chef as Kmart is to a fashionista.